Police Arrest Six Suspects Linked With Murder Of South African Rapper AKA

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South African police have arrested six suspects over the murder of one of the country’s hottest rap artists, Kiernan Forbes, known as AKA.

According to reports, the 35-year-old musician was gunned down on February 10 last year while walking in the company of a friend outside a popular Durban restaurant hours before he was to perform at a nearby club.

“It was clear that AKA was monitored from the airport and Tibz was not the intended target in the murder on Florida Road in Durban,” Lt Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner, said in a press briefing on Tuesday night.

“We know they were paid for this,” Lt Gen Mkwananzi added.

He said that the six accused men played different roles in the plot to kill AKA.

The suspects who are behind bars include two gunmen who fired several rounds at the victims, two spotters who followed AKA from Durban’s airport, someone who sourced the firearms which were used in the ambush, as well as the mastermind.

He said the oldest suspect was 36 and that others could be added to the list.

Several of those arrested were linked to separate murder cases, he said, and two had been held in the neighbouring landlocked country of Eswatini.

Police worked with Interpol and the Eswatini government to arrest two people “hiding” there and extradition procedures would be started, the commissioner said.

Mkhwanazi said police had a suspicion of the motive but would not discuss the matter. It was revealed that the rapper had been followed from his time of arrival at Durban airport to the restaurant.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest murder rates with several entertainment stars among the victims. In 2007, reggae singer Lucky Dube was dropping off his teenage son at a relative’s home when gunmen shot him three times during a failed attempt to steal his car.

The southern African nation recorded almost 84 murders a day between October and December, according to police statistics released this month.

AKA began his musical career as part of the rap group Entity before he launched his solo career, winning several awards in South Africa for his music. He was also celebrated internationally, with several nominations for awards from Black Entertainment Television (BET) and MTV Europe.