Shock, mystery after gogos and six children slain in 'barbaric' attack

2017-10-05 12:00
KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda addressing members of the Sibiya family after the horrifying murders of  two grandmother and six children.

KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda addressing members of the Sibiya family after the horrifying murders of two grandmother and six children. (Mbuyiselo Ndlovu)

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Pietermaritzburg - Mystery surrounds the reason for the killing of eight members of the Sibiya family — two women and six girls - on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, relatives, neighbours and other community members sat in shock outside the Sibiya family home, wondering what could have led to the mass killing in Matimatolo, near Greytown.

In the first incident, Sindisiwe Sibiya and her four grandchildren died in a rondavel that was set alight. Gunshots had been heard before the house burned. All five were declared dead on the scene as attempts by community members to rescue the family failed.

A mere 100m away from the first crime scene, Sindisiwe's sister, Nanazi Sibiya, was with her three grandchildren when they, too, were attacked.

Gunshots were heard here, too, before the house was set alight. Nanazi was declared dead at the scene while two of her grandchildren died at hospital.

The surviving child was said to be in a critical condition in hospital.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she did not think it was a “big deal” when she first heard gunshots. “It is normal to hear gunshots in this area. When my mother peeped through the window, we saw that the house was on fire. When I tried to get to the house, I choked because of smoke inhalation. I screamed for help.

“What made it worse was that we did not have enough water [to fight the blaze] as we have not had water for the past two weeks.”

'I am now left with no one'

Nompumelelo Sibiya, the mother of two of the children, said that her mother usually informed her if she had disagreements with a neighbour or anything of that kind, but this time her mother had not told her anything.

“My mother and my kids were brutally murdered and that was not enough for the killers as they set them on fire. This has deeply hurt me emotionally; I am now left with no one.

“What hurts me the most is that I cannot think of any reason that could lead to this tragedy,” she added.

A family relative, Fanozi Shaik, said he had spent almost three hours with both the Sibiya sisters on Monday.

“None of them told me that there were any problems or that their lives were in danger. The last time one heard of such an incident was back then when there were faction fights.”

KZN police confirmed a case of eight counts of murder and of attempted murder was opened.

“Police will thoroughly investigate the case and ensure that the culprits face the full might of the law,” spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said.

She said a motive was unknown at this stage.

'Inexplicable' attacks

KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas, meanwhile, said Matimatolo was an area with a history of “inexplicable” attacks. “Some attacks there in the past were like terrorist attacks - they happened with no explanation.”

She added: “I can’t think of a political motive for the attack. It’s not an area of political focus ... and there’s no looming election. If it is a faction fight, police need to answer what is driving it.”

De Haas could not think of a motive behind the attack. “It could be taxi violence, it could be about land, it could even be witchcraft. It’s hard to say.”

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda said police would not rest until the killers were caught. “This is barbaric and [must] be condemned with the contempt it deserves. How do you explain killing a two-year-old?” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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