Verulam mosque caretaker fearing for his life in hiding after nearly being killed

The caretaker who was disembowelled during last week's attack on a Shia mosque in Verulam, north of Durban, is currently in hiding after being discharged from hospital.  

Mohammed Ali was severely stabbed when three knife-wielding men attacked the Imam Hussain Mosque on May 10.

A bomb was also discovered at the same mosque on Sunday night.

READ KZN mosque attack: More questions than answers over bomb

The chairperson of the mosque's committee, Azad Seedat, confirmed to News24 on Wednesday that Ali had been discharged from hospital.

"He has been moved to a secret location. It would be highly impossible to interview him," Seedat said.

Screams

It was not immediately clear when he was discharged.

Moulana Aftab Haider had told journalists on Friday that Ali, who underwent surgery, was the one who had opened the gate for the attackers after they said they wanted to pray.

"He is the person who faced the whole situation. He is the caretaker," he said.

Ali and the mosque's moulana, Ali Nchiyane, were in the mosque at the time of the attack.

Abbas Essop, 34, who rushed inside the mosque when he heard screams, died shortly after the incident.

The attackers slit his throat. He was buried on Friday night.

All activities at the mosque have been suspended following Thursday's attack and the discovery of the bomb over the weekend.

"We are busy with renovations at the mosque. We have to repair all the extensive damage there," said Seedat.

The mosque's library was also petrol bombed during the first attack.

"There will be no prayers on Friday," confirmed Seedat.

Hawks spokesperson Simphiwe Mhlongo told News24 on Wednesday that no arrests have been made but that investigations continue.

He confirmed that police were aware that Ali had been discharged from hospital.

Two counts of attempted murder, one of murder and one of arson are being investigated, Mhlongo said.

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