Somali shop owner's status yet to be verified

2015-02-06 13:34

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Johannesburg - The documents of a Somali shop owner accused of shooting dead a Soweto teenager are yet to be verified, the Protea Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Simphiwe Mthethwa said further investigation was needed into whether asylum seeker Aldoxashi Sheik Yusuf was legally in the country.

Mthethwa said a police colonel who had looked at the documents claimed that, at face value, Yusuf's papers did not seem legal.

Magistrate Herman Badenhorst postponed the matter to 12 February to allow the State time to verify the documents.

Yusuf wore the same clothes he wore to court on Wednesday and followed the proceedings through an interpreter.

He faces charges of murder, attempted murder and the illegal possession of a firearm.

In an affidavit read into the record by his lawyer Simon Senosi on Wednesday, Yusuf explained how 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori died outside his shop in Snakepark, Soweto, on 19 January.

Yusuf said he had just closed shop when a group of people tried to open its roller door. Others were on the roof.

He and his brother pushed the door closed, but as that happened, one of the people outside the shop dropped a firearm, which landed in the shop.

Yusuf said he picked it up and fired at the roller door and the roof.

The crowd remained outside and police arrived a short while later.

"I then saw there was a boy shot," Yusuf said in his statement. Another man was shot in the arm.

Yusuf told the court he intended pleading not guilty and requested bail, which the State opposed.

It submitted that Yusuf had no family in the country and that the investigating officer had recommended he be kept behind bars for his own safety.

Mahori's death caused outrage in Soweto and other Gauteng townships, with foreigners' shops looted and destroyed.

Yusuf contended that he had been assaulted in prison and had received no assistance from the police.

During his application for bail, he submitted that he was not a flight risk.

A divorced single father of one, he had been in the country for nine years and has no assets in Somalia.

On Friday, Badenhorst said he could not simply grant bail as Yusuf's documents had not been verified and he faced serious charges.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  soweto unrest

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