Refugees Fear Racist Attacks On The Streets

A Young refugee has claimed racist abuse was hurled at him as he was beaten up on Swansea’s High Street.Al Haji Kamara alleges he was punched and kicked to the ground in the violent attack.

The incident took place in the middle of the afternoon when the street was filled with shoppers. But no-one came to help.

“I was walking down the street on my way to play football when a group of youths blocked my way and started punching me,” said the 21-year-old.

“They were shouting: ‘What are you doing here? Go home. We don’t want you’.

“They kicked me to the ground but I managed to get up and run away and call the police.”

Mr Kamara came to Wales aged 17 after fleeing the brutal civil war in the African country of Liberia.

“All my family were killed and I don’t have anywhere else to go,” he said.

Refugee groups have condemned what happened. They claim it is one of a growing number of incidents in Swansea.

“Al Haji is here perfectly legally. He has been granted exceptional leave to stay by the Home Office,” said Tom Cheeseman, of Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group.

“He has settled into the local community very well and is a member of our committee, as well as being the organiser of the Swansea World Stars football team.”

Another refugee family say they are being forced to move home after suffering months of racist abuse and attacks.

Adel and Latefa Guemar and their three children settled happily in Penlan when they were granted the right to stay in 2004 after fleeing Algeria.

But in recent months they claim they have been targeted by young thugs who shout abuse and throw missiles at their home.

“There is another family living not 400 metres away from here who have had a lot of racist attacks. It has got so bad that the children dare not go out of the house on their own,” said Mr Guemar.

Asylum support workers are now calling for more understanding and respect for people who may have suffered terrible trauma in their home countries.

“The Home Office is only sending those asylum seekers to Swansea who have a very good case. Anyone else is going straight into detention, so you can be sure that the people who come here have a very good reason for leaving their own countries,” said Keith Ross, of the campaign group Asylum Justice.

“I must stress that most people in Swansea have been very welcoming, but we are hearing about ongoing problems in Penlan, Mayhill and Pentrechwyth,” he added.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the alleged attack on Mr Kamara.