Limpopo brothers stoned to death in alleged mob justice attack

2020-01-29 10:57
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Two brothers were stoned to death by community members who suspected them to be involved in the disappearance of a resident of the Letebejane village near Groblersdal, Limpopo. 

According to provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, police at Rakgoadi have arrested eight suspects - four men and four women - in connection with the murder of the two brothers. 

READ | Eight arrested for allegedly hacking man to death in mob justice incident

The incident allegedly took place on Monday at around 17:00 and the suspects were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"According to the preliminary police investigations, the brutal attacks followed an incident that occurred last year on June 13 when a 23-year-old man, Peter 'Mapito' Phathlamohlaka, allegedly disappeared while fishing in the Olifants River with the two brothers, Lukas Seloma, 46, and Willem Seloma, 47, together with another group of men. The police were notified about the incident and a search operation by the search-and-rescue team was conducted without a success," Mojapelo said. 

A missing person file was then opened and police continued with their investigations and search operation.

Two weeks ago, on January 13, when the police were continuing their investigations, local community members allegedly mobilised and attacked the two brothers at their homes. The brothers were accused of being involved in the disappearance of the missing man.

"The Public Order Police Unit (POP) was activated and the situation was stabilised. A case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm was opened and no one was arrested. Police continued with the tracing of the suspects."

On Thursday, the community gathered again and "went on a rampage" by barricading streets and removing learners from schools, demanding that the two brothers inform them of the whereabouts of Phahlamohlaka, Mojapelo said. 

'Stoned to death'

"The unrest continued until [Monday] night, when community members allegedly dragged the brothers to the nearby mountain and stoned them to death.

"Police and the medical emergency services were called following a tip-off and responded quickly. A police helicopter was also called. On arrival at the scene, they made the gruesome discovery of the two bodies covered with tree branches. [The community members] apparently wanted to torch them. The crowd had dispersed."

POP members were deployed in the area to monitor the situation.

"The suspects aged between 19 and 44 are expected to appear in Motetema Magistrate's Court on Thursday, facing two counts of murder and public violence."

The provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba, has condemned the killing of the two brothers and has warned that the police will be relentless in their pursuit of any remaining suspects.

"The police will continue to deal mercilessly with each and every person who resorts to taking the law into their own hands," said Ledwaba.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the remaining suspects involved in this matter, to contact Detective Warrant Officer Malose Mothokoa on 060 996 0066, or the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111, or the nearest police station. 

Read more on:    polokwane  |  mob violence  |  crime
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