Cape Argus, 22 August 2008

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The murder of a Somali business owner in Khayelitsha, who had returned there from the Soetwater safety camp, has sparked renewed fears over the government's reintegration plan. Some Somali business owners said they had always been soft targets for robbers even before the xenophobic attacks in May, but were even more fearful to return following recent attacks. Mahad Abukar Alasow, a 26-year-old Somalian, was killed on Wednesday evening when a group of robbers attempted to enter his shop and shot him three times when he refused to open the gate to let them in. Alasow died at the scene. Nothing was taken from his shop. He had been living in Khayelitsha for two years before the attacks in May. He sought refuge at Soetwater safety site. Two weeks ago, Alasow and a friend returned to Khayelitsha and re-opened his shop. Standing outside the Bridgetown Mosque in Cornflower street, Athlone, yesterday, Asad Abdullahi and several other Somalis expressed their shock at the death. "This is not what we expected, every time we follow up these cases with the police they tell us they are still investigating. When do they ever solve the cases? We know how the people hate us in this country," said Abdullahi. Alasow's uncle, Omar Allie, said the government's plan for reintegration had failed his nephew, who he described as a "polite, quiet and understanding young boy". Abdullahi claimed Alasow was the eighth Somali to have been killed after returning to the community from the Soetwater camp. Twenty more have been injured in attacks some of which police have said were not xenophobia-related. Provincial head of Disaster Management, Hildegard Fast confirmed last night that 3 400 displaced foreigners were still being housed in various safety sites, halls and private accommodation across the city." City spokesman Robert Macdonald said: "If the court rules that the Gauteng government had done enough, they are not obliged to keep the camps running. That would set a precedent for us." Macdonald said they had asked the UN to step in to address the crisis before the September 3 deadline.