BY SILAS NKALA POLICE in Matabeleland South province have launched a manhunt for 22 villagers alleged to have kidnapped and assaulted fellow villagers whom they accused of stocktheft.
This was revealed in a Gwanda Tuli police internal memorandum dated April 3 which was leaked to the Southern Eye yesterday.
The memo identifies the complainants as Godwill Ndlovu (36), Justice Ncube (late), Mirriam Ndlovu (28), Letwin Maphosa (38), Shanisani Dube (29), Patricia Dube (36) and Darlington Dube (32) all of John West, Gwanda area under Chief Marupi in Matabeleland South.
Police identified the suspects as Tiiso Nkala (45), Mujaji Sebata (46), Noble Mahlangu (36), Muzi Ncube (36), Mthandazo Mahlangu (50), Mphilo Ndlovu (46), Jacob Dube, Philani Moyo (38) and Freeman Mlauzi, Phathisani Manyike, Obert Moyo, Degree Ndlovu, Foresure Ndlovu, Lovemore Nyathi, Polite Kukubell, Tsibo Noko, Owen Nyathi, Prince Nyathi, Carlison Mahlangu, Trinity Masiyane, Obert Moyo and Tisetso Nkala whose ages were not given, and are all from the Guyu area in Gwanda South.
The police memo states that on March 31, 11 Motswana nationals arrived at Chief Wardeener’s homestead and told Prince Nyathi that they were looking for nine stolen donkeys suspected to be in the area.
“Nyathi invited Mathias Ncube, the chairperson of Gwanda Anti Stock Theft Association. He informed him of the presence of Tswanas and the purpose of their visit,” the police memo read.
“Ncube mobilised Obert Moyo and Celani Ncube among 21 villagers who then teamed up with the Tswanas to track and recover the donkeys and they went to John West village using Obert and Celani’s vehicles and arrived at 2am on April 1.
“They located Godwin and Justice at Prince Dube’s homestead (a well-known stock thief) and they recovered 11 donkeys penned at the homestead. Three of the recovered donkeys were identified to be of Alphios Mahlangu’s, while Motswana nationals identified two donkeys,” the memo said.
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The gang allegedly handcuffed Godwin and Justice and led them to Mirriam’s homestead whom they suspected to be one of the thieves.
“On arrival, they damaged a window pane and broke the main door to gain entry into the house. They stole R3 000 and damaged property is worth R500,” the police said.
The group was then allegedly led to Letwin’s home where they damaged window panes and forced open the door before they damaged the refrigerator, wardrobe, sofa and cupboards and stole R6 500. The damaged property was valued at R17 500.
Police said the accused later went to Partricia’s home where they damaged property worth R500. At Darlington’s home, they damaged 30 window panes, two beds, four speakers and a kitchen unit all valued at R6 900.
“On their way back, John West villagers followed and attacked them. During the attack, John West villagers assaulted two Motswana nationals and accused one and four (Tiiso) and (Muzi) and recovered the donkeys, but the accused took with them Godwin and Justice to Mashaba area,” the memo added.
“The matter was reported at Nhwali Police Base and police picked Tiiso who had a wound on the back. He was taken to Nhwali Clinic for treatment and released… On April 3, Tuli police went to Guyu Police where they got a list of the accused persons involved in this case.”
The memo says Godwin was assaulted and injured by the gang and had to be taken to Gwanda Hospital for treatment, while Justice was allegedly assaulted with sjambocks, sticks, and he succumbed to the beatings. Police say his body was taken to Gwanda mortuary for postmortem.
The accused persons are still at large, hence the manhunt.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena referred Southern Eye to national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, who confirmed the matter.
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