Police arrest two gunmen for double killing

Time of article published Oct 4, 2001

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By Mbongeni Zondi

Ladysmith police have arrested two suspects and recovered an Uzi submachine gun at Steadville township in connection with a double murder they believe is linked to a conflict within the ANC.

The men, aged 30 and 26, are to be charged with illegal possession of a firearm and one of them, who was out on bail on another gun possession count, is to be charged with two counts of murder.

The arrests follow the death of two men gunned down with AK-47 assault rifles and an Uzi submachine gun in a Steadville shop on Sunday.

The dead men have been identified as Themba Ramollo (28) and Xolani James Thusi (25).

The attack is believed to have been in revenge for the murder of Obed Bongani Mkhwanazi (26) who was shot dead on the same day.

Ladysmith police publicist Captain Charmaine Struweg said the killings were believed to be related to the ongoing violence in the area which erupted last year between different groups aligned to the African National Congress (ANC).

Steadville ANC councillor Sulani Mwelase said the murders were purely a criminal matter but put the blame on the local police whom he said were in cahoots with local criminals.

Mwelase said the township had been living in fear of a group of criminals involved in the traffic of mandrax whom he said were assisted by the local police.

He said the criminals had since been dubbed Izinkabi, a term used for taxi violence hitmen, because of their involvement in the related murders.

"It's is a well known fact in the township that these criminals received their guns and ammunition from corrupt members of the local police who have a stake in the drug trade," he said.

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