Burnt body in shallow grave shock for villagers

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

The discovery of the burnt body of a villager in a shallow grave yesterday shocked residents of a village in Limpopo.

The dead man, Albert Nkoko, 55, of GaSeema village in GaMatlala, west of Polokwane, reportedly quarrelled with another villager about donkeys on Friday.

Police said yesterday that the two men had allegedly exchanged blows in the bushes until Nkoko was beaten unconscious.

Police suspect that the other man could have used an object "to finish him off".

Inspector Babsana Baloyi, spokesman for the police at Ga-Matlala, said the suspect went back home after the alleged incident and kept it to himself.

"On Monday the suspect went back to the scene and found Nkoko's corpse still lying there. He allegedly dug the shallow grave and buried Nkoko's body," Baloyi said.

"After putting Nkoko's body in the shallow grave, the suspect allegedly put some firewood on top of the body and set it on fire."

Baloyi said the gruesome incident took place in bushes a few kilometres from the village.

A shepherd who had taken his cattle there for grazing yesterday was surprised when his dogs started digging at the spot where the soil appeared to have been tampered with.

"The shepherd, who is also from GaSeema, said he ignored the dogs at first, but when they insisted [on digging] he thought something was wrong," Baloyi said.

"He helped the dogs and when he discovered there was a burnt body, he ran to tell people in village."

Villagers went to the scene and were shocked to find Nkoko's remains.

Police were alerted and a massive investigation started.

"The investigation led to the arrest of a 59-year-old suspect, who lives in the same village," said Baloyi.

"Nkoko's body was exhumed and taken to the government mortuary in Polokwane for a postmortem."

Baloyi said Nkoko had lived alone.

He had relatives in Semorishi.