Triple murder shocks Tsomo villagers
While a Tsomo family was battling to come to terms with the brutal killing of two family members and a neighbour who were found floating in a river, manacled with chains, a group of church women in Mthatha marched to demand an end to gender-based violence on Sunday.
Police said 71-year-old gogo Buyelwa Malila, Asemahle Mtsorha, 16, and Athenkosi Zondi, 17, were last seen on Sunday night December 1 at their quiet Lower Tsojana village home.
The family was adamant that the three were abducted and killed by a relative, who then threw their bodies into the Mhlahlane River near Tsomo. They were found by a shepherd on Saturday. But police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni could not confirm the family link.
Asemahle was Malila's grandchild, and Athenkosi was a neighbour who had visited the home to watch television and ended up sleeping over.
Mdleleni said no arrests had been made yet. She said three cases of murder and kidnapping had been opened.
Family member Jongintaba Matomane said police had recovered a car in bushes near Nobhokhwe village, which was believed to be connected to the crime and belonged to a relative. However, Mdleleni would not confirm any link to the car.
Neighbours who visited the scene reported to Nosandla Malila, Buyelwa's sister-in-law, that the home had been ransacked.
Nosandla said a dress belonging to the granny had been found on the gravel road across from her home after news started doing the rounds that she may have been kidnapped.
“Buyelwa was very quiet. She was an old lady. They found her bedroom and living room ransacked. We still don't know what really happened.”
Malila's son, Bondani Malila, could not be reached.
On Sunday, Matomane said he had heard that police were tracking down a family member.
Matomane said: “I got a call on the morning of their disappearance and we were told they had disappeared. Ever since then we've been hearing different stories, but above all, the common story is that a family member, whose car was seen at the homestead on that day, did this.”
“Police found his car with a dent hidden in bushes in Nobhokhwe. Police are looking for him. He's in hiding.”
Matomane said the community had been alerted by a five-year-old child who had gone to the homestead to buy a lollipop.
Describing the grandmother, a family member said: “She had no issue with any person in the community. She lived her life. That a five-year-old child could alert the community tells you a story about her. She loved children.”
In Mthatha, about 100 members of the Anglican Church's mothers union embarked on a peaceful but sombre march appealing for divine intervention to curb gender-base violence, moral decay and other social ills.
The prayer-walk by the St Johns Collegiate Church mothers' guild in Mthatha was part of their 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children.
The women in their church attire walked through Mthatha, singing hymns and quoting Bible verses. More women joined them, bringing traffic to a standstill.
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