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Kimberley - A 35-year-old Roodepan tuck shop owner was killed while another 21-year-old man from Lerato Park is in a coma after he was shot in the head, allegedly by the same group of men at the weekend.
Five men from Galeshewe will appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of murder and attempted murder.
Both men were shot at close range, within minutes of each other on Friday evening.
According to several members of the community, the suspects are allegedly involved in gang activities.
The police have, however, downplayed the shootings, indicating that they are isolated incidents that have nothing to do with gang violence.
Bangladeshi tuck shop owner Shamiem Ahmed was killed after returning home from Beaconsfield on Friday evening.
His mother-in-law was standing outside the house in Ivory Park, Roodepan, when she told the group of between four and six men, who arrived at the tuck shop at about 9pm, that the business was closed.
“One of the men tried to force his way into the house while others told him to ‘make things hot’ by firing a shot,” she said.
Ahmed’s wife, Sharmila, who is five months’ pregnant with their third child, was waiting for him inside their home while their two sons, aged four and two, were fast asleep.
She heard her husband pull into the driveway while, at the same time, someone tried to force his way into their home, which is situated at the back of the tuck shop.
No items were stolen from the tuck shop during the attack, but it is believed that the men attempted to rob Shamiem while he was getting out of the car.
“I refused to open the door because it sounded as if he wanted to rob us. Moments later, a shot was fired and my husband collapsed on the ground. The men stole my husband’s car keys and later discarded them a short distance from the house,” Sharmila told the DFA.
Ahmed was shot in the face.
“After the attackers ran off, I ran to my husband, who was unable to speak. He was declared brain-dead by the paramedics. I was so frightened and called the police,” Sharmila said.
She pointed out that the man, who was carrying the firearm, was dressed in a black tracksuit hoody top and covered his face with a black cap.
Sharmila added that while she was unable to pinpoint a motive for her husband’s death, the suspects appeared to know exactly what they were doing.
Earlier in the evening, a 21-year-old man was shot in the head by suspects matching the descriptions of the killers of the tuck shop owner.
The man’s identity is known to the DFA, but is being withheld following a request from the police. He is currently in a coma in a local hospital.
The man apparently bought tobacco for his girlfriend’s mother from the tuck shop and was standing at the gate outside her house when the suspects asked him where they could get cigarettes and beer.
According to the man’s girlfriend, he was smoking a cigarette and one of the men grabbed his cellphone. The attacker, who was dressed in a white hoody and covered his face with a white cap, pulled out a gun and shot the man in the head after he managed to retrieve his cellphone.
She said the other suspect was young and was dressed in a striped T-shirt and red and black trousers.
“There are no lights in Lerato Park and it was very dark, so it was difficult to get a closer look at them,” the girlfriend said. “After the shooting, they ran in the direction of Roodepan. They shot him for no apparent reason.”
The girlfriend, who has a five-month-old son with the shooting victim, is worried that he may suffer permanent brain damage.
“He is still in a coma. I fear that the suspects will return, especially since they know our address. We are not accustomed to such senseless and violent acts in Lerato Park.”
The 21-year-old man’s mother said that the bullet that was fired into her son’s skull narrowly missed his brain.
“Fortunately the bullet never penetrated his skull although doctors had to remove blood clots from his brain. We waited at the hospital until 3.30am on Saturday morning until he came out of theatre.”
She indicated that the victim’s nine-year-old brother was traumatised after witnessing the shooting.
“He cries a lot and sleeps restlessly. He ran all the way home, on his own and in the dark, from the tuck shop to tell me that his brother had been shot.”
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the police immediately launched an extensive manhunt following the attacks, which occurred within 40 minutes of each other.
“Based on descriptions provided by witnesses, police spotted three suspects in the area and arrested them. A fourth suspect was arrested shortly afterwards. The fifth suspect was arrested on Saturday in Club 2000, Galeshewe. All five suspects are from Galeshewe and are between the ages of 17 and 24.”
She indicated that the firearm used in the attacks had not yet been recovered.
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