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Polokwane - South African Police Service (SAPS) officers in Limpopo have arrested two teenagers in connection with the brutal killing of two women during an apparent mob justice incident at Ha-Mashau Misevhe village A and C in the Levubu policing area, Limpopo police said on Saturday.

According to the preliminary police investigations, the brutal attacks followed a chain of events which started at about 10am on Friday morning when the body of a 12-year-old boy who had been reported missing was retrieved from a river at Ha-Mashau village, Limpopo SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

"The deceased, Abelo Muila, was reported missing on the 10th of June this year after he allegedly disappeared while playing with his friends at a local complex."

Subsequent to the discovery of his body, community members apparently gathered to "discuss the matter". Later, at about 10pm on Friday night, they mobilised themselves and attacked two women with various objects, stripped them naked, and set them alight.

"The police and the medical emergency services were called following the frantic calls emanating from this area and responded quickly. On arrival at the scene, they made the gruesome discovery of the two women, badly burnt. One woman was certified dead on the scene, whereas another died later in hospital. When the police arrived at the scene, the crowd had already dispersed," Mojapelo said.

"Further preliminary investigation revealed that following this gruesome incident, the crowd proceeded to the yard belonging to a 79-year-old man and burned all his three houses. The victim managed to escape without injuries. The two women were identified as Mudziwa Esther, whose age is not yet determined, and 66-year-old Hulumeni Sarah Masiagwala, both from Matsindevhe village. Two cases of murder, one of inquest, and another of arson were opened for investigation."

Public order policing (POP) members had been deployed in the area to monitor the situation. Limpopo police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba had condemned the brutal killings, and ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and all the necessary resources to be mobilised as soon as possible to track down the suspects involved, Mojapelo said.

"The police will continue to deal mercilessly with every person who resorts to taking the law into their own hands. Community members are warned to refrain from these heinous acts and that they should instead cooperate with the police," Ledwaba said.

Following intensive investigations, police had arrested two suspects, aged 16 and 17, on Saturday afternoon. More arrests were expected. Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the other suspects involved was requested to contact Detective Warrant Officer Mudogwa Mutshutshu on 072-107-6731, the crime stop number 08600-10111, or the nearest police station, Mojapelo said.

African News Agency (ANA)