TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry Thursday said the killing of its honorary consul for the West African state of Benin, Assaad Shaghouri, was motivated by theft.
A ministerial statement said Shaghouri, a well-known businessman, was traveling to Lome in Togo from Benin’s economic capital of Cotonou late Wednesday when his car was sprayed with gunfire as it stopped at a red light.
“Guns were fired from armed men traveling in five cars that had followed Shaghouri’s vehicle, killing him instantly, and injuring his driver,” the statement said.
The statement said the authorities in Benin had appointed a senior security officer to investigate the incident. The victim’s brother, Joseph Shaghouri, was quoted in the statement as saying the initial investigation indicated the crime was motivated by theft.
“Shaghouri was expected to inaugurate his new shops La Roche for construction materials a day later,” the statement said.
His body is expected to arrive in Beirut for burial late Friday, the statement said, and according to Joseph Shaghouri, the funeral will be held Sunday, 4 p.m. at Sayyedat Mezyara Church, where his family will accept condolences over the weekend and on Monday.
Shaghouri, who leaves behind a son and five daughters, hails from the northern Mezyara village in the Zghorta district.
He was born in 1951 and went to Africa in the beginning of the ’70s before being appointed as an honorary consul in 1996.
West Africa is home to a large community of Lebanese expats, with Senegal alone hosting 30,000 citizens with Lebanese nationality.
The murder happened just days after another Lebanese citizen was shot and killed during an attempted burglary in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast’s former capital.