Family says son killed during SA xenophobic rampage

A family in Mwembe Ngoma village in Msambweni is mourning the death of a son it claims was murdered in South Africa by xenophobic mobs last month, apparently for living with a South African woman. [PHOTO  BY STANDARD]
Kwale, Kenya: A family in Mwembe Ngoma village in Msambweni is mourning the death of a son it claims was murdered in South Africa by xenophobic mobs last month, apparently for living with a South African woman.

Hassan Stima, who was a casual labourer is said to have been attacked in his house on April 17 in Johannesburg City two weeks ago, but the identity of the woman has not been given.

This would be the first known death of a Kenyan in South Africa's anti-African xenophobia, where Africans from other countries are killed for owning shops and befriending South African women. Poor black South Africans also accuse foreigners of taking away jobs.

Yesterday, the director of diaspora affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry denied knowledge of Hassan, or any other Kenyans who have died in South Africa, and claimed all Kenyans nationals in the country are safe.

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But he disclosed that a Kenyan civil servant was found dead in a hotel in that country but he did not identify him or state the cause of death.

"Xenophobic attacks never targeted Kenyans. From our daily reports from Pretoria, Kenyans remain safe. The only death we are aware of is that of a Kenyan civil servant who died in a hotel room," said Mr Oloo.

The Standard has since established that Hassan might have been living in South Africa illegally. Unconfirmed reports say up to eight Kenyans from the Coast may have been killed in the violence, and the corpses are still in morgues in Johannesburg.

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CONFLICTING REPORTS

On Monday, Hassan's father Mohamed Stima said relatives living in South Africa telephoned to inform him that his son was attacked by a mob in his house and hit him on the head with a blunt object, which led to internal bleeding.

SEE ALSO :Kenyan shops looted in SA xenophobia – Envoy

"My in-law, who is in South Africa informed me that my son was then rushed to the hospital where he was admitted. He died while undergoing treatment," said Mr Stima.

A relative who asked not be named told The Standard that Hassan died after six days in the Intensive Care Unit, adding that 12 Kenyans lived in the same apartment block as Hassan.

According to the family, Hassan left the country when he was 17 years in 1996, but could not state what jobs he held. Other members claim the deceased went to South Africa in 2001 by road and returned to Kenyan in 2006, then returned the same year.

His father describes him as religious person who loved to study Islamic material.

Since the family learnt of his death, they kept constant communications with the alleged in laws in South Africa in a bid to have the body flown home for burial.

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"All we have been doing is to try and have the body brought so that we can bury our son," said Stima. His cousin, Kassim Mohammed who is coordinating the burial arrangement in Mwembe Ngoma said they expect the body to be brought any time.

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xenophobicSouth AfricafamilyXenophobic attacksPretoria