Daily News: ‘They pushed my brother out of the window’


‘They pushed my brother out of the window’

January 06, 2009 Edition 2


A Tanzanian refugee, who escaped death by hiding in a bathroom, is reeling after losing a second brother to alleged xenophobic violence in less than a year.

Zane Omari’s younger brother, Said, died yesterday as a result of injuries he sustained when he was allegedly forced out of a sixth-floor window at Venture Africa, a shelter for refugees in Broad Street.

Zane’s older brother, Ramadhani, died in Johannesburg in the xenophobic violence that swept the country last year.

“I feel so scared. I have no money to move, so I have to continue staying at the shelter because I have already paid for the month. My father is very worried and he phoned me from Tanzania yesterday after Said died. He is afraid that he will lose another son,” he said.

“I live in fear of being the next victim. I do not know when and how I will be killed,” Omari said. He recalled how he hid in a toilet to save his life on Sunday night while a local mob allegedly assaulted foreigners and ransacked their rooms.

“I first saw them downstairs. There must have been about 40 or 50 people, both men and women. We even know most of them,” Omari said.

“They came upstairs and I made my girlfriend hide under the bed, while I hid in the toilet. They did not find me. But they went upstairs to Said’s floor and pushed him out of the window,” Omari said.

Two other residents at the shelter, Osman Masud and Bonta Mohadi, sustained broken limbs after they were allegedly forced to jump from the third floor of the building.

Another foreign national, Benny Hassan, was returning to his flat on Maude Mfusi (St George’s) Street on Saturday with his three-year-old son and a local friend, when they were allegedly attacked by a group of 30 men and women.

“They not only attack us, they are also stealing our money and documents. But yet they are saying they don’t want crime in this place,” he said.