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Ex-convict kills then burns uncles

By Mhlaba Memela | Jun 03, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

MUSA Mngoma, 30, of Bhamushela in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was released from jail on parole four months ago into the care of the uncles he was convicted of assaulting.

MUSA Mngoma, 30, of Bhamushela in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was released from jail on parole four months ago into the care of the uncles he was convicted of assaulting.

On Monday night he allegedly tied up his uncles, hacked them and then set their home alight, allegedly while they were still alive.

Thandanani Mngoma and his brother Siyabonga were heard screaming for help but residents could not reach them in time through the petrol-fuelled blaze.

Musa then allegedly went on an arson spree, setting alight another neighbour's house and two vehicles parked nearby.

The murder has shocked the fiercely traditional and rural community, where elderly people are highly respected.

The two victims were "hardworking family men who would never harm a fly," shocked residents, who gathered at the burnt out shell of the family's five-roomed stone home, said yesterday.

Thandanani's partner Nokuthula Mnyandu is the only survivor of the attack. She managed to get out of the burning house by jumping through a window.

Mnyandu is deaf and used sign language to tell neighbours how her boyfriend and his brother were assaulted, tied up, hacked and died in the burning house.

Mnyandu said she escaped while the nephew (Musa) was attacking her husband and his brother.

The suspect's cousin, Thulani Mngoma, said his cousin was "seeking revenge for what had happened in February".

"He was arrested for assaulting my uncles. He was released on parole. He never visited them but last night he tied them up and burnt them to death."

Thandiwe Mzobe cried uncontrollably as she recalled the brutal way in which her brothers died.

"I can't believe my brothers died at the hands of my sister's child," she said. "My brother signed for him to get parole after he was jailed for assaulting them. What makes it more painful is that Bongani leaves behind a 10-year-old child."

She said her niece, Thobekile, had been staying with her for the night and had escaped the slaughter.

Traditional leaders and the community are furious.

"We thought prison had changed him. We will hunt him down," they vowed.

The family said Musa had a history of arson attacks.

Last year he allegedly fled from Umlazi after trying to kill his mother in a similar manner. Police have called on the community not to take the law into their own hands while trying to apprehend him.

"We need the community to help us. This is a serious case. We will call in police forensic reinforcements from Pretoria to assist us in the investigation. We appeal to the community not to approach the suspect but to leave it to the police," said local police head Commissioner Jabulani Ndawonde.

He said the police were investigating two charges of murder as well as arson and damage to property.

MEC for social development Meshack Hadebe has sent social workers to assess the situation and to counsel those involved.

"The child is our main priority," Mzobe said.

"We want to ensure that she is taken care of. We want to make sure that she is safe and is allowed to carry on with her studies.

"We also hope the police will arrest Musa. He must spend the rest of his life behind bars."


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