2008-10-15 : Horror at hero's death during house robbery

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2008-10-15 : Horror at hero's death during house robbery

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-10-24 11:58

Horror at hero's death during house robbery
Graeme Hosken
October 15 2008 at 07:00AM

"Is this what the liberation struggle was all about? Is this what so many of
us died for?"

These were questions by Zahir Motani, whose uncle, anti-apartheid activist,
Omar "Omie" Carrim, was killed during a house robbery at his Laudium home on
Monday night.

Carrim, 68, and his wife, Nurjehan, 56, were attacked shortly after dinner.

Carrim, who owned Omie's Furnishers in Pretoria West, died of a heart attack
in his son's arms moments after he was reached in his home.

The couple, who were married for 45 years were, according to police,
attacked and tied up moments after an unknown number of robbers attacked two
security guards patrolling outside their home in Mink Street.

One of the guards was kidnapped while the other was dragged to the end of
the street where he was dumped in a bush.

After disposing of the guards, the gunmen forced their way into the Carrims'
home where they attacked the couple, tying up Nurjehan before forcing her
husband to lead them to the family's valuables.

According to police, there was no sign of forced entry.

It is believed that Carrim was so badly beaten with the back of a gun that
the base and back of his skull and arms were fractured.

Nurjehan was rushed to Unitas Hospital where she is under sedation while
doctors treat her injuries which include facial fractures and bleeding on
the brain.

Fighting back tears, a distraught Motani said the family was traumatised by
what had happened.

"We cannot understand it. We cannot believe that this happened," he said,
adding that a relative was held up in Raslouw last week by 10 AK-47-wielding

He said what made the attack even more hard to bear was the fact that the
family had always been politically active in the fight against apartheid.

"It is so ironic and such a contradiction. It makes one question what the
liberation struggle was all about. It leaves you with a feeling of
helplessness," he said.

Motani said Carrim was dragged around the house and repeatedly beaten until
he handed over valuables to his attackers.

He said crime in South Africa had become untenable and was creating a
society which was dehumanised and without any morals.

"There is something fundamentally wrong with the psyche of people who commit
these crimes.

"The violence, brutality and scant regard for people's lives show this.

"If we carry on like this, our country is lost," he said, adding that Carrim
had actively funded and supported the United Democratic Front during the
struggle against apartheid.

Dr Muhammad Osman, who was one of the first people on the scene, said when
he saw Carrim, he was bleeding from the nose, ears, eyes and mouth which
indicated severe head trauma.

He said it was not clear whether Carrim, who collapsed moments after
drinking sugar water for shock, had died from his injuries or a heart

"He complained of severe chest pain, but we are not sure if he died from a
heart attack or his injuries. We still have to wait for the post-mortem," he

Former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils said Carrim's death was a
terrible tragedy and a great loss for the community and the country.

"He was a wonderful, compassionate and generous human being who was very
proud of his involvement in the fight against apartheid. He was a great
patriot who shared with many a passion for the cause of justice," he said.

Police spokesperson, Captain Tessa Jansen, said they were investigating a
case of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and assault with the intent to
commit grievous bodily harm.

Confirming that there had been no sign of forced entry into the house,
Jansen said one of the security guards had been kidnapped during the attack
and dropped off in Valhalla.

"He managed to trace his way back to the house where he raised alarm,
alerting police and neighbours," she said.

She said no arrests had been made.

Anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the suspects can
contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on October 15, 2008
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