Exiles boycott 'SA food'

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

Though Somali, Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees housed at one of two camps in Akasia, Pretoria North, have said they were on a hunger strike many were seen eating yesterday afternoon.

When asked why they were eating when other refugees were on a hunger strike, they said they were only boycotting food supplies from the South African government because it had failed to protect them and their property since their arrival in the country more than seven years ago.

Somali national Jaamae Qorgab, 26, said more than 750 Somalis have been killed in South Africa.

"These attacks started long ago, not now. Why did they fail to act then? Because they do not care," said Qorgab.

He said they wanted compensation for the lives and property lost.

Mohammed Abas, 32, of Eritrea said they would only accept help from charity organisations and wanted the United Nations to repatriate them.

Tshwane Metro police spokesman William Baloyi said the refugees didn't want police to search their cars.

"Today they told us there would be war. They threatened to attack the adjacent camp and kill other refugees and we are not taking these threats lightly," said Baloyi.