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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

US embassy warns Americans to avoid Numbi Gate following German tourist murder

The embassy has urged Americans to be situationally aware when travelling and make stops at designated areas.

The US embassy in South Africa has issued a security alert to US citizens planning to visit the Kruger National Park.

This follows the murder of German tourist Joerg Schnarr on Numbi road, outside the Kruger National Park, last week.

“Due to an increase in crime”, the US embassy has urged tourists to avoid Numbi Gate and instead use either the Paul Kruger or Phabeni gates when entering and leaving the park.

“Please remember to be situationally aware when travelling and make stops at designated areas, such as garages, and service stations. Be mindful that protests and road closures are frequent in the area,” said the embassy in an alert issued on Tuesday.

“It is recommended that everyone contact their lodge or hotel before travel to understand current road and travel conditions. If you encounter issues, contact the police or your lodge.”

Sixty-seven-year-old Schnarr and three other people were travelling to Mdluli Safari Lodge when they were attacked by a group of criminals.

ALSO READ: ‘People of interest’ in Kruger Park German tourist murder arrested

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the suspects, travelling in a VW Caddy, are said to have instructed the tourists to open the doors to their Hyundai Staria, but when the driver locked the doors, he was shot in the upper body through the window.

“The driver reversed about 100m before crashing into a wall,” Mohlala said.

 Schnarr succumbed to his injuries, while his wife and the couple they were travelling with survived.

‘People of interest’ released

The three people who were taken in for questioning last Wednesday following Schnarr’s murder on Numbi road, outside the Kruger National Park, on Monday.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Cele confirmed that the three people were let go after providing information that could advance the case.

According to the minister, one more person has been taken in for questioning.

“I was at the crime scene, we announced that we had three people of interest. Police have spoken to those three people of interest and they have been let go. But the information they received from them is information of quality, it’s information that we’re very happy with,” said Cele at the time.

“We have managed to get the name and the person that we believe will give us proper response on what has happened. Today, earlier on, speaking to the police, they have raised the issue that he’s doing some pointing, including the runaway car.

“We let [the three people] go, but we’re very sure that the person that we found now, we’re in a much better place to crack the case.”

NOW READ: Calls mount for Numbi Gate into Kruger Park to be closed following tourist’s murder

Additional reporting by Nica Richards

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Bheki Cele Kruger National Park (KNP)

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