Suspect appears for Coffee Bay cop killing

Image: FILE

One of six men arrested for allegedly killing 26-year-old police constable Lonwabo Soga in Coffee Bay made a brief appearance in the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Bonginkosi Ndevu, 27, is facing charges of murder, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Soga was killed on December 3.

Ndevu was arrested on January 15 at Qunu near Mthatha through an intelligence-driven operation conducted by the Hawks’ serious organised crime unit, crime intelligence and the tactical response team.

The case was postponed to January 22 for it to be joined to those of the other five accused who are facing the same charges.

Hawks provincial spokesperson captain Anelisa Ngcakani said Ndevu was the sixth suspect arrested for the murder.

Four suspects — Afika Bavu, 21, Afikile Nabo, 27, Xhantilomzi Ntshinga, 27, and Lubabalo Hlomendlini, 37 — were arrested on December 6.

Hlomendlini was arrested in Mqanduli and the others in Mthatha.

The fifth accused, Anela Pencil, 31, was arrested on December 1 at Madwaleni Hospital in Elliotdale.

Ngcakani said during the arrest of the first four accused, police recovered six unlicensed firearms including Soga’s service pistol and ammunition.

An assortment of police equipment including handcuffs, a reflector jacket and hand radio were also found during the arrests.

At the time of the incident, Soga and constable Siyabonga Nani, 41 were  on duty and attending a complaint in Coffee Bay when they were approached by six men in a white Isuzu double cab.

''It is further alleged the suspects pretended as though they needed assistance from the police,''  Ngcakani said.

Soga, the driver of the police vehicle, was approached by two men while Nani was approached by another two as he sat on the passenger’s side, she said.

''One of the suspects standing at the passenger’s side allegedly drew his firearm and shot at Soga, who died instantly.

“The suspects allegedly then ordered Nani, who was not armed, to remove the body of constable Soga from the driver’s seat to the back of the state vehicle.

“Constable Nani was then allegedly forced to get inside the back of the state vehicle.

“The suspects allegedly drove the state vehicle to a nearby shop where a security guard was forced to open the gate, seeing it was a police vehicle,'' Ngcakani said.

It is alleged the suspects went to the shop owner’s house and demanded R3,000, liquor and tobacco.

''The suspects then allegedly fled the crime scene with the shop owner’s Nissan Navara, which they abandoned on the way to Mqanduli.

“The state vehicle was left at the crime scene with Constable Nani and the body of Soga locked at the back,'' Ngcakani said. ​