Berserk villagers kill suspected thief

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Residents of Bolobedu near Tzaneen stoned a man to death after accusing him of being a thief.

The residents went berserk on Sunday and launched a manhunt for criminals they claimed had been terrorising them for many years.

The police identified the dead man as Solly Baloyi, 30, of Madumane village in the Bolobedu South area. He lived in Mawa Block 12, where he was training to be a sangoma.

Residents responded to a call for help after a group of men broke into a house and allegedly stole electric appliances.

A few days earlier two security guards at the Mawa Clinic were raped, allegedly by the same group of thugs.

On Sunday villagers searched for the perpetrators and apprehended a 29-year-old man who allegedly revealed the names of his accomplices to them.

Armed with stones, sticks, hoes and spades, the villagers attacked Baloyi in the street.

Bolobedu police spokesman Freddy Maenetja said yesterday: "When we arrived on the scene we found a pile of stones near the man's lifeless body.

"No one was on the scene but we later arrested a badly wounded man suspected of taking part in the crime."

About the rapes Maenetja said: "We have arrested two men of Mokgwathi village in connection with the rape of the two female guards.

"We are still looking for two other suspects from the same village and 34-year-old man from Mohlabaneng village.

"They are also alleged to have taken part in the rape.

"We were told the men had approached the female guards while they were on duty and attacked them.

"The guards fled to the clinic's boarding house but the men followed them there, broke down the door and dragged the women into the nearby bushes.

They took turns to rape them."