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Elderly Church Caretaker Strangled to Death in Durban Robbery

Published March 13, 2024
2 months ago

The community in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, is reeling from a harrowing incident that occurred last Sunday when a church caretaker, aged 70, was brutally murdered during a robbery. The local authorities are actively investigating the case, which has highlighted a concerning trend of church-targeted crimes in the region.

According to spokesperson Gareth Naidoo from KZN VIP Protection Services, they were summoned to the crime scene by disturbed residents and congregation members after the body of the caretaker was found. The suspects, who are yet to be identified, apparently tied up the elderly man and are believed to have subsequently strangled him to death. Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, a police spokesperson, confirmed that the Phoenix police are looking into the murder and burglary charges after discovering the victim gagged.

The crime scene also exposed a theft, with multiple valuable items confirmed stolen from the premises. These lamentable incidents have cast a grim shadow over the community's sense of security, especially regarding places of worship, as it follows two previous church robberies reported in KwaZulu-Natal in the past few months.

In a chilling episode last July at the Emmanuel Community Church situated in Spring Place on the KZN North Coast, CCTV footage captured a gunman holding up the pastor at point-blank range while he stood at the pulpit. The aggressive intruder forcefully took valuables from the pastor before carelessly unplugging a television set and departing with it. During this confrontation, approximately 25 churchgoers witnessed the frightening ordeal.

Another crime in November saw a pastor and members of his church in Merebank forced to lie on the ground during their service, then robbed by a group of four armed suspects. These events, taken collectively, underscore a worrying pattern of increasing violence and boldness among criminals targeting religious establishments in the region.

These devastating occurrences have sparked a broader conversation about the security of religious sites and the protection of those who serve their respective congregations. The community, along with local law enforcement, are now called to action to bolster security measures and to work proactively to prevent such tragedies from recurring.

The loss of the church caretaker extends beyond the theft of material items; it marks a grievous blow to the heart of the community, which looks to places of worship as sanctuaries of peace and safety. As the investigation continues, the church and its members mourn the loss of a dedicated servant, while grappling with the traumatic aftermath of yet another act of senseless violence.

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