South African police arrest suspect in connection to murder of three Egyptian monks

Ahram Online , Wednesday 13 Mar 2024

South African police on Wednesday arrested a suspect in connection to the murder of three Egyptian Coptic Orthodox monks inside a church in Johannesburg.

South African police


The 35-year-old man is expected to appear before Cullinan Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement reported by AFP.

The monks were murdered on Tuesday in Cullinan, 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of Pretoria, SAPS said.

According to the SAPS, the monks were found with stab wounds.

“The fourth victim that survived alleged that he was hit by an iron rod on his hand before fleeing and hiding in one of the rooms,” SAPS said.

The SAPS did not provide further details on the motive for Tuesday’s fatal stabbings.

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that it is “closely” following the investigation.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said members of the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria, including Ambassador Ahmed Al-Fadly, visited the site of the murder.  The embassy had been in direct communication with the ongoing SAPS investigation, it added.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church announced that the attack resulted in the death of Monk Hegumen Takla El-Samuely (deputy of the Coptic Diocese of South Africa), Monk Yostos Ava Markos, and Monk Mina Ava Markos.

It added that it "is closely following the incident and is waiting to be informed of its causes."

In today's statement, the Egyptian ambassador said the embassy is “closely following up on the investigation to uncover the circumstances of the incident, the identity of the perpetrators, and hold them accountable.”

Moreover, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution, condemned on Tuesday in the strongest terms "the terrorist attack," offering its sincerest condolences to the families of the victims.

“Attacking a safe person in a place of worship is a hateful terrorist act and there can never be a justification for murder and terrorism,” a statement quoted Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb as saying.

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