Pretoria – While many were celebrating New Year’s Day, all hell broke loose in the Somali community in Pretoria West with a couple dying in front of their toddler.
The father, Hassan Moalim Ahmed, 28, shot his ex-wife Deqa Hassan Yusuf, 22, six times in the head and then turned the gun on himself.
Their 2-year-old child witnessed both her parents die, leaving her an orphan.
The incident happened at the woman’s home in Pretoria West.
A close friend of the couple and community leader Abdulahi Sheiq Mahad said Ahmed had called Yusuf asking to see their daughter. He later showed up at her house carrying plastic bags with items meant for the child.
Yusuf was hesitant to open the gate for Ahmed, but he later gained access to the yard after one of the residents opened it to go to a shop.
“The woman walked past Ahmed and greeted him as normal – little did she know that he had a hidden gun nor was she aware of Ahmed’s intentions,” said Mahad.
He said the woman later returned to her room in the backyard as Ahmed shouted Yusuf’s name.
Their daughter excitedly ran towards Ahmed and hugged him around his legs but Ahmed reached for his firearm pointing it at Yusuf.
“Yusuf screamed ‘don’t shoot me’ a few times but that did not stop Ahmed. He fired a bullet straight to her head,” said Mahad.
Yusuf fell to the ground, lying in a pool of blood, he said. Ahmed repeatedly fired another five shots at her head. Ahmed also tried to kill the woman who stayed in the backyard by firing one shot, but the woman ducked and was unharmed.
“Just as he was about to run, people came out of their houses to see what was going on,” said Mahad.
By the time police arrived on the scene, Ahmed had already run up to the top of the roof, trying to escape. He stood on the roof pointing the gun at his head and shot himself.
The couple had been together in Somalia since childhood and had been married for three years until they divorced nine months ago.
Mahad described the couple as having been close and in love for most of the time until they got married. Their relationship then became stormy owing to arguments, which led to the divorce.
“Their love never faded, it survived the distance for so many years until Ahmed was well established and able to fly Yusuf to South Africa.
“This was where they started a family,” said Mahad.
The two were buried next to each other later that day in Laudium cemetery. The orphaned child is meanwhile being taken care of by one of the couple’s close friends.
Mahad expressed his deepest pain regarding the incident. “This is big to us because we have never experienced such brutality in the Somali community. This is the first and hopefully the last,” said Mahad. People have disagreements, but violence and murder should never be the solution, he said.