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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 December 2007, 12:37 GMT
South Africa robbers attack envoy
Tanzanian ambassador to South Africa Emmanuel Mwambulukutu, in an official embassy photograph
The ambassador is the latest high-profile victim of violent crime
The Tanzanian high commissioner to South Africa was beaten unconscious by armed robbers at his own farewell dinner in Pretoria, police say.

The envoy, Emmanuel Mwambulukutu, is said to be in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Six other people were also taken to hospital after the attack, including the ambassador's wife. One person has been arrested.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world.

A South African government official at the dinner told the South African Press Association that armed men broke into the diplomatic compound at around 2200 local time.

Rape threat

"They ordered us to lie down, tied our hands, robbed us of our cellphones, money, and household goods," he said.

"Quite a few people were assaulted, hit with bottles. They kept threatening my 15-year-old daughter with rape."

The robbers brandished weapons but no shots were fired. They made off in the Mr Mwambulukutu's own Mercedes car after beating up another guest when they failed to start his Audi, according to the official, who was not named.

We don't care for God. Let's stab these dogs
The robbers, as quoted by a victim

Police located the high commissioner's car using its satellite tracking device and arrested one man. He was shot and wounded in the process, and taken to hospital under police guard.

Police say they are hunting his accomplices.

Calls for a crackdown on violent crime in South Africa have been renewed by a spate of attacks on high-profile targets. These include:

  • A Vietnamese embassy official shot and wounded at his home in Pretoria in October
  • South Africa's UN ambassador robbed at gunpoint in his son's home in July.

But this latest attack seems to have been the most shocking yet.

The South African government official said the envoy told the robbers at one point: "Gentlemen, God bless you."

They are said to have replied: "We don't care for God. Let's stab these dogs."

Country profile: South Africa
19 Dec 07 |  Country profiles

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