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South African businessman’s remains repatriated from Mozambique

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Remains of South African businessman André Hanekom, who died last week in Mozambican police custody, following his arrest in the north of the country as an alleged jihadist, have returned home for burial.

Now Hanekom’s family has to decide if a report into the circumstances surrounding his death will be made public, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday night, 31 January 2019.

The ministry’s assertion came after the 62-year-old’s remains arrived home on Thursday evening, following his death in a Mozambican hospital after months in police custody while waiting for a trial on terrorism charges.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has reportedly directed South Africa’s diplomats to Mozambique to engage the country’s authorities to provide a report on the circumstances surrounding Hanekom’s death.

“The high commissioner and Mozambique authorities are busy with the report. When it is done, the family will decide if it must be made public or not,” ministry spokesperson, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, told the press on Thursday night.

Mozambican authorities detained Hanekom in 2018 for alleged terrorist activity in the northern Cabo Delgado Province, the region where he ran his business. Hanekom’s family has repeatedly denied allegations of any wrongdoing by the late businessman.

Instead, his wife Francis, a former South African intensive care nurse, said she believed her husband had been poisoned to cover up possible torture he endured while being questioned in detention.

Hanekom’s remains will now undergo an independent autopsy in South Africa. The post-mortem examination performed in Mozambique named the cause of death as encephalopathy hypoxia (a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain).


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