Five killed in faction clashes

THE situation remained tense in the rural area of Ngudwini in Eshowe yesterday after faction fights that claimed five lives on Sunday afternoon.

The situation is so tense that when a car drives past some of the homesteads, people run away.

When Sowetan visited the area yesterday, most of the villagers had abandoned their homesteads.

Police helicopters were hovering over the nearby hilltops to monitor the situation.

Ngudwini is synonymous with faction fighting dating back decades.

In one of the homesteads, where a family member was killed, we found young men sitting around the yard carrying spears to protect themselves.

Of the five people that were killed, two were from the Mthethwa faction, under Inkosi Nkosinathi Zulu, while the other three were from Mankanganeni, under Inkosi Biyela.

Local headman Banzi Mthethwa said his brother Mziwabantu was shot by men from Mankanganeni.

He said the tension started in November last year.

This led to Biyela, Zulu and Mthethwa holding several meetings to resolve the conflicts.

Mthethwa said after three meetings, the situation appeared to calm down and he returned to Durban, where he works.

But he said on Sunday a group of 12 men from his area tried to cross the boundary at Ntinda, which leads to the Mankanganeni area, and were attacked.

"That's how the shooting started. My brother Mziwabantu and another man, Dumisani Mavimbela, were killed," Mthethwa said.

"I don't know how many people were killed from the other side.

"But at the moment, the situation is tense and I doubt if it will return to normal soon."

He said his brother will be buried today because they feared another attack.

A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the faction fights had made them prisoners in their own homes.

Provincial police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said members of the public order policing unit had been deployed in the area to monitor the situation.

"Our members will be there until we are certain that the situation is under control and has returned to normal," Mdunge said.