902 A crime scene expert takes pictures of the scene on 7th street in Linden where 3 men tried to hijack a woman after a chase with the police that started in Robindale. 190208. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Limpopo - Limpopo police have launched a manhunt following the killing of three children who were stoned to death.

The bodies of siblings Bafana, 9, and Hosea Kekana, 10, and that of their 12-year-old cousin Johanna were found on the street near Constantia Resort in Mookgophong.

“They were gruesomely stoned to death, and initial investigations have revealed that the girl was raped before she was killed,” said Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

He said the three were still wearing their school uniforms.

“Heavy, bloodied stones were found near their bodies, which were covered by a blanket and tree branches,” said Mulaudzi.

He said the children had stayed at the Montadi Youth Care Centre, following a social worker’s recommendation.

“They had been removed from their homes after an investigation by the Social Development Department revealed that they were being neglected by their parents,” he said.

“The three were last seen on Wednesday during the Dikobo Primary School’s march, which demanded more teachers, among other issues,” he said.

The children were reported missing the following day, and on Saturday their bodies were discovered by a passer-by.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Simon Mpembe has condemned the killings.

“We will hunt the perpetrators day and night. We will follow all the leads and no stone will be left unturned,” said Mpembe.

The motive for the killing was unknown.

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The Star