Four in court for killing family

Victims planning relative

- By Lulamile Feni

Four men accused of the murder of seven members of an Eastern Cape family made a brief appearance Mthatha magistrate ’in s court the yesterday.

Athenkosi Mawundo, 22, Zukile Tyelengane, 29, Aluncedo Phingilili, 22, and Siphesande Dlunge, 22, each face seven counts of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of seven members of the Mgxada family, aged between 29 and 79. They died in a home in Tantseka village, about 50km from Mthatha, on November 16.

All four accused opted for Legal Aid.

The case was postponed to December 8 for a formal bail applicatio­n.

On November 16 at about 11.30pm, several armed men allegedly forced their way into the homestead of stock owner and Masifunisa­ne crime combating associatio­n member Mlamli Mgxada, 72, and opened fire.

Six people died on the spot, while the seventh victim died in hospital. Mgxada was not home at the time.

The family had gathered to arrange the burial of his wife, Novotile Mgxada, 62, who had been shot by unknown gunmen the previous week.

The four also face various counts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Several of the suspects were arrested this week in Slovo Park, near Mthatha, after they allegedly exchanged fire with the police.

The victims of the mass shooting were buried on Thursday last week in a mass funeral.

In a statement on Tuesday night, police spokespers­on Brig Tembinkosi Kinana said during the investigat­ion on Monday, police received informatio­n that two suspects would appear in Bityi magistrate’s court on charges relating to possession of an unlicensed firearm.

“Subsequent­ly, one suspect, who led the police to others who were hiding in Slovo Park, was arrested.

“On seeing the police, the suspects in Slovo Park started firing at the police, who retaliated.

“During the exchange of gunfire, two suspects suffered injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

“One suspect was also arrested during the shooting incident, and this brought the number of the arrested suspects to four.

“Four firearms and a toy gun were confiscate­d from the suspects and will be sent to the ballistic unit for forensic testing,” Kinana said.

“The suspects are believed to have been responsibl­e for the shooting of seven family members who died in Tantseka village.”

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