Police deny cop's alleged suicide is related to murdered teen Andile 'Bobo' Mbuthu
KwaZulu-Natal police have opened an inquest docket after a senior police officer is alleged to have committed suicide on Thursday.
It is understood the lieutenant-colonel stationed at the Tongaat police station, north of Durban, whose identity is known to SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE, allegedly shot himself while seated inside his vehicle.
Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker confirmed the incident.
“It is alleged that on Thursday at 3pm, the body of a 49-year-old man was found inside a vehicle, with a gunshot wound to the head at Tea Estate. The circumstances surrounding the incident are still being investigated by police. No foul play is suspected at this stage,” said Naicker.
The death comes after a social media message alleged that a senior police officer had been involved in the murder of 16-year-old Andile “Bobo” Mbuthu, whose body was believed to have been found dumped in the river in Tongaat last week. The message claimed Mbuthu's death exposed corruption and police brutality.
Naicker dismissed the claims as “fake news”.
The alleged suicide comes after police minister Bheki Cele visited Tongaat police station to look into the handling of the matter and visited Mbuthu's family on Tuesday.
#PoliceMinistry Police Minister, Gen #BhekiCele, KZN MEC for Trasport & Safety, Mr Ntuli, #SAPS DNC ORS, Lt Gen Mkhwanazi and PC Lt Gen Jula, today visited Tongaat SAPS to look into the handling by the police of the case relating to the disappearance of Andile Bobo Mchunu (16) ME pic.twitter.com/LlPQtrpwTI— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) May 12, 2020
Police said DNA tests would determine whether the human remains were that of Mbuthu.
Messages about Mbuthu's disappearance circulated on social media two weeks ago after a video surfaced of him in a badly beaten state. The video showed his bloodied body in an empty room while a man is seen kicking him to wake him up.
It is understood Mbuthu had been kidnapped after he was allegedly caught stealing from a local tavern in the area, known as Magagula Lounge.
The video sparked a massive social media campaign calling for #JusticeForBobo.
On Monday, six men charged with the kidnapping and murder of the matriculant appeared in the Verulam magistrate's court.
Mlungisi Thabathe, 28, Andile Nhleko, 27, Mncedisi Mzobe, 27, Siyanda Msweli, 26, Lindani Ndlovu, 22, and Malusi Mthembu, 27, told the court they were assaulted and made to sign blank pages while in police custody.
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