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DURBAN, - Four people have been arrested in connection with the murder of a couple in Bhamshela, northwest of Durban, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Sunday. 

On December 19, police officers from the Ilembe SAPS task team, Nsuze SAPS, and the Umhlali K9 unit, together with a tracking company, were following up reports of a couple who went missing with their vehicle on the night of December 18 in Bhamshela, Brigadier Jay Naicker said in a statement.

"The team proceeded to the area and spotted the vehicle a few kilometres from the couple’s residence. Police gave chase as the occupants sped off, lost control of the vehicle and crashed. The suspects fled into the bushes."

Police commenced with a search for the victims and they were both found dead at the Wolongo Reserve. They were allegedly shot and battered with a hammer. A four-pound hammer was found next to the deceased. A docket for two counts of murder was opened at the Nsuze police station for investigation.

Following a rigorous investigation, on December 20, police arrested four suspects aged between 25 and 46. The suspects were found in possession of a firearm, cash, and the victims' cellphone.

They would be charged for two counts of murder, illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of suspected stolen property. They would appear in the Maphumulo Magistrates' Court on Monday, Naicker said.

It was alleged that on December 18, the wife received a call from a woman to collect stokvel money that was owed to her. She then left with her husband, but shortly afterwards the family received a call from an unknown person who demanded a ransom for the release of the couple. A case of kidnapping was opened at the Nsuze police station, he said.  

“I wish to commend the investigation team who worked around the clock to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book. We hope that the family will find comfort knowing that these cold-blooded killers will pay the price for their cruelty,” KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula said in the statement.

African News Agency (ANA)