Noureddine Fatmi, First Secretary in charge of consular affairs at Morocco’s embassy in South Africa who was found dead at his apartment on Tuesday had been fatally stabbed, according to local police.
The Moroccan diplomat had been stabbed several times in the night from Monday to Tuesday but the motive of the crime has not been established yet and no suspects had been identified or arrested, the police said.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death and an investigation was opened to know how and why the man was killed, according to the police. The medical and autopsy results are expected by the end of the week.
A South African daily claimed that the man, in his forties, was stabbed 20 times, but the police did not confirm the claim.
The man who was living by himself in a guesthouse was always on time but strangely enough he did not turn up for work on Tuesday and his phone was off.
His colleagues, feeling that something was wrong, went to his residence to check on him and found him lying in a pool of blood.
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a communiqué that it “started administrative and legal procedures, in collaboration with South African authorities, to shed full light on the murder.”
According to one of the embassy workers, a victim’s cell phone was missing but nobody could tell if he had money or valuables at home.
South Africa regularly features in domestic and international reports as having one of the highest murder rates in the world. The growing murder rate and violence in some provinces are imputed to gang violence and high alcohol and drug abuse and are exacerbated by social inequalities.
According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), more than 40 people are murdered in South Africa each day. Residential home invasions and robberies are also on the rise and are of particular concern as the robbers often resort to violence and use lethal weapons.
In its 2012-13 crime statistics, SAPS indicated that the number of home invasions remains alarmingly high, with a total of 6,598 reported in Gauteng Province (which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria) alone.
From April 2013 to March 2014, the number of murders in the Province reached 3333, the number of robberies with aggravating circumstances totaled 42646, while burglaries at residential premises numbered 68139, according to SAPS.
The crime statistics released by SAPS in September 2014 showed an upward trend for the second consecutive year in serious violent crime such as murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery.
“Murder is up by 5% with an additional 809 murders. Robbery increases are particularly concerning. Home robbery is up 7.4%, with 1 334 more cases than the previous year. Business robbery is up by 13.7% with 2 238 more attacks, and car hijacking is up by 12.3% with 1 231 more attacks than occurred the previous year,” said Gareth Newham, head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) while commenting on the September released statistics.