Two Ethiopians Killed for two pieces of fruit – By Francis Hweshe (Cape Argus)
Toll rises to 10 as 2 more immigrants are murdered
TWO foreign shopkeepers have been killed in their store – for an apple and a banana.
The robbers took the fruit and fled when they could not open the cash register.
The killings bring the number of immigrants murdered in the Western Cape over the past two weeks to 10.
Milnerton police confirmed yesterday that the two Ethiopians had been shot dead on Tuesday night while working in their shop on Mnandi Street in Du Noon.
Station spokeswoman Daphne Dell said a banana and an apple had been stolen.
Dell ruled out the possibility that the murders had been xenophobic. She said one of the suspects had been armed and had fired several shots at Yonatan Gebreneskel, 22, hitting him in the head and chest.
Awake Ababa, believed to be in his early 20s, had been shot in the back. Both had died at the scene.
Both suspects are still at large.
A reliable source told the Cape Argus the murders were about “business”.
“They were hitmen sent to take them out. It’s business,” he said, alleging that Somalis in the area had been ordered by taxi operators to pay a R14 000 “protection fee”.
Last year, after the xenophobic attacks in the Western Cape, Du Noon taxi operators admitted to de-manding a protection fee from foreign nationals who ran shops.
The killings follows at least three others involving foreign nationals:
# On Saturday, seven Zimbabweans were burnt alive when a De Doorns shack was set alight. A 26-year-old man has appeared in the De Doorns Magistrate’s Court on murder charges. The names of the dead, aged between 23 and 40, have not yet been released.
# Last Monday Mohamed Mango, 24, of Somalia was shot dead after he tried to stop a group of robbers frisking his friends on a footbridge leading to the Home Affairs Centre in Airport Industria.
He was shot in the chest and died on the scene. Police are investigating a case of murder and robbery.
# Last Friday, Congolese refugee Carol Muganguzi, 19, had his lips cut and tongue stabbed by criminals, 10 metres from the Nyanga Refugee Reception Centre.
When the Cape Argus visited Du Noon yesterday, an eye-witness said: “I heard two shots. When I came over to the shop, I saw a pool of blood.
“One of the bodies was lying close to the fridge with a shot in the head. The other was close to the door with a shot in his back.
“It’s all about jealousy. The shop was always neat and people loved to come and buy from them,” she said.
She said the victims had re-opened for business only three days earlier, after having closed because of the recent taxi violence, which had resulted in some Somali shops in the area being looted.
“It was not xenophobic nor a robbery. They were not hungry,” said Bazil Congo, the victims’ landlord.
He said a third man had survived the attack by running away.
“It is just senseless and merciless killing,” Congo said.
Another shop owner said: “They were deeply religious, very kind and gentle. They loved to be part of this community, helping where they could.”
A tearful Ethiopian shop owner in the area said: “I don’t know why they killed my brothers and no one is taking responsibility.”
Published on the web by Cape Argus on February 26, 2009.