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Durban - Maseeha Baig was smiling on Thursday despite having been wounded in a shoot-out between her father and an intruder the night before.
“I was scared, but I tried to be brave,” the shy nine-year-old said of her ordeal.
The incident happened at her grandparents’ house in Sherwood at 7.40pm. Other family members were there at the time.
Maseeha’s uncle, Raees, was outside with a friend when three men overpowered them and stormed the house.
The men confronted Maseeha while she was in the main bedroom. Her grandmother, Najma, saw what was happening and screamed.
Maseeha’s father, Ridwaan Baig, came running. “One of the men had a gun to my daughter’s head,” he said.
Baig said he was armed but was terrified for Maseeha’s safety. “I yelled at him to let her go,” he said. “But he opened fire on me, so I pulled the gun from its holster and fired back.”
The assailant was wounded in the chest, and he fell as he stumbled out the front door. He died soon afterwards. The other two intruders fled in a white BMW. They took only a cellphone.
When the robber opened fire on Baig, a bullet had ricocheted and hit Maseeha in the upper leg.
“She did not feel it at the time,” said her grandfather, former Sydenham councillor Yacoob Baig. A little while later, she said she thought she had been shot.
Maseeha was taken to Shifa Private Hospital, in Sydenham. She was discharged on Thursday and is to recover in a wheelchair.
Baig and his wife, Ayesha, were unable to sleep on Wednesday night. “We had to give the kids something to calm them down,” he said. The couple have five children.
Police were investigating.