Rabbis hats are silhouetted against the sky as they gather to pose for a group photo in front of the Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., November 4, 2018..
(photo credit: MARK KAUZLARICH/REUTERS)
Chabad emissaries serving in Nairobi were attacked and beaten during a violent robbery in the Kenyan capital on Wednesday night.
Rabbi Shmuel Notik and his wife, Chaya, were beaten and tied up at the Chabad House in Nairobi by a gang of five robbers.
Notik, who is Israeli and moved to Kenya with his family in 2014, was lightly wounded in the attack, while his wife was hit in the head by the robbers during the ordeal and required surgery following the attack. She was listed in moderate condition.
Local police told reporters that they suspect that the Chabad House’s security personnel had cooperated with the robbers in carrying out the attack.
It is believed that antisemitism was not the motive.
The robbers reportedly beat the rabbi after he tried to call the police, and then threatened that they would attack him and his family if he did not cooperate.
However, soon after threatening Notik, the gang reportedly went into the couple’s bedroom where Notik’s wife was sleeping. It was at this point that she was attacked by the men, hit in the head and beaten. The assailants skipped the children’s rooms.
The gang allegedly beat the couple with clubs and continued to threaten them, demanding to know where they kept their money and valuables.
The couple and their three children reportedly managed to escape the assailants and locked themselves in a bathroom in the Chabad House, where they waited for the police to arrive.
In addition, several local reports said the robbers also gagged and bound the hands and feet of two yeshiva students who were also at the Chabad House at the time of the robbery.
The robbers trashed the Chabad House and stole thousands of dollars worth of computers, mobile phones, religious articles, jewelry, food and industrial kitchen equipment. The couple’s passports were also taken by the gang.
Following the attack, Notik told local media that he, his family and the two other students who were there, are all okay.
“They’re just suffering from trauma, they weren’t badly hurt,” he said. “My wife is injured, but she is being treated well – all is well.”
He added that up until now, he has come to almost no harm while in Kenya.
This is not the first time Notik has been the victim of a robbery. In 2014, JTA reported that soon after moving to Kenya, Notik was robbed at knife point while on his way to the synagogue on a Friday night.
He did not have any valuables on him to give the assailants and handed over his prayer book and a lapel pin, along with a shofar he was carrying.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed that the incident was being handled by the local police, while the Israeli Consul in Kenya, Michael Bouzaglo, contacted the rabbi and his family and said he will help as much as possible.
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