Mpumalanga chief under police guard following attack on her home

2016-02-02 19:20
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Komatipoort - A Mpumalanga chief is living under police guard after community members attacked her home demanding that she confess to ordering the abduction of a 3-year-old girl who went missing last October.

Tonga police spokesperson Lieutenant Mzwandile Nyambi told African Eye News Service that 22 people arrested in connection with the attack on Chief Khulile Mkhatshwa would appear in court on Friday.

"We are monitoring the chief's home after the attack to ensure that she is safe and that nothing else happens to her.

"We arrested 22 people for public violence and malicious damage to property. They appeared in the Tonga Magistrate's Court on January 26 and they were released on warning. They will appear again on Friday 5 February."

Nyambi said the attack happened between January 24 and 25 when angry residents blocked a road in Mgobodzi village near the border with Swaziland and Mozambique.

The residents threw stones and other objects at the chief's house, smashing windows.

Community leader Maria Mahlalela said the community believed the chief was involved in the girl's disappearance.

"We're tired of the chief. People die and some disappear, but there is nothing she is doing to investigate the cause of the problem. Since the child disappeared, she has not come forward to provide a solution.

"What the community knows is that a certain church bishop had the baby killed and offered her body to the chief for a ritual. We organised a meeting with the bishop, but waited in vain, which led the community to become angry."

Mahlalela said they would not rest until they found out what had happened to the child.

Chief Khulile's spokesperson, Sakhane Mkhatshwa, a headman at the Mawewe Tribal Authority, said they were shocked that the community could suspect the chief of involvement in the child’s disappearance.

"We don't know what is going on with the community members. We were shocked when residents from Mgobodzi area came to the chief's house chanting and attacking her. The chief doesn't know the whereabouts of the 3-year-old baby girl.

"We remain shocked... I would like to appeal to the community to work together with the chief and the police instead of resorting to violence," said the headman.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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