Tanzania ambassador to SA attacked during robbery

Tanzania’s ambassador to South Africa was beaten unconscious and several of his guests were assaulted and robbed at his farewell dinner in Pretoria on Friday night.

About five armed men pushed aside the barbed wire and jumped over the wall of a diplomatic residence in Garsfontein, Pretoria, at about 10pm, a government official at the function told the South African Press Association on Saturday morning.

“There were about 25 of us and we had just had supper. They ordered us to lie down, tied our hands, robbed us of cellphones, money and household goods,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

He said Tanzania’s High Commissioner Emmanuel Mwambulukutu was beaten unconscious and his wife stabbed in the head. Both were taken to hospital.

Pretoria police spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko said Mwambulukutu was in a serious but stable condition. His wife and about six other people sustained minor injuries.

The official added: “Quite a few people were assaulted, hit with bottles. They kept threatening my 15-year-old daughter with rape.”

According to the official the ambassador had told the thieves “gentlemen, God bless you”, to which they allegedly replied: “We don’t care for God. Let’s stab these dogs”.

The thieves packed the stolen goods into Mwambulukutu’s 4x4 Mercedes and fled. Before doing so they pressed another man against a wall and “beat the hell out of him” when they failed to start his Audi.

He said police took about 25 minutes to arrive after guests called 10111.

“They [the police] kept asking us questions that delayed [them] while these guys were getting away.

“This is really embarrassing for South Africa. Most of the guests are Tanzanians who said they are going to leave this country.”

Ramaloko said one man was arrested in Mamelodi West following the attack. He was shot and wounded and taken to a local hospital under heavy police guard. Police found him and the ambassador’s Mercedes using the vehicle’s satellite tracking device. His accomplices were still at large. A firearm believed to have been used during the robbery was found in the car.

No shots were fired during the robbery.

On July 21 South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani Khumalo, was robbed at his son’s home in Greenside, Johannesburg, after he returned from OR Tambo International Airport.—Sapa

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