Set alight by mob

2014-10-08 00:00

TWO men accused of crime were hauled out of their homes, beaten and set alight by an enraged mob in the early hours yesterday.

The Ezinketheni community from Bob Mattison Road near Copesville ganged up in a vigilante attempt to rid their area of suspected criminals.

The mob also burnt down the homes of the murder victims and those of three others they suspect of crime.

Eyewitnesses described how a weapon-wielding mob of over 200 people stormed the homes of the two victims.

“They dragged them out into the open road. They hammered them with spades and branches, stabbing at them with knives and spears and stoning them with heavy rocks,” an eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said.

“Petrol was poured over them and they were set alight in front of everyone. One tried to flee while in flames, but collapsed after 100 metres, where the mob finished him off.”

Graphic evidence of the brutal attack could be seen splattered all along the roadside.

Community members alleged the victims were local criminals and rapists who have plagued the area for years.

“The community is fed up. They are raping us and breaking into our houses while we are asleep,” said a scared elderly woman.

The Witness got an exclusive interview with Ntu Buthelezi, one of the men accused by the community.

His house was burnt down while he was out of the area.

“On Sunday, a man called ‘Loose’ threatened me, saying [they] will come and shoot me on Monday. I’m hurt because I don’t know what I have done,” said the teary-eyed Buthelezi.

“This was well planned. We lost everything in the blaze. This means the start of a war. They are challenging us. They should have killed me rather than burn my home,” he said.

His wife, Philisiwe Shangase, said they went to see what was going on and when they turned back, their houses were ablaze.

“We lost everything. Our wardrobes and beds are gone. I’m left with what I’m wearing,” Shangase said.

According to Buthelezi, the mob forced another suspected criminal, “Mandla”, to pin-point the homes of his alleged cohorts.

Eyewitnesses and community members did not want to be identified for fear of victimisation.

Provincial police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said police are investigating two cases of murder and arson arising from the incidents.

According to Zwane, three suspects were arrested. One was linked with the murders and the other two linked to house robberies in the area.

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