Mob kills two suspected robbers, police save third

2008-05-22 00:00

Residents in the crime-infested low-cost housing area of France vented their anger by beating two young men to death on Wednesday night after they were suspected of terrorising the residents.

The mob attack on the men who were suspected of a string of crimes, such as break-ins and attempted murders, happened at about 10 pm.

It followed a meeting at the local soccer ground earlier where a woman is believed to have identified three men as the main perpetrators of crime in the area, said police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram.

After the meeting, people marched to the suspects’ homes. They found the three men fast asleep, dragged them out of their homes, and beat two of them to death.

Police identified the victims as Mfundo Mncwabe (21) and his best friend, Thokozani Mtolo (19).

The third man, known only as Sbhamu (Gun), was saved when he was arrested by the Police Dog Unit.

Mfundo’s mother, Thembisile Mncwabe (51), was still shaken when The Witness visited her France house. The crowd had promised to return her son after interrogating him about his involvement in crime.

“We were all asleep when we heard a knock on the door. The crowd of about 20 people said they were looking for Mfundo.

“Mfundo woke up and dressed. He told me that he had done nothing wrong.

“A few minutes after they had left, [Thokozani’s] mother arrived, and we both called the police. Later police told us that one of the children had been killed,” said Mncwabe.

Residents said all three friends had just been released from prison. Mfundo was released on April 18. His mother said he had been sentenced for assault.

A resident who witnessed the murder of the two friends said the mob recovered stolen TVs, DVD player and other electrical appliances from the suspects’ houses before the beating.

The Witness understands that the murder of the two friends is a culmination of anger in the community after a robbery and attempted murder on Monday night as well as the robbery of a local elderly woman’s house the following night.

“The meeting was held after a man was shot in the head by robbers who came into his house to demand his DVD, TV and cellphone on Tuesday night. When the man refused to comply they shot him in the head before taking his belongings. He is still in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

“On Tuesday an elderly woman was asleep with her two grandchildren when criminals broke in, ate all the food in the pots before stealing her TV and other items,” said the source.

On Wednesday night the community held the mass meeting, and took a decision to deal with crime.

“People first went to Sbhamu’s house. He refused to open the door. Some people climbed on top of the house and removed the roof while others waited at the door for him to escape. When he tried to escape they apprehended him, and forced him to point where his other friends were,” said another source.

Thokozani was hacked, stoned, and stabbed to death on the soccer field, while Mfundo was killed in a similar way a few kilometres away. Bloodied clothes and piles of stones in the places they were murdered, were evidence yesterday of the previous night’s rampage.

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