Limpopo police hunting for culprits who burned down four houses
Police have launched a manhunt for people who burnt down four houses of villagers whom they accuse of practising witchcraft at Ntswaneng Village‚ outside Burgersfort‚ in Limpopo.
Police said the incident happened at about 2.30pm on Sunday.
“It is understood tension has been brewing in the area where some villagers were accused of practicing witchcraft. They are accused of being responsible for the death of a youngster who died during December last year.
“The residents went on the rampage and started pursuing the Maepa family. The police reacted swiftly and intervened.
The family is now under police protection.
“The same community members later mobilised and went on to torch four houses of people they accuse of practicing witchcraft in the village. The houses that were burned belong to three families of the Maepas‚ the Mampurus and the Mojeles. All these families are residents of Ntswaneng village under Kgoshi Thobejane. Members of the Public Order Police have been deployed in the area to assist in stabilising the situation‚" police said in a statement.
Limpopo provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba condemned the burning of the houses‚ describing it as “barbaric acts of vigilantism”.
"Members of the community are strongly warned to desist from accusing others of witchcraft and then resort to attacks and destruction of properties. Those responsible will be hunted down and will be dealt with accordingly‚” said Ledwaba.
Police said they have already identified some of the culprits and a manhunt is under way.
Cases of public violence‚ arson and contravention of the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1957 have been opened for investigation.