Two foreigners killed

2015-05-05 11:34
Ethiopian refugee Tagesse Letabo holds up a photograph of his brother, Etebo Kebede, who was shot and killed in his shop on Thursday night.

Ethiopian refugee Tagesse Letabo holds up a photograph of his brother, Etebo Kebede, who was shot and killed in his shop on Thursday night. (Ian Carbutt)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Store owners murdered in suspected xenophobic attacks

ASSURED that the attacks on ­foreigners had ended, two men returned to their homes only to be brutally ­murdered.
The murders, which happened on Sunday and Thursday nights, have sparked fear among refugees living in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding ­areas.
The attacks came after a march against xenophobia was held in ­Pietermaritzburg last Thursday.
The family of Ethiopian refugee Etebo Kebede (42), who was shot and killed in his shop in Imbali late on Thursday night, said they were not surprised to learn that he had been murdered.
His brother, Tagesse Letabo, said they had lived and worked in South Africa for a number of years and opened a small tuckshop together a few years ago.
Letabo said his brother was ­well-known and hard-working. ­However, the pair had received a ­threatening note from a rival shop owner a few weeks before the shooting.
“The note said we should leave our shop and return to our own country, and if we did not, they would first burn down our house and then kill us.”
On Thursday last week, with the brothers not having closed their doors, two armed men approached the shop.
“He was on the phone with me when the men came. He told me not to come to the shop and then the call was cut. Now he is dead,” said Letabo.
It is understood that Kebede was shot through the metal security bars that were intended to protect the owners. Nothing was taken.
Letabo said he would not return to the shop as he feared for his life, but he could not leave South Africa either, as he did not have the money to get back to Ethiopia.
SAPS spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said no arrests had been made and that the incident could not be ­confirmed as a xenophobic attack as it was still under investigation.
The second attack on a foreign national happened in Greytown late on Sunday night, when Congolese refugee Lumona Ziko (37) was stabbed and killed outside his home.
Ziko escaped his war-ravaged country four years ago for a better life in South Africa and soon settled down in Greytown, where he became a popular hairdresser.
However, he was attacked and beaten in March, and moved to a refugee shelter in the area when looting and ­xenophobia erupted across the country.
Long-time friend and Congolese ­refugee spokesperson Moses Kilozo said the shelter was approached five days ago by community leaders and councillors, who said those who wanted to be reintegrated into their neighbourhoods could leave, as the looting and attacks had ceased.
Four days after being “reintegrated” into the community, Ziko was killed.
Major Zwane repeated that the ­murder could not be labelled xenophobic as investigations were ongoing.
“Asylum seekers and refugees are scared to leave the shelters and be ­reintegrated into the communities,” said Kilozo. “People are angry. They do not understand the circumstances under which refugees have arrived in South Africa.
“Some of our countries have been ravaged by war; we cannot return. ­Rwanda is receiving nearly 1 500 refugees from the Congo a day. It is not safe there. There is civil war.”
He said many of the refugees coming to South Africa had nowhere else to go and chose this country because of its “Rainbow nation” reputation.
“If we cannot stay here, where else is there?”
Somali community spokesperson Mohamed Abdiwalli agreed with Kilozo and said he was more afraid of returning to Somalia than of remaining in South ­Africa.
“We all have to work together. We need to create a community dialogue where we refugees can show South Africans where we come from and how much we have suffered, and that we come here purely to seek refuge.”
He said the refugees were often ­doctors, lawyers and other educated people who were just looking for safety for their families and were not trying to steal jobs from anyone.
They appealed to the government, and community and religious leaders to start a programme where local communities were taught about refugees’ hardships.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.