A South African man, who allegedly stabbed two shopkeepers for refusing to sell cigarettes to him, has been arrested for murder.

One of the victims is being treated in hospital for a knife wound to the neck, News 24 reports.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the man was arrested in the early hours of Thursday.

He faces charges of murder and attempted murder.

The attack took place at about 19:30 on Wednesday.

The shopkeepers of the Kalbaskraal Superette in the main road heard a knock at the door while in their sleeping quarters.

They had closed their shop at 18:00, but had opened after the person at the door identified himself as someone they knew.

“The visitor asked the shopkeepers if he could buy cigarettes. They said no and an argument ensued,” Naidoo said.

The sale of cigarettes is prohibited during the national lockdown.

“The suspect then stabbed the two shopkeepers with a knife, both … once in the neck. The two victims went outside by opening the front door of the shop to look for help.”

Residents phoned the police and an ambulance.

When they arrived, one of the shopkeepers – a 27-year-old man – had already died.

“The second victim was taken to a local hospital, where he is currently being treated for his injuries.”

The man fled the scene, but local police received a tip as to his whereabouts.

He was arrested on Thursday at about 04:00.

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