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Mthatha - Two men accused of the murder of a Roman Catholic nun appeared in the Mthatha Magistrate's Court on Monday, Eastern Cape police said.

They were denied bail and would appear in court again on August 8 for a formal bail application, said Lt-Col Mzukisi Fatyela.

The case was also referred to the directorate of public prosecutions.

Asiphe Ndikinda, 26, and Masixoli Mdlebe, 21, allegedly hijacked and kidnapped 82-year-old Sister Mary Paule Tacke in Mthatha on June 15.

Following the crime, people who worked with her saw her car in Mthatha and followed it.

The police were called and during the ensuing chase the car overturned. The two occupants ran away.

Tacke's body was found in Nangeni, in a small stream in the veld, on June 16.

Ndikinda was arrested in Mthatha on June 19, and Mdlebe was arrested in the Ngcwanguba area the following day.

According to the Lewiston Tribune Online, Tacke was kidnapped outside the Thembelihle orphanage, which she established in order to help children aged eight to 16.

She was born in Cottonwood, Idaho, in the US, on March 17, 1932. After coming to South Africa she began her missionary work at the Mariazell mission, near Matatiele.

In 1955 she founded the Bethany Place of Safety in Mthatha, a home for abandoned children from newborn to the age of six. She was its director from 1955 to 2007.