Harrismith - Ten people were arrested for the alleged attempted murder of a sangoma and setting alight two police vehicles in Harrismith, Free State police said on Monday.

Colonel Thandi Mbambo said a seven-year-old girl was reported missing on on November 14, and her decomposing body was found on November 18.

"It is alleged that the mother of the deceased consulted a local sangoma who then informed her that another sangoma is responsible for the girl’s disappearance. On Saturday the 18 November 2017 the partially decomposed body of a missing girl was found about 2km away from her parental home in the bush in Intabazwe."

She said the police were called whilst they were still busy with their investigation at the scene, a word went out about the alleged responsible sangoma.

"The 56-year-old elderly lady was traced and seized by the mob who assembled material in an attempt to burn her alive. [The officers] tried to dissuade the community, however about 1000 community members spontaneously tipped over a police sedan and a bakkie that was parked nearby and set both alight."

The sangoma was saved from the angry mob and referred to the local hospital for treatment.

"The arrested suspects will be charged with attempted murder, arson, kidnapping and public violence and will appear in court soon," she said.

Free State Provincial Commissioner Lt.-General Lebeoana Tsumane condemned these acts and indicated those found responsible of spreading malicious gossip which led to this unfortunate incident would be dealt with accordingly.

He also called on the community to refrain from acting on malicious intents that cannot even be proved to be true.
"We understand the community anger over the loss of the little girl’s life, but they should guards against being used by people who have their own interests. We will work tirelessly to ensure that those responsible for the girl’s death are brought to book," he said.