Three shot after stick fight at traditional ceremony

2016-03-27 12:10
(File, News24)

(File, News24)

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Pomeroy, KwaZulu-Natal - The loser of a traditional stick fight and his friend allegedly went on a shooting rampage at the weekend, killing the winner of the fight, his relative and wounding an innocent bystander.

KwaZulu-Natal police said on Sunday that two people have been arrested for separate, but related, shootings on Friday and Saturday in Pomeroy, about 200km north of Durban.

Major Thulani Zwane said it all started with a traditional stick fight at a homestead on Pomeroy on Friday where Mbangiseni Gabela, 49, was shot at an umemulo - a traditional Zulu coming-of-age ceremony for women.

"Gabela was at [the] function at [a] homestead at Pomeroy when he had a stick fight with the suspect. The victim won the fight and the suspect left the function," Zwane said.

"Later on the same day, the suspect came back with a firearm and allegedly shot and killed the victim. A bystander was also shot and wounded by a stray bullet and was taken to hospital for treatment."

The alleged gunman fled the scene on foot. 

Then on Saturday morning, a second man - a relative of the stick fight winner who was killed - was gunned down when he visited the mourning family.

"At about 06:50, 60-year-old Bonokwakhe Gabela was shot and killed in what appeared to be a revenge [attack] in the same area while visiting the family of the deceased. Both victims are related and all from the same area."

While at the scene, police received a tip-off on the whereabouts of the two men believed to be involved in the cases.

"The suspect linked to Friday's murder and attempted murder case was arrested and found in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

"The second suspect linked to the killing on Saturday was also arrested in the area and was found in possession of a .38 revolver suspected to be used in the killing of [the] old man," Zwane said.

"Both recovered firearms will be sent for ballistic tests to establish if they were used in any other crimes in the province."

The suspects, aged 25 and 32, will be charged separately for the murders as well as possession of an unlicensed gun and ammunition. 

The pair was expected to appear in the Pomeroy Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

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