Sun Oct 22 13:53:39 SAST 2017
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'Pastor wants me dead'

By Zoe Mahopo | 2017-04-18 11:23:36.0

Florence Mpya outside of her tavern which was looted and damaged Picture: Zoe Mahopo

Residents of a Limpopo village are angry after a pastor allegedly launched a violent attack on locals, leaving 15 people badly injured and a few properties, including a tavern, damaged.

Yesterday, Florence Mpya, who owns a tavern situated next to the church in Mukhumela village outside Senwabarwana, said she was forced to hide inside a wardrobe after they were attacked on Sunday night.

Mpya said a group of more than 40 people, believed to be congregants of the church, came armed with pangas and forcefully entered her yard on Sunday. She said when the mob started throwing stones, some people at the tavern ran into the house to seek refuge.

"I was afraid because they kept on saying that their pastor wants me dead. I don't feel safe here anymore. I don't even know where I'm going to sleep tonight [last night]," she said.

When Sowetan visited the area yesterday, the windows and doors of Mpya's house had all been broken. Broken glass, pots and furniture were all over the floor.

Mpya said she believed the pastor and his congregants were behind the attacks because they always complained that her tavern, which is situated next to the church, was disturbing their services.

She said this was unfair as her tavern started operating in 2008 and the church only came three years later.

Some of the people who were assaulted claimed that they were dragged into the church yard, bound with ropes and threatened with a gun.

Bartlet Nkwadi, whose mouth was swollen from the alleged beating, said the electricity went off and people started throwing stones into the yard.

Nkwadi said he did not know why they were being attacked.

"But we know it is that pastor's people. We don't want that church anymore," he said.



Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said they were investigating a series of cases after conflicts between a church group and a group from a local tavern.

Ngoepe said the cases include attempted murder, malicious damage to property and assault. He said two firearms were seized but no arrests had been made.