Bahá'ís Killed in South Africa

Here is a press release from the National Spiritual Assembly of South Africa dated 26 September 1994.

THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF SOUTH AFRICA

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

MEMBERS OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH
MURDERED AND SERIOUSLY INJURED
AT THE BAHÁ'Í CENTRE UMTATA

Deeply shocked and with hearts filled with grave sorrow the Bahá'í community of South Africa learnt of the inhuman incident that happened to two members of the Bahá'í community in Umtata, Transkei, at around 7:30pm, on Sunday 25 September 1994.

In the evening of Sunday 25th September 1994, Mr. Esfandiar Bassari and his wife Mrs. Forough Bassari went to the Bahá'í Centre situated at 11 Deans Lane, Umtata, to assist with the physical arrangements and hospitality, needed for some of the Bahá'ís who had come from Mdantsane and other villages in Transkei to participate in a religious activity. According to the eyewitnesses who were present at the Centre at the time the couple spent a short while at the Centre and after finishing their part of responsibility left the Centre at around 7:30pm. An eyewitness reports that as the victims were getting into their car two men rushed from a corner and shot both the husband and wife. It was too dark to see what kind of firearm the suspects were carrying. The suspects were then seen driving off in Mr. and Mrs. Bassari's car. Mr. Bassari was shot three times in the chest area and two in the right arm, and Mrs. Bassari was shot once in the abdominal area. The victims were taken to the hospital immediately. Mr. Bassari passed away within a few minutes and Mrs. Bassari is presently under intensive care. The motives surrounding this shocking incidence are yet unknown.

Mr. and Mrs. Bassari arrived in Transkei from Canada with their youngest son, Faraz in 1989. Mr. Bassari, born in Iran, and a Canadian citizen, was a principal hydro-geologist working with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Umtata. The three children are presently in North America.

The Bahá'í Faith is an independant world religion with adherents in virtually every country. The Bahá'í world community is a cross section of humanity, including almost all nationalities, races, classes and religious backgrounds, working towards establishing peace and unity in the world.

Note to editors: For further information please contact the Bahá'í Centre in Umtata at 0471-23216 o/h or 0471-22695 a/h.