POLICE are patrolling the streets of Wilsonia in East London to prevent xenophobic attacks after two suspected thieves were killed while trying to rob a Somali-owned spaza shop.
A 16-year-old teenager and a man in his 20s were allegedly shot by the shop owner and his brother on Sunday.
Police said four people armed with guns entered the spaza shop and demanded money.
Police spokesperson Captain Mululeki Mbi said: "The owner of the shop and his two brothers were in the shop when four suspects entered on Sunday. They demanded money and opened fire."
He said the owner managed to grab a firearm from one of the robbers. "Shots were fired during the struggle and the owner was shot in the finger and his brother was shot in his toes."
He said it was alleged that two robbers were shot with their own firearm and died on the scene.
Yesterday the police were keeping a close eye on the area.
Mbi said a 9mm pistol was recovered from the scene. "We have not received any reports of intimidation but we are patrolling there. Somalis living in the area have to come forward to report any cases," he said.
Mbi said the police were arranging a meeting with community leaders in a bid to prevent any criminal activities that might arise from the shooting. He said the spaza shop was not the only Somali-owned shop to be robbed in the area this year and that the police have opened a case of armed robbery over the latest attack.
East London and neighbouring areas have made headlines in recent months because of attacks aimed at Somali-owned shops.
More than 10 Somalis have been killed in the Western Cape this year.