Slain nurse latest in string of murders

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The roadside discovery on Monday of the naked body of a Mpumalanga student nurse has prompted Bushbuckridge mayor Milton Morema to urge community policing forums to redouble their efforts to curb crime in the area.

The student nurse, Debra Silinda, of Thulamahashe near Bushbuckridge, was a first-year student at the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic and her body was discovered with marks that could have been inflicted by a sjambok.

"She might have been murdered on Sunday night before her naked body was thrown in the grass next to the road between Bushbuckridge and Marite, where a passerby made the discovery shortly after midday on Monday," said Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe of the Mopani police yesterday.

Police said the victim might have first been raped but stressed that only the autopsy results would be able to confirm this.

No arrests have been made and police have called on anyone with information to contact their nearest police station.

Nelspruit Medi-Clinic spokesman, Robin Freathy, was shocked to learn about the murder of Silinda, one of their nursing students.

"We are very shocked and filled with great sadness that we have lost, not only an employee, but a sister to us all and a nursing student with a great future ahead of her," Freathy said yesterday.

Silinda's murder coincided with that of Raymond Sibiya and Nonhlanhla Mnisi in their house at the nearby Mkhuhlu Trust.

The couple were shot dead in their sleep, but people who heard gunshots said they heard gunfire almost every night.

No one has been arrested for the murders and police investigations continue.

Both incidents occurred three weeks after the murder of Advice Mashaba of Songeni village near Bushbuckridge.

Mashaba's mutilated body was discovered in a makeshift grave at the home of police inspector, Richard Mathebula, brother of the arrested suspect, Mandla Mathebula, who is expected to appear in the Mhala magistrates' court today.