Two Somalians who ran a spaza shop in Philippi are in critical condition in the Tygerberg hospital after being shot during a robbery on Monday evening.
The men, whose names have not been released but their ages given as 27 and 29-years-old, were tending their spaza shop, the 2010 Shop in Never-Never informal settlement in Philippi when the attack occurred.
Eyewitness Sphamandla Jali, 26, said sometime before 8pm he saw five young men standing next to a hair salon on the other side of the street, but he suspected something was going to happen when he saw one of the men cross the street and go into the 2010 Shop.
“He went inside, that’s when I heard two gun shots. The others came with something looking like a hammer and opened the burglar bars of the shop. Again they fired two shots before calling residents to come inside. They said everyone who wants free food must come, everything is free in the Somalian shop. They took lots of money and groceries. When they notice people were calling police they vanished in the squatter camp. Lucky they didn’t kill them.”
Other residents said the five attackers fled in a car and corroborated Jali’s account that four shots were fired and that the attackers called residents to help themselves to the contents of the shop.
However, none of the residents took the opportunity to loot the store.
Jali said police and an ambulance took almost an hour to come to the scene. During that time the men were alone in the shop with their wounds as no-one ventured inside.
Somalian Retailers Association spokesperson Abdi Agmad said this was the fifth such attack in Philippi this month, resulting in the deaths of two Somalians so far.
Provincial police spokesperson Andrè Traut said at approximately 7.30pm on Monday the Philippi East police were informed of a business robbery and shooting that occurred in Road 1, Never-Never informal settlement in Philippi.
Traut said it is alleged that five unknown armed suspects entered the spaza shop and demanded cash and airtime vouchers.
A case of business robbery and attempted murder is being investigated but no arrests have been made. – Nombulelo Damba