Congolese man killed in Imbali

2009-03-15 00:00

A refugee leader in the city has called for calm following the brutal killing of a Congolese man in Imbali on Friday night, during which he was offered no help from locals.

Pastor Samson Matabaro told The Witness yesterday that tuckshop owner Augustine Ilongo (35) was beaten to death by a man who had come to buy goods from his shop.

He said other refugees from all over Africa that are living in Pietermaritzburg are now concerned that his murder may have been related to xenophobia.

Matabaro said Ilongo was at his tuckshop when the customer bought some goods.

“They said they did not have enough money, but gave Ilongo their cellphone and said they would return later with the money.”

But he later added more goods to what he wanted to take and Ilongo told him that the goods were of a higher value than the cellphone.

The suspect began hitting Ilongo with a big stick. He later died of his injuries.

“No one helped him. The neighbours did not call the police or an ambulance.”

Matabaro said locals are now afraid to stay in Imbali and Edendale.

“People are scared again. It’s not good. They say they want to move. I want to tell them not to panic until we have clarified what happened. We need to get answers from the police and their investigations into the matter.”

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed Ilongo’s murder, but said that it was related to an argument that broke out between him and the suspect. “It is definitely not linked to xenophobia,” he said.

Police have yet to make an arrest.

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