Isikebhe killings: trio in custody

2012-12-08 00:00

THREE men who appeared at Nquthu Magistrate’s Court for the murder of seven members of an isikebhe group that was ambushed in Pomeroy in August, were remanded in custody yesterday.

Mzokhona Mnyandu (49), Sifiso Mathonsi (48) and Mthembeni Sibisi (57) face seven counts of murder. It is alleged that they ambushed Tshidili Hlongwane, Bonokwakhe Hadebe, Ndabembi Sithole, Dlezakhe Mbatha, Qondokwakhe Duze, Zola Langa and Phindela Langa, who were part of a vigilante group set up to fight cattle rustling in Pomeroy.

Mnyandu and Mathonsi were arrested in November, while Sibisi was arrested on Thursday.

Police recovered a firearm, believed to have been used in the killings, during the arrest of Mnyandu and Mathonsi.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the firearm would be sent for ballistic tests.

“More arrests are expected to be made,” he said.

He said it was alleged that a group of men affiliated to a community-based group had formed an organisation to combat stock theft in the Thaleni area of Msinga, near Pomeroy.

Called themselves isikebhe, they apprehended a man suspected of stealing livestock and took him to the Nkunzini area to point out where he had kept the stolen cattle.

When they reached a homestead in Nkunzini, an argument ensued between the isikebhe members and the home owner, who raised the alarm, mobilising community members.

The isikebhe group fled on foot, but were cornered and attacked by the community members.

Seven isikebhe members were shot dead.

The three return to court on December 12.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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