Release of sixth Ngcobo accused could hamper investigation, court hears

2018-03-01 18:30
Crowds gathered outside the church cheer as bodies of deceased gunmen are removed by the police forensics team. (Supplied SAPS)

Crowds gathered outside the church cheer as bodies of deceased gunmen are removed by the police forensics team. (Supplied SAPS)

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Ngcobo – A sixth person arrested in connection with the murder of five police officers and a soldier in Ngcobo, can expect fierce opposition to his release on bail, the Ngcobo Magistrate's Court has heard.

According to prosecutor Nomapa Mvandaba, releasing the sixth accused of bail could affect the investigation.

"There is a lot of evidence concealed at this stage. Investigations are pending and can be hampered by his release," she said.

She did not divulge any further details.

The sixth accused, who cannot be identified until the identification parade is conducted, appeared in court on Thursday.

While it was previously reported that the man was being investigated for the unlawful possession of a firearm, it emerged in court that he is being investigated for the murders as well.

The man, who was arrested on Tuesday at the controversial Seven Angels Ministry, faces five counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

READ: We feel powerless - CRL on Seven Angels Ministry

He was brought to the dock by an armed police officer.

Magistrate Nozuko Mviko postponed the case to March 8 for further investigation and to give the man an opportunity to apply for legal representation from Legal Aid South Africa.

On Monday, four men aged between 19 and 30 appeared in the same court in connection with the shooting. Their identities also cannot be revealed until the identity parade is held.

A fifth suspect, who was arrested later, appeared in court on Tuesday, Eastern Cape Hawks spokesperson Anelisa Feni told News24.

The arrests came after attackers entered Ngcobo police station, situated between Mthatha and Queenstown, on Wednesday, February 21, killing the police officers and soldier.

The Seven Angels Ministry, a church just outside Ngcobo, came into the spotlight a few days later on Saturday, when seven people suspected of being involved in the murders, were shot dead.

Newly-appointed Minister of Police Bheki Cele told the National Assembly on Wednesday that the five suspects confessed that they had conspired to rob the Capitec Bank ATM opposite the police station and had identified the police station as a place to get firearms.

All six of the suspects were expected back in court on March 8.

Read more on:    east london  |  crime  |  ngcobo massacre

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