Killing fields suspect freed

Charges against a man accused of parti-cipating in the murder of 10 KwaZulu-Natal women were withdrawn in the Umzinto magistrate's court yesterday.

Charges against a man accused of parti-cipating in the murder of 10 KwaZulu-Natal women were withdrawn in the Umzinto magistrate's court yesterday.

The state has withdrawn its charges against Zandisile Bhadla Somanikiniki, 28, of Majola, Port St Johns. No reasons were given for the withdrawal.

The court heard that the remaining two accused had failed to apply for bail. Magistrate Giel van Aarde has granted the state's application for the case to be heard in camera.

However, during the state's application for the in-camera proceedings, state prosecutor Advocate Noxolo Tokwana said the state had withdrawn its charges against accused number two (Somanikiniki).

Somanikiniki appeared in the Eastern Cape's Libode magistrate's court on Monday on charges of a double murder, murder and armed robbery. Superintendent Leonie Verster, head of the Eastern Cape's Organised Crime Unit, said on Tuesday that Somanikiniki appeared at the Libode court for armed robbery and the murder of Inspector Sithembiso Bavuma at the Libode police station on September 1 last year.

The accused also appeared on a double murder charge for allegedly killing his girlfriend and an unnamed man in August last year. Verster said the case was remanded until November 7. Somanikiniki is also wanted for two more cases in the Eastern Cape, three cases in Welkom and a few cases in Rustenburg.

In the two Eastern Cape cases, Verster said the man was implicated in an armed robbery that took place in August 2006, and a murder warrant had been executed for him in a fourth case that took place in 2004.

"For the 2004 case, he will appear at the Umtata Supreme Court on October 22," she said.

Somanikiniki was arrested in KZN after being linked as an accomplice in the murder of 10 women, whose decomposed bodies were found in the sugarcane fields surrounding Umzinto's Shayamoya township .

The case of the remaining two suspects was postponed to November 9. - Sapa

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