Houses burn as mob hunts for 'child killer'

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Image: STOCK IMAGE

The community of Mahushu near Hazyview in Mpumalanga burnt two houses believed to be sheltering a suspected kidnapper and murderer of an eight-year-old child.

Nokubonga Nonyane went missing on Friday and her body was found by cattle herders next to a stream on Tuesday.

Though the suspect was known to be a tenant at the two houses, the community set the properties on fire nevertheless when they did not find him.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, the spokesman for police in Mpumalanga, said police were called to the scene by members of the community on Tuesday and, on arrival, they found the houses on fire.

"We have not arrested anyone for both the murder and arson. We appeal to the community to come forward with information that can lead to the arrest of any suspect involved in the kidnapping and murder of the little girl."

He condemned the burning of the houses. "If people have the information, they must work with the police. They must refrain from resorting to mob justice."

The owners of the houses could not be located for comment as they had gone into hiding.

Nokubonga's uncle Reginald Mhlanga said she was a clever and friendly child.

"She disappeared on Friday and we started searching to no avail. On Tuesday we were told there was a [body of a dead] child next to the stream. We found out it was her."

He said Nokubonga liked school, waking up early in the morning to attend class.

"It's so painful. How can someone kill a child like that?

"We hope the police bring the person [responsible] to book and, if they find him, he must explain who he is working with.

"If they wanted money for her release they should have said so; though we don't have it we would have tried [to raise it]," added Mhlanga, who said Nokubonga's mother was too traumatised.

Nokubonga will be buried on Sunday in Mahushu.

"For now we are waiting for the police's forensic investigations and the postmortem."

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