‘The killer is out there’

2014-07-16 15:21

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Residents of Pongola’s Ncotshane township are uneasy ahead of the funeral on Saturday of murdered four-year-old Lungisani “Kiki’’ Ntuli, whose dismembered body was found in a bag in a building at a local church two weeks ago.

Workers laying a water pipeline behind a local priest’s house discovered a pile of partially burnt bones, which they believe are human, at the edge of Bishop Zeblon John Nkosi’s home.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen,’’ said resident Zama Dladla.

“People are scared as there’s now nobody arrested for Lungisani’s murder. The killer is out there and it’s not right,’’ said the 26-year-old bricklayer, herself the mother of a four-year-old child.

“Things were very bad last week here. People are still angry. They want to see somebody locked up for this and now. We know that there are many people, 16 of them, who are involved in this thing because of muti.

“People wanted to burn a tavern last week but waited to see what government would do to help us. We are still waiting but we want to know.’’

A team from the provincial public safety ministry remains in place in the town, a regional hub in northern KwaZulu-Natal for sugarcane and other agricultural production.

Sipho Khumalo, spokesperson for the ministry, said no new incidents of violence had taken place since the intervention on Friday.

Read: Burnt bones found behind priest’s home, community baying for blood

The discovery of the little boy’s corpse sparked a week of anarchy in the township, and it spilled over into the town itself when residents blocked the road in protest against the arrest of 15 of their peers for public violence.

Angry residents had earlier torched the St John’s Apostolic Church, baying for the blood of its bishop and a local woman whose house they also firebombed.

The church that was set alight by the community. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

The local courthouse was also damaged in a petrol bomb attack in retaliation for the arrest of 14 residents held after the attack on the church. Roads were blockaded with rocks and debris from the burned church while residents fought a series of skirmishes with police.

On Friday acting premier Peggy Nkonyeni and members of her cabinet met residents to convince them to stop burning facilities and allow the police to do their jobs.

Their intervention – and promises from the local council that RDP houses they had been waiting for since 2003 would be fast-tracked – seem to have stemmed the fresh wave of anger generated by the release of the 51-year-old priest, whose house was still under police guard this morning.

Nkosi is understood to have left town yesterday.

Deputy Science and Technology Minister and NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, who served as mayor of the Zululand District under which Pongola falls for several terms, visited the Ntuli family yesterday and held a prayer service for them.

SAPS spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane told City Press this morning that no arrests had been made and that investigations were progressing. He said the priest had been released because of insufficient evidence against him.

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