SA man killed in Iraq named

2004-04-23 15:18

Pretoria - A South African killed in Baghdad on Thursday has been identified as Francois de Beer, the department of foreign affairs said on Friday.

De Beer, working as a security guard in the Sunni Muslim district of Al-Adhamiyah, Iraq, was shot dead by a lone gunman while on his way to buy meat for a farewell braai for a colleague.

He died on the day colleague Hendrik "Vis" Visagie was buried and 24 hours before another colleague, Gray Branfield's body was to arrive back in the country.

De Beer, the fourth South African to be killed in Iraq since January, was working for a South African security company on a four month contract to protect members of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority.

The murder comes in the wake of a wave of anti-coalition feelings.

Police spokesperson, Director Sally de Beer, said De Beer (no relation) was trained by the SA Police Service's Task Force in 1996 and spent two years as an operational member before leaving the service.

She told how friends and colleagues were saddened by the news of his death and that task force commander, Director Mike Fryer, extended his sympathies to the family.

The Pretoria News reported on Thursday that De Beer had just returned to Iraq after a week's visit to his home in Centurion, South of Pretoria, following the hijacking of his wife and child.

He was allegedly shot twice in the head and once in the back while searching for a butchery to buy meat.

It was reported that De Beer and his interpreter had become lost and were asking a shop owner for directions when the attack happened.

De Beer's body will be flown back to the country for burial.