Swazi Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Sto­ries by Sandile

A Bu­landzeni based busi­ness­man has been ar­rested and charged with the mur­der of his cousin while in dagga fields in the north­ern Hho­hho re­gion.

Vusi Mduduzi Dlamini is al­leged to have used his il­le­gal firearm in the mur­der of his cousin Them­binkosi Ma­gag­ula who was, after the killing left in the dagga fields for three weeks be­fore his body was found after be­ing re­ported miss­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, Dlamini of Bu­landzeni un­der Chief Nd­laluh­laza al­legedly com­mit­ted the of­fence at a farm where dagga grow­ers use for their il­le­gal herb trade.

The ac­cused aged 36, was in the com­pany of the de­ceased when the in­ci­dent hap­pened. Yes­ter­day, Dlamini filed an ur­gent bail ap­pli­ca­tion at the High Court where he ap­peared be­fore Judge Ticheme Dlamini.

In his bail ap­pli­ca­tion, he claimed that he did not kill the de­ceased per­son, but was in his com­pany to­gether with his brother Nkos­ing­phile and an­other cousin, Njab­ulo Nh­la­batsi and were in search of his heard of cat­tle that had gone miss­ing. He claimed that his cousin ad­vised him that the cat­tle had strayed to a gov­ern­ment cat­tle ranch at Ebu­landzeni, hence he sought the com­pany of the three in search of the cat­tle.

He said the place where the cat­tle had been seen was known for dagga grow­ing, thus he de­cided to carry with him his il­le­gal firearm for their own pro­tec­tion and that they searched un­til the night when they de­cided to aban­don the search. How­ever, on their way back the ac­cused per­son claimed they de­cided to take a short cut since they were ex­hausted and found them­selves tres­pass­ing on dagga fields and whilst in the mid­dle of the dagga fields, they heard three gun­shots fired at close range. “Try­ing to scare whoso­ever was shoot­ing at us I, in turn fired my firearm in the air and at that time every­one ran hel­ter skater and without tak­ing due con­sid­er­a­tion of who was miss­ing I took cover in hid­ing,” the ac­cused stated in his af­fi­davit.

It later tran­spired they were be­ing shot at by Mozam­bi­can na­tion­als who had been man­ning the dagga fields, and fol­low­ing the shoot­ing in­ci­dent, he was sub­se­quently ar­rested and charged for il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of a firearm and was ad­mit­ted to bail fixed at E2 000 by the Piggs Peak Mag­is­trate’s Court. He said he was granted bail while the crown was await­ing a bal­lis­tic re­port taken from the scene of crime and while out on bail, it tran­spired that one per­son was miss­ing and that was the de­ceased and as a re­sult a search team was com­mis­sioned and he was found in the dagga fields.

It was not un­til on Tues­day Septem­ber 26, 2017 that he was called by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer In­spec­tor DuPont who in­formed him at Buh­leni Po­lice Post that the bal­lis­tic re­port was back from South Africa and ad­vised him that its re­sults were pos­i­tive to his il­le­gal firearm. To that end, he was sub­se­quently charged with the mur­der of the de­ceased hence he has filed the ur­gent bail ap­pli­ca­tion pend­ing his date with the court for the charge of mur­der which he stated would plead not guilty to.

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