Child killed in hijack

2018-05-29 17:07
Sadia Sukhraj.

Sadia Sukhraj. (Supplied)

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POLICE are investigating the details surrounding the death of a nine-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire during a botched hijacking in Shallcross, Durban, on Monday.

Sadia Sukhraj died after she was hit in an exchange of gunfire between three hijackers, an off-duty policeman and her father, Shailendra Sukhraj.

Chairperson of the Shallcross Community Policing Forum (CPF), Mahendra Lillkan, told The Witness on Monday that Sadia was sitting in the car with her father, while her mother dropped her younger sibling off with their grandmother, when the tragic incident happened.

The Grade 4 pupil at Everest Primary was shot in the stomach and was rushed to Chatsmed Garden Hospital where she later died.

One of the alleged hijackers was also killed during the shooting incident, while another was arrested at the scene. Police are still on the hunt for the third suspect.

Sukhraj and his daughter were outside the relative’s house when he was confronted by the armed assailants, who threw him out of the vehicle and drove off with his daughter.

“The community is up in arms about it and they are very angry. There hasn’t been a hijacking in our community for a very long time … it’s sad that this one was tragic,” Lillkan said.

He said the entire community was devastated by the incident.

“Our sympathies go out to the child’s family. We are very saddened. We never expected this to happen to a child.”

Lillkan said the incident had sent shockwaves throughout the quiet neighbourhood, which he said had seen a decrease in crime in recent months.

“We are out on patrol from the evening till late but it seems the hijackers have changed the times to commit their crimes. There is a pathway to an informal settlement next to the school. The area is very busy and this makes it difficult to distinguish between a hijacker and one of the residents.”

Lillkan said Sadia’s family were still reeling from shock and trying to piece together the details of the incident.

Sadia’s great aunt, Devika Sukhraj, said the family are shattered.

She described Sadia as a “happy” and “spiritual” child.

“She just celebrated her birthday on the 25th of February. She was a very bubbly child and she loved her family. She loved people, going out and enjoying herself with her family,” she said.

“Her mother is devastated. She was very attached to her,” added Devika.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the three hijackers sped off with Sadia but later collided with a truck and lost control of the vehicle while leaving the scene of the hijacking.

“There was a shootout thereafter, but it is not clear who was shooting who or how it ensued. We are still busy trying to gather some information,” said Gwala.

She said police were also investigating whether one of the suspects died because of the collision or of gunshot wounds.

According to Rescue Care spokesperson Gareth Jamieson, the child died on arrival at the hospital despite resuscitation efforts.

On Monday afternoon Shallcross community members staged a protest outside the Chatsworth police station entrance demanding that the arrested suspect should be denied bail.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hijacking

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