OUTRAGED Somalis have threatened to take the law into their own hands after a heavily pregnant Somali woman was found strangled in her Uitenhage home at the weekend.
The angry group of about 100 were involved in a stand-off with Uitenhage police and reinforcements from other areas on Saturday following the brutal murder of nine-months pregnant Nasri Mohammed Qamaan, 30.
Her body was found in her flat on the corner of Cross and Caledon streets in the Uitenhage central business district by a cousin shortly after 10am on Saturday.
She had been smothered and strangled. The motive for the murder is unknown.
A manhunt has been launched for the killer or killers.
SA Somali Association spokesman Hussein Suleiman said Qamaan's body was found lying on the floor with at least three layers of clothing tight around her face, and the lower half of her body naked.
However, a police spokesman said she had not been sexually assaulted.
Reinforcements were called in from surrounding police stations after the angry Somalis gathered in the street outside the block of flats and demanded the body of the woman which, according to Islamic custom should be buried on the same day, and entry to her flat.
Uitenhage police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Marianette Olivier said a neighbour saw the door to Qamaan's flat open and popped in to greet her. She found her body on the floor.
"She then called the police who immediately went to the scene. The flat was a crime scene so people could not be allowed to just walk in there. The body had to be taken for an autopsy to be conducted," she said.
"The Somalis, most of them women, became aggressive and were demanding the body and to get into the flat. We had to call in assistance from other police stations to control the situation."
Olivier said the police had managed to calm the situation with the assistance of the Somali men there, who had explained that the police were simply doing their job.
Details around the murder were still sketchy yesterday.
Police said Qamaan was married to a Somali businessman whose business was in Humansdorp.
Olivier said the husband had not been in the vicinity at the time and was not a suspect.
Some items were missing from the flat. "We understand that a Nokia cellphone was taken and a bag with clothes and some documents are missing," Olivier said.
Although she could not give a time of death, she said Qamaan was last seen on Friday night.
Olivier said there were no signs of forced entry and no visible signs of injury, but that Qamaan had definitely been strangled.
A furious Suleiman said a friend of Qamaan's had intended to stay with her on Friday night, but had other obligations.
The friend, from Port Elizabeth, instead drove to Uitenhage the next day to pick Qamaan up as they had both planned to go to Korsten.
"When she got to the flat, she found the body," Suleiman said.
"She called out to her friend, thinking she had fainted and then started to take the clothes off her face. When she got these off, she saw that her face was all swollen and bloodied.
"She [Qamaan] had been strangled and had no clothes on the lower part of her body."
He said Qamaan and her husband only saw each other every two weeks because of his business in Humansdorp.
"The information we have is that she was attacked at about midnight. This means there was no way to save the baby as the body was only discovered later the next day.
"We are very angry about this attack and all the recent attacks on Somalis. We have had enough," Suleiman said, warning the community now wanted to take the law into their own hands.
Referring to a number of recent violent attacks on Somali shops in Motherwell, Suleiman said the Somalis were fed up with the police.
"We are planning to meet the police to address this once again. All we ask is that the police do their jobs.
"They have never made arrests in connection with attacks on Somalis. They never follow up on cases involving Somalis and are failing to protect Somalis.
"We are being targeted and the police are doing nothing about it.
"We have the right to be protected like everyone else and deserve justice like everyone else," he said.
Qamaan was buried in Uitenhage at 7pm on Saturday.
A shattered Nima Mohammed, who said she was Qamaan's cousin, said later she had found the body.
"The attackers broke a window and climbed through and then they did these things to my cousin," Mohammed said.
"She had only been in Uitenhage for about three weeks.
"The doctors told her she would have her baby next month, so she was very close to having this baby.
"They [criminals] have been targeting Somalis. They have robbed us and attacked us, but now they are attacking our women in this way. It is disgusting."