VIP Protection Unit cop from Eastern Cape in court for triple murder

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  • An Eastern Cape police officer is appearing in court on Monday in connection with a triple murder.
  • The man allegedly fatally shot a pastor, a church member and a traditional leader over a land dispute.
  • The conflict started over a piece of land belonging to the church, which the suspect had "borrowed".

An Eastern Cape police officer is appearing in court on Monday after he allegedly gunned down a pastor, a church member and a traditional leader, following a heated dispute over a piece of land belonging to the church.

A fourth person survived the attack.

The shooting spree occurred last Wednesday in Centane in the Eastern Cape. 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) confirmed it was investigating a triple murder, as well as one attempted murder case. 

According to IPID, the suspected shooter is a Warrant Officer attached to the SAPS' elite VIP Protection Unit in Mthatha. 

In a statement, the directorate said the officer had allegedly "borrowed" a piece of land from the headman, who attended the same church as him. 

The land belongs to the church, and the conflict started when it started building a church hall on the same piece of land.

It is alleged that the officer went to the church and confronted the pastor over the developments on the land, before fatally shooting him and another church member.

IPID said another person who was at the scene, survived the attack. 

READ | Eastern Cape cop sentenced to life for killing policeman boyfriend over love triangle

According to IPID, the officer then went to the home of the headman to confront him, before he allegedly fatally shot him as well.

The police watchdog added that the officer was expected to apply for bail on Monday when he appears in the Centane Magistrate's Court. The State has indicated that it will oppose bail.

"IPID continues with the investigation process of this case, the investigator will attend the post-mortem to be conducted in Butterworth today. His firearm has been confiscated and taken for ballistic analysis already," said IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola.  

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