Two women stripped naked, set alight after missing boy's body found in river

Three houses that were set alight in a suspected mob justice attack in Limpopo (Supplied)
Three houses that were set alight in a suspected mob justice attack in Limpopo (Supplied)

Limpopo police on Saturday condemned the murder of two women in an apparent mob justice attack that followed the discovery of a missing boy's body in a river.

The boy, 12-year-old Thabelo Muila, was reported missing on June 10 after he disappeared while playing with his friends.

His body was retrieved from a river around the Ha-Mashau village at around 10:00 on Friday, said Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo. He said residents gathered to discuss this and mobilised at around 22:00 that evening.

"[They] attacked the two women with various objects, stripped them naked before setting them alight."

Police and medical emergency staff responded to frantic calls made from the area and when they arrived, they found that the women had been badly burnt.

"One woman was certified dead on the scene whereas another died later in hospital. When the police arrived at the scene, the crowd had already dispersed," said Mojapelo.

Preliminary investigation revealed that after the attack, the crowd proceeded to a yard owned by a 79-year-old man and burned all three of his houses.

He managed to escape without injury.

The women were identified as Hulumeni Sarah Masiagwala, 66, and Mudziwa Esther, whose age was not known. They were both from Matsindevhe village.

Police were investigating two cases of murder, arson and an inquest.

Mojapelo said public order police were deployed to the area to monitor the situation.

Two suspects, aged 16 and 17, were arrested on Saturday afternoon and more arrests were expected.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba condemned the incident.

"The police will continue to deal mercilessly with every person who resorts to taking the law into their own hands. Community members are warned to refrain from these heinous acts and they should instead co-operate with the police."

Anyone who has information that could lead to the arrest of other suspects, can contact Detective Warrant Officer Mudogwa Mutshutshu on 072 107 6731, Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or the nearest police station.

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