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South Africa - report

South African police blame business feud for anti-Somali violence

Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Some Somali shopkeepers are returning to their businesses in the South African city of Port Elizabeth after two nights of violence saw 58 shops attacked and looted.

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Police are adamant the attacks were caused by a business feud and not the xenopbia that killed more than 60 foreigners in South Africa three years ago.

The country’s Human rights Council has condemned the violence.

Police spokesperson Andre Beetge describes it as business rivalry.

Local traders in these areas complain that there are too many shops owned or run by Somalis and that they are being driven out of businesses.

The looting rampage started on Wednesday afternoon and continued until after midnight. Police were pelted with stones by some of the residents when they arrived

Beetge insists the incidents are not xenophobic attacks.

While some of the Somali shop owners who had fled the area have returned to open their businesses more than 100 others packed their belonging and left the townships under police guard.

In some incidents, foreign shop owners were assaulted but no injuries or deaths were reported to the police.

Beetge says they’re waiting for charges to be laid. No arrests have been made.

Several Somali nationals who have moved in to take over recession-hit South African businesses have lost their lives in the past.

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