Gift of the Givers founder hijacked

2012-06-15 09:16

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Pietermaritzburg - The founder of the world-renowned Gift of the Givers organisation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, has had a lucky escape after he and his wife Zohra were targeted by criminals outside their Pietermaritzburg home on Thursday.

The organisation has reached out to South Africans and people in need throughout the world.

Neither Sooliman nor his wife was harmed, even though a gun was held to his head.

However, his sister-in-law’s car and some of his personal belongings were stolen.

'I want to shoot you'

Speaking to The Witness on Thursday night, Sooliman said he was returning from King Shaka International Airport in a car belonging to his wife’s sister.

As they approached their home, a black Toyota was parked nearby with its lights off. As they parked the car, the vehicle approached.

He said he was not sure whether the men in the Toyota were waiting for him, especially as he was not driving his own car.

“This car was a BMW and it attracts a lot of attention. The guy wearing a balaclava put his gun to the window and I tried to talk him down. I wanted to steer him away from my wife and I told him I would get him the money.”

Sooliman got out of the car.

“The one who held a gun tried to force me to go into the boot, which I refused to do because there was little chance of survival if I did that.”

Sooliman described how he tried to lure the men away from the car and his wife.

“So I tried to buy some time. I gave the man the money, the cellphone and said what more do you want? He said ‘I want to shoot you’ and I said ‘For what?’.”

Sooliman told the gunman he had money in the house. “We walked slowly there because I was trying to delay this, hoping another car would drive past.

Not terrified

Another of the attackers - who was now driving the BMW convertible - pulled up next to Sooliman.

“I asked them to let my wife go because they now had everything.”

The men then fled.

Sooliman said the incident had not terrified him. “I have been in many dangerous situations all over the world. I have been bombed. I have been shot at, so I was not scared, I was just worried about my wife because she was a soft target.

“I still love this country, and in fact this has strengthened my resolve that we need to fight this.”

- Anyone with information about the incident should call investigating officer Pipes Haffajee at 079 5000264.

Read more on:    gift of the givers  |  imtiaz sooliman  |  pietermaritzburg  |  hijackings

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