Police condemn mob justice incident
Community assaults, sets robbery suspect alight
Two men accused of robbing a taxi driver and his passengers were beaten and set alight in Naas, near Komatipoort in Mpumalanga, on Sunday.
Provincial police spokesperson Col Donald Mdhluli said the mob justice incident happened around 6pm.
The duo were accused of robbery which occurred on Saturday night.
“Police are investigating two counts of murder following an incident where two victims were allegedly assaulted and burnt. They were attacked by the mob after they were suspected to have committed crimes, but that is not conclusive as the investigation is continuing," said Mdhluli.
In a video circulated on social media, a large crowd can be heard shouting: “Let them die for their crimes."
One of the men is seen trying to escape from the fire while burning but is kicked back into the flames by one of the people.
A community member who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity said the taxi was coming from Johannesburg, where a group of women had gone to stock up on stuff they sell.
“What we know is that the men robbed some women and the taxi driver on their way back from Johannesburg. The community was called to start searching for them on Saturday night but we couldn’t find them. Other community members went to the police to report the case.
"On Sunday, as the community we gathered to strategise and we got a hint that the men might be from Block A. Some community members went there and found them but one managed to escape. Due to the anger of the community as there have been many incidents of robberies both in houses and on the streets, the community decided to take the law into their own hands.
"They [duo] were beaten and another community member shot at them but they didn’t die. They were then set alight,” said the resident.
Police have condemned the incident and called on communities to hand over suspects to the police if they are caught.
Mdhluli said the robbery case was also being investigated.
"The management of the police is condemning such incidents where the public take the law into their own hands. We are saying those caught committing or [who] have committed crime should be brought to the police and courts so that justice can take place,” said Mdlhuli.
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