Nine-year-old Sadia Sukhraj was shot and killed during an attempted carjacking on Monday, May 28, in the Shallcross area of Durban, South Africa. Her death has sparked anger among the community and has kicked off a city-wide protest against gun violence and crime.
Sadia was on her way to school with her father when three armed men approached their car. The armed men allegedly pulled her father out of the car and proceeded to drive away with little Sadia still inside. A shoot-out ensued between the community members and the carjackers. The suspects crashed the car in their attempt to flee; one suspect was killed and the remaining two fled the scene. Sadia was found fatally shot. She succumbed to her injuries despite being rushed to the hospital.
An off-duty policeman arrested a second suspect, but the search is still on for the third. Police Minister Bheki Cele said that they have identified the third suspect and he has vowed to have him in custody soon.
Sadia’s untimely death came just hours after South Africa kicked off Child Protection Week, showing just how vulnerable our children are.
The tragic incident enraged community members, who say that they are tired of the high rate of crime within the area. More than 3,000 members of the community gathered around the police station in Chatsworth to demand immediate police action. The officers present at the police station at the time resorted to firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the crowd after allegedly being threatened. The crowd included children and the elderly. Twenty protesters were arrested, only adding to the outrage.
Following the heart-wrenching funeral, a candlelight vigil was held for Sadia in Chatsworth on Tuesday night.
Today, Sadia’s school, Everest Primary, is holding a protest against gun violence and crime, keeping Sadia’s tragic death at the forefront of their minds. The entire community was urged by East Coast Radio to wear orange to show support for the cause. Support has been pouring in on social media under the hashtag #StandUpForSadia.
The people of Durban have decided that Sadia’s death will not be for nothing. Show your support: wear orange and #StandUpForSadia.