Birmingham & Black Country

Man rescued by Birmingham riot-death brothers

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Media captionMohammed Akhtar said he wanted to thank the brother of his "riot-hero" rescuers as they were no longer alive for him to thank them in person.

A van driver who was assaulted in the Birmingham riots has told how he was rescued by two brothers who later died while protecting businesses.

Mohammed Akhtar, 38, was stranded after being attacked on 8 August by three men who stole his van to transport loot.

He struggled to find help until Abdul Musavir and Shazad Ali stopped for him and accompanied him to hospital.

Mr Akhtar said: "They were so kind to me." Two nights later the brothers died while protecting stores from looters.

'True heroes'

Image caption Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir died after being hit by a car in Winson Green

They were hit by a car along with a third man, Haroon Jahan, 21, while they were protecting homes and stores in Winson Green on 10 August.

Mr Akhtar, a father-of-three from Bearwood Road in Smethwick, said: "They are true heroes. I came here specially from Walsall today because I wanted to say thank you to their brother [Abdul Quddoos].

"I can't say it to them as they are not in this world anymore. They were my heroes too."

Mr Akhtar was on his way home from work when he was seriously assaulted on 8 August.

He had been driving along Booth Street in Smethwick and had pulled over to take a phone call.

He said: "I looked up and saw three black men coming towards the van. The doors weren't locked and they jumped in and started fighting with me.

"I didn't know what was going on. They snatched the keys and dragged me out of the van by my lower lip, punching me."

The men drove off with his van and left Mr Akhtar bleeding and stranded by the roadside.

He said when he tried to flag down a lift nobody would stop for him.

'Makes me proud'

Image caption Rukaya Begum was cross her sons were back late until she learned they had been helping Mr Akhtar

"I didn't realise there were riots that night. I only found out afterwards from the police. I think most people were too scared to stop and just wanted to get home.

"I was shocked and helpless for about half an hour. Then Musavir saw me and picked me up."

Mr Musavir happened to be driving past and stopped to help. It was only when Mr Akhtar got in that he recognised his friend of 13 years.

They went to the police station to report the crime and then Mr Musavir, 31, and his younger brother Mr Ali, 30, followed Mr Akhtar to hospital, where they stayed with him until his family arrived.

The brothers' younger sister Sumera Ali, 25, said: "That is exactly how they were.

"They could never see anyone in trouble or suffering without helping."

Their mother Rukaya Begum, 55, said: "I was cross with them for being out so late, until they told me they had been helping someone.

"That makes me very proud.

"They have shown people that the true meaning of Islam is peace."

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