Four killed after feud

2011-04-26 00:00

A LONG-RUNNING feud between two families on a farm outside Howick turned into a bloodbath on Sunday evening as four people were massacred after an argument.

Sibongiseni Ximba and Pollen Mnikathi have been at each other’s throats for the past two-and-a-half months, after Ximba allegedly caught Mnikathi trying to break into his home at midnight earlier this year.

The two men were employed at Denleigh Farm.

On Sunday their squabbles turned into a massacre as Ximba (40), his wife Kwenzekile (35), their nephew Yo Ximba (25) and niece Mali Ximba (26) were shot and killed, allegedly by Mnikathi’s brother.

The killer cannot be named as he is yet to appear in court.

Family members said the argument started when Mnikathi was caught sneaking around the Ximbas’ house. This led to tension between the two men. Farm owner John Stubbs called a meeting at which the matter was apparently resolved.

Mnikathi was allegedly handed a fine for his indiscretion, which he refused to pay. This further strained relations, and the two men would argue over the matter every time they had been drinking. The situation finally exploded on Sunday evening.

Gunya Ximba, Sibongiseni’s elder brother, said that on Sunday Mnikathi came to their mother’s house, which was unusual, and had an argument with Sibongiseni.

He left and apparently went to ask his brother, who is a security guard and owns a firearm, but is not employed on the farm, to help him ambush Mnikathi on his way to home.

The brothers allegedly ambushed Ximba and assaulted him.

His wife, Kwenzekile, and his niece and nephew saw that he was being attacked and went to assist him. Kwenzekile hit one of the brothers with a stick. He drew his firearm and shot Ximba dead.

Then he chased Kwenzekile and her nephew and niece down to their main house. He shot Kwenzekile dead in front of her hut and then killed her nephew and niece.

A neighbour’s daughter was also shot and is in hospital.

“He only stopped shooting when he ran out of bullets. He had five bullets and he used them on five different people and four of them are dead,” Gunya said.

He said he was aware there were tensions between his brother and Mnikathi, but he didn’t foresee that they would escalate into a bloodbath.

“These tensions often arose when the two had been drinking. When they were sober there was nothing. My brother is not the kind of person to tolerate betrayal and if he has a problem with you he wants it aired out so you both can move on.”

Stubbs said he was shocked at the fact that two of his employees were involved in the killing.

“About two-and-a-half months ago allegations that could not be substantiated were made, but we called a meeting because we wanted to resolve the matter. We believed it had been resolved, but then something like this happens,” Stubbs said.

Police spokeperson Lolly Moodley confirmed the incident was reported and that a suspect has been arrested.

He said Pollen was not arrested because the information suggests that he was not involved in the assault or the massacre.

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