Mob ‘axes’ cattle rustlers
ABOUT 20 Filabusi villagers ganged up and fatally assaulted an alleged cattle rustler with axes, machetes, knobkerries and knives after intercepting him with suspected stolen cattle in the district.
The villagers from Ganyabezi area allegedly staged the deadly attack on Melusi Sibanda (25) on Tuesday.
Sibanda, who lives in Siyabalandula village in Ndandeni under Headman Mathuthu in Chief Sibasa’s area succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the mob attack on Wednesday.
After the attack, the suspected cattle rustler was taken to Filabusi District Hospital while unconscious with critical injuries all over the body.
He was transferred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he died on Wednesday morning. Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Inspector Philisani Ndebele said: “I can confirm the death of Melusi Sibanda after being assaulted by villagers in Filabusi. The incident happened on November 8 when Sibanda who was driving a herd of four cattle was intercepted by the villagers near Ganyabezi Business Centre heading for Filabusi Business Centre.”
He said villagers interrogated Sibanda over the cattle and their destination but he allegedly failed to give a satisfactory answer. “They apprehended him and ganged up to assault him with an assortment of weapons which included axes, machetes and knobkerries until he fell unconscious. He was ferried to hospital and was immediately referred to UBH where he died on Wednesday morning from the injuries he sustained in the assault,” he said.
Police later traced the owner of the cattle, Ms Precious Nxumalo of Longezi area using brand marks. Inspector Ndebele appealed to members of the public to desist from taking the law into their own hands to avoid unnecessary loss of life. “We want the community to help us in fighting stock theft, but if it comes to a situation where people are killed it’s unacceptable. They shouldn’t take the law into their own hands,” he said.
The fatal attack on the suspected cattle rustler comes a month following the jailing for between five and six years of some villagers from Matshetsheni in Gwanda for torching homesteads belonging to the people suspected of stealing cattle in the area.
The villagers are appealing against both the conviction and sentence and the matter is still to be finalised by the courts. — @richardmuponde