Mob demanding release of murder suspects damage police station
Pretoria - A mob demanding the release of 19 people arrested for the murder of four people in a mob justice attack descended at a police station in Limpopo and threw stones at the building, shattering its windows.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba condemned the incident and vowed to hunt down the mob that attacked the Masisi police station
The angry mob was retaliating after the police arrested 19 people in Mutele village in connection with the murder of four people, including a traditional healer and his son. The four were murdered after being blamed for the disappearance of Gumani, 25, who was last seen on January 25.
Police said the mob took the traditional healer, 59-year-old Mutshutshu Munyai, his son Mushanganyisi Munyai, 24, and two other people and dragged them into the bushes, where they stoned and burnt them beyond recognition.
The other two dead people have been identified by police as Maphanda Thakhani, 26, and Mudzhelele Muvhango, 38.
“We condemn this violence that is clearly aimed at bringing about lawlessness in the area. The police will be relentless in hunting down all those who participated in this violence,” said Ledwaba.
“Community members are urged to assist the police in searching for the missing man and must desist from taking the law into their own hands.”
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the angry mob was demanding the release of the 19 suspects.
“The angry crowd came to the police station, demanding the release of the suspects. They then started throwing stones and damaged two windows. Public order police members were called to assist the local police and had to use rubber bullets to repel the crowd,” said Mojapelo.
“One suspect was arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property. More arrests are expected.”
The 19 suspects, arrested on Monday, are due to appear in the Musina Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. “They are facing charges of four counts of murder, arson and malicious damage to property,” said Mojapelo.
Tensions have been running high in the Vhembe District since the disappearance of the man. The four people were murdered in an apparent mob justice attack, while houses and vehicles were torched in Mutele village.
“A missing person file was opened at Makuya police station. Police are continuing with the search operation and investigations,” said Mojapelo. “Community members went to the homestead of the traditional healer. They torched his house and two vehicles, accusing him of being responsible for the disappearance of Gumani.”