8 dead in horror family killing

By Mpume Madlala Time of article published Dec 13, 2010

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Five children, including a nine-month-old, and three adults were murdered in yet another horrific family killing in Durban on Monday morning.

Police at the scene in Mpola, near Mariannhill, said they believed the eight – seven from one family – were shot before the killers locked the house and set it alight. It is not yet known if they were still alive.

The bodies of Coshela Mabhida, 48, his children Sindi 25, Andiswa, nine months, Njabulo, 9, Sphesihle, 7, Owami, 6, and the children’s grandmother Angelina, 58, were found in a corner of the house.

Police also discovered the body of Nelisiwe Khumalo, 16, who had been visiting the household.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said it was believed that the family was shot just before 5am.

“We believe they were locked in the house before it was set alight. We found fuel containers and matches at the crime scene.”

Coshela’s brother, Bhekizwe Njapha, was told shortly after 5am that his brother and the family had been murdered.

He drove from his home in Umbumbulu to the scene, arriving at 10am.

“All the way here I was thinking of what they went through.”

“I am traumatised and feel very helpless right now because I don’t know who would want to do this to my brother and his family, as he was such a humble man.”

Njapha said his brother worked for Durban Solid Waste.

Residents would only speak to the media if their identities were protected.

A man in his sixties knew the family and described them as nice people: “I don’t know who would want to kill them. We are going to have many sleepless nights because we could become targets.”

An elderly woman who lives a kilometre away was crying, and said

she was concerned other families in the area might be targeted.

A third resident said she could not understand how those responsible for the murders could take the lives of children.

“I have lived here for many years and did not think this would ever happen here.”

Police have yet to establish a motive for the murders or the number of suspects being sought.

Mdunge said: “National commissioner Bheki Cele is on his way to Durban after he was informed of the killings.”

He said there was nothing to suggest links to recent family murders in the area.

Police cordoned off the area, although crime scene investigators were seen outside the house, which is isolated from those around.

Mpola is a few kilometres from Shongweni, where in October five people, including an eight-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, were killed, a 13-year-old raped and her pregnant sister shot in the stomach.

A few days later four people were killed in another family murder in nearby Mariannhill.

The only man to stand trial for the Shongweni massacre claimed in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court last week that he had been coerced by police into confessing to the murders. He may not be named until he pleads on the rape charge.

It is alleged that he and brothers Philani and Bhejane Nxele killed Sthembiso Nxusa, 29, shot his pregnant girlfriend and raped her 13-year-old sister. The men then allegedly moved to another home, where they shot dead five people.

Police believe the three were also responsible for the murders of four people in Mariannhill. However, the man has not been charged with those crimes. The Nxele brothers were killed by the police. - Daily News

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