Ethiopian shopkeeper Miratu Daimo was inside sleeping and all of a sudden there was smoke inside. He got up and he was trying to get outside‚ but the door was locked from the outside

By Jeff Wicks (TimesLIVE) |

Miratu Daimo was locked inside the Newlands West‚ Durban‚ spaza shop where he worked – and then the men who seemingly shut him inside torched the container late on Thursday night.

The move to barricade the 22-year-old Ethiopian shopkeeper inside before setting the container ablaze was calculated and intended to kill‚ his boss‚ Zade Chongso‚ said.

“He was inside sleeping and all of a sudden there was smoke inside. He got up and he was trying to get outside‚ but the door was locked from the outside‚” he told TimesLIVE from the hospital where Miratu Daimo is being treated.

“He was lucky that the neighbors there heard him screaming when he couldn’t get outside‚ and they came and broke the lock and tried to put the fire out‚” he added.

Miratu Daimo remains in a serious but stable condition in Durban’s Addington Hospital. He sustained burns to his arms and legs after being overwhelmed by smoke.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbele said detectives viewed the case as one of attempted murder on the Ethiopian shopkeeper.

“It is alleged [Friday] just after midnight‚ at Newlands West‚ a tuck shop container was set alight by unknown suspects. The community members managed to put the fire out. Investigations are continuing‚” she said.

The Khulula district of Newlands West‚ which borders KwaMashu‚ has been a flashpoint of anti-foreigner sentiment in recent months.

In May‚ a letter was sent to foreign shopkeepers in KwaMashu‚ Inanda and Ntuzuma warning them to shut down their businesses within 14 days.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu attempted to quash tensions between a local business forum and the foreign shopkeepers‚ with his brinkmanship resulting in a tenuous truce.

Continue reading this story at TimesLIVE
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