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Johannesburg - The driver of a former Nigerian consul-general fatally shot an armed robber, after he and his boss were followed from OR Tambo International Airport.
By the time the gunfight was over on Saturday morning, the driver had been wounded in the abdomen, a robber lay dead and another was arrested.
Two other robbers were able to escape.
Diplomat Adams Abbas had arrived in South Africa to visit family in Magaliessig, north of Joburg.
Gauteng police spokeswoman Colonel Katlego Mogale said the diplomat had been followed from the airport by four men in a blue BMW, who attacked them at the gate of Abbas’s son’s complex in Magaliessig.
Abbas is no longer consul-general but still enjoys diplomatic privileges and had been picked up from OR Tambo in a vehicle with diplomatic corps registration plates.
As they pulled up at the gates of the complex around 7am, two men jumped out of the BMW and held the pair up at gunpoint, ordering them out of the car.
Security guards behind the closed gate ran for cover at the sound of gunfire.
Police quickly arrived at the scene and arrested a suspect. One accomplice lay dead in the road.
Two men made off with Abbas’s luggage, laptop and the driver’s cellphone.
Mogale said the dead robber was known as “Charlie”. The arrested man faces charges of attempted murder and armed robbery.
Police recovered a Norinco firearm at the scene.
Prince Debo Adesina Al-amin, a Nigerian citizen, said the driver, a friend, had been shot in the abdomen.
Al-amin, who is also a security consultant, said he believed the fact that Abbas had been driven in a diplomatic car could have made him a target.
He said that this year alone, there had been four attacks on Nigerian diplomats who were followed from the airport.
Mogale said the police were investigating the possibility of a link between the people involved in this incident and similar crimes.
In May, robbers opened fire on Nigeria’s deputy high commissioner in South Africa, Kayode Oguntuase, his wife Hailey and driver Dan Mohlala. They had allegedly been followed from the airport.
Two months later, South Africa’s former deputy minister of finance, Jabu Moleketi - returning from the G20 meeting in Russia - was robbed at gunpoint of items worth about R70 000 as he waited for the gate to open at home after his son had picked him up from OR Tambo.