Three burnt to death in separate mob justice incidents in Eastern Cape

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Two men estimated to be around 30 years old were murdered by groups of people on Tuesday and Wednesday in separate vigilante attacks in the Eastern Cape. 

Provincial police spokesperson Captain André Beetge said on Wednesday morning at about 04:50 police and ambulance services were alerted to a partially naked man lying in Sakhuba Street, Zwide after he was attacked by a group of people.

"His hands and feet were bound in wire and there was a rope around his neck. He had multiple injuries owing to being severely assaulted with unknown objects or weapons. His body was partially burnt and he was wearing blue pants and a green shirt," Beetge said. 

This followed an unrelated incident on Tuesday where the burnt body of another was found in a stormwater channel behind Mboniselo Primary School in Mandela Village, Ikamvelihle at about 09:30.

"The victim's hands were bound behind his back and his body covered in injuries from a severe assault by a group of unknown suspects. His body was also burnt using flammable objects. Both victims' identities remain unknown."

Read: Spike in vigilante killings in Port Elizabeth - says the police

Mob justice suspects arrested

In the meantime, a crack police detective team dealing with vigilante attack murders arrested five suspects on Tuesday night in Kwazakele. They have been linked to the murder of 23-year-old Sinethemba Gwatya on July 29. He was murdered by a group of suspects after they severely assaulted him and then set his body alight using tyres.

The five suspects, which include four men aged between 32 and 47 years old and a 37-year-old woman, were detained at New Brighton police station.

A group of community members gathered at the gates of the police station on Thursday morning demanding their release, but after Public Order Police intervention, the group dispersed again by noon. The suspects will be appearing before the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Thursday to face charges of murder.

The Motherwell cluster commander, Major General Dawie Rabie, applauded the arrests and repeated the warning that "The SAPS cannot allow communities to take the law into their own hands by becoming a community of killers and killing persons in the streets. Any person taking part in such activities will be arrested and charged with murder."

Any person that can assist police in these murder cases can contact Detective Lieutenant Colonel Marlize Dippenaar at 082 457 2507.

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