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Nigeria/Africa Masterweb News Report

    Nigerian merchant murdered in US
    - Luis Perez, Rocco Parascandola & Lindsay Faber

    (Thursday, May 13, 2004)

    A Brooklyn merchant was shot to death in his apartment Wednesday by three men, posing as FedEx workers, who robbed him, police said. Mutiu Hassan, 36, known in his East Flatbush neighborhood as "Murphy," was shot several times in the living room of his apartment on Clarkson Avenue after the men showed up at his door and forced their way in at gunpoint, police said. The men fled with an undetermined amount of cash, police said. Hassan was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where he died later, police said.

    The 10:35 a.m. incident happened while Hassan's wife, Alhaja, his son, Mustapha, 9, his mother-in-law and his sister-in-law were all at home. His daughter, Doyen, who turns 4 today, was in school. The mother-in-law was the only family member to witness the event. "My husband is dead, my husband is dead," Hassan's wife wailed on the ground after the incident, according to downstairs neighbor Doris Ofose, 26, who came out of her apartment after she heard screaming. According to witnesses, three men were seen running up East 93rd Street from Clarkson toward Winthrop Street, bumping into at least one person along the way.

    One of the suspects who apparently left a blood trail outside the seven-story building after being shot in the arm, either during the scuffle or accidentally, showed up at Brooklyn Hospital shortly after the incident. He was in custody last night. A FedEx official also showed up at the scene but declined to comment. It was still undetermined if the FedEx truck had been stolen.

    The Valentine 99c Discount Store on Flatbush Avenue that Hassan and his wife owned for five years closed for the day as people who knew the Nigerian immigrant mourned. "He was a very religious man, very humble, very respectful," said Abdul Sataki, the assistant imam at Zaqiya Sofuwat Islam, the Franklin Avenue mosque where Hassan and has family worshipped for the last eight years. "He never fights nobody, so it was a great shock this afternoon."

    Sataki said Hassan was supposed to bring his children to the mosque for a special class Saturday but, in uncharacteristic form, he did not show up. Folu Muda, a friend of Hassan's who sells chicken and rice from a cooler in the neighborhood, said she was preparing to bring him food Friday. "Now I hear this," Muda said. "How can you go and kill someone in that fashion? How could that happen?"

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