Five deny fatal N3 attack

2009-09-02 00:00

THREE men and two juveniles pleaded not guilty in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday to an attack on three hitch-hikers on the N3 near the Church Street off­ramp on April 2 last year.

One of the victims was killed in the attack.

The trial is being heard in camera because two of the accused claim they are 17. The other accused are Msizi Luthuli (18) , Thulani Zuma (25) and Bongani Mbhele (25), all of Pietermaritzburg.

The accused, through their lawyers, denied involvement in the murder of an informal trader from Estcourt, Ntomboxolo Zongile, and to robbing her and her two companions, Elizabeth Ndimande and Samuel Ntshalintshali, who apparently hitch-hiked to Pietermaritzburg to buy clothing and other goods to sell.

All the accused claim to have been elsewhere at the time.

The state alleges that the accused and other assailants planned to rob people along the N3. They were armed with knives and a firearm.

At about 8 pm, siblings Ntshalintshali and Ndimande and Zongile alighted on the N3. The attackers rushed towards them, causing them to flee.

Ntshalintshali and Ndimande were caught and robbed of money, cellphones and other personal items, and escaped with their lives.

Zongile was stabbed several times and died at the scene.

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