Please note that the following story below contains graphic images that may be upsetting to some readers.
A deadly attack at the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam, north of Durban has sent shockwaves through out South Africa. The attack comes a week before Muslims across the world prepare to observe the holy month of Ramadan.
Local security firm, Reaction Unit SA emergency services was first on the scene at the Old Main Road mosque in Verulam where two victims were discovered bleeding profusely outside with the mosque on fire.
A third victim was found inside the building bleeding from a wound to his throat. A knife was reportedly lying next to him.
Reaction Unit SA said witnesses told them three men armed with knives and guns had attacked the mosque, attacking the victims, and setting the building alight.
The suspects, who were wearing half balaclavas, fled in a white Hyundai vehicle with no registration plates, the unit said.
The Ethekweni Fire Department was on the scene. The South African Police Service says the motive for the attack is still unknown.
The police are calling on the public to come forward with any relevant information that can help them with their investigation by calling the Crime Stop number at 8600 10111.
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South African Parliament has condemned the attack, calling the incident shocking.
In a statement, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman said: “A mosque is a religious institution, and South Africa’s Constitution guarantees and protects the right to religious practices.
“This kind of attack on three innocent people is totally unjustified. We want our communities to live in harmony, practicing their religions without fear.”
Beukman said everything should be done to arrest the perpetrators, and called on anyone with information to contact law enforcement agencies.
The Hawks are now investigating the incident.
A religious leader at the mosque has told eNCA that this is not the first attack of its kind on the mosque.