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Kaizer Chiefs player shot dead

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South African footballer Luke Fleurs was shot dead by robbers in Johannesburg in the latest incident to shock the crime-ridden nation, police and his club said on Thursday.

Fleurs, 24, a defender with Johannesburg’s popular Kaizer Chiefs team, was gunned down Wednesday night as he refilled his car at a gas station in a northwestern suburb of the city, police said.

“It is with a great deal of sadness that we announce that Kaizer Chiefs player Luke Fleurs tragically lost his life last night during a hijacking incident in Johannesburg,” his team said in a social media post.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Police said Fleurs was waiting to be served at a petrol station in his Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI when he was confronted by two armed men driving a white BMW.

“The suspects pointed him with a firearm and took him out of his vehicle, then shot him once on the upper body. One suspect drove off with the victim’s car followed by his accomplice,” said police spokesman Masondo Mavela.

The footballer was taken to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival, he added.

Authorities said they have opened a murder and car hijacking investigation. A manhunt for the suspects is ongoing. No arrests have been made.

Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa paid tribute to Fleurs on social media.

“I am saddened that yet another life has been cut short due to violent crime. My thoughts are with the Fleurs and Amakhosi family, and the entire South African football fraternity,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, referring to the Kaizer Chiefs team by their nickname.

South Africa suffers from extremely high crime rates — a key political issue ahead of general elections in May, with opposition parties pointing to the government’s perceived failure.

The country recorded almost 84 murders a day between October and December, according to official figures.

Kaizer Chiefs are one of South Africa’s top teams, having won a record 53 domestic trophies.

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