Mourners console each other at the funeral of Abdool Khalik in Phoenix on Wednesday. He was hit by a stray bullet when cycling past a drive-by attack on an alleged drug dealer. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Durban - Two men were expected to appear in court on Thursday for the murder of a 71-year-old Phoenix grandfather who was killed by a stray bullet during an alleged drug turf war.

Abdool Khalik, who lives in Rain Path Place, was cycling on Daleview Road when he was caught in the crossfire between two gangs of youths. A stray bullet went through his eye.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said Khalik was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.

“Two teenagers aged 17 and 18 were arrested. Police have confiscated their firearms. They will appear in court today (Thursday),” Zwane said.

They face charges of murder and possession of unlicensed firearms and live rounds of ammunition.

Two firearms were recovered and they will be sent for ballistic testing to see which was used in the crime.

A 9mm pistol, an Astra revolver and 94 rounds of ammunition were recovered in a plastic casing.

“The vehicle belonging to one of the suspects’ parents was also seized by Phoenix detectives and was taken to the Isipingo pound for further investigation,” Zwane said.

Glen Naidoo, of private security company KZN VIP Unit, alleged that a car drove past and spotted a known drug dealer walking on the pavement.

Naidoo alleged that one of the occupants in the car fired several shots at the dealer, but he was unharmed. One of the bullets instead struck Khalik.

“We believe that this was the second attempt on the drug dealer’s life,” Naidoo said.

Khalik’s brother, Mahomed Yusuf, said the incident left them devastated, but at the same time everyone knew they would leave the world at some time.

Yusuf said congregants from the Noor-ul-Islam Mosque, which was 200 metres from where the incident occurred, notified him.

“A bullet went through his right eye and into his head. To die in that way was martyrdom. We don’t condone this type of behaviour, where people use guns in this manner. We are content and now rely on the law to take its course. Everyone has to taste death. He died on a holy day, the end of the Muslim calender month of Muharram, “said Yusuf, who is also the president of the Sunni Jamaitul Uluma in KwaZulu-Natal.

According to a friend, Reeza Khader, 32, Khalik prayed five times a day. He cycled to mosque.

“He was an inspiration to the youth, Muslims and non-Muslims at the mosque and in the area, because of his morals. He was a calm and loving person to the young and old,” Khader said.

Khalik had seven brothers and two sisters.

The father of three sons and one daughter was born and raised in Overport, before moving to Phoenix in 1979.

Khalik was laid to rest at the Woodview Cemetery in Phoenix on Wednesday morning.

The KZN Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, Major-General Bheki Langa, commended Crime Prevention members for a job well done with the rapid arrests.

“The quick response to this incident will send a clear message to the criminals out there that justice will prevail against those who are against our South African law, and we will make sure that we seize as many guns as we can from the criminals,” Langa said.

Daily News