Cou­ple’s bodies dumped in Tugela River

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

CHILLING de­tails of how miss­ing botanists, Rod (74) and Rachael Saun­ders (63), were mur­dered be­fore their bodies were dumped in the Tugela River were re­vealed on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

While the gen­eral lo­ca­tion of the bodies is known to the Hawks and po­lice, the search con­tin­ues for the re­mains of the el­derly cou­ple, who were last seen in the Ngoye For­est Re­serve on 10 Fe­bru­ary.

On Fri­day, it was con­firmed that a fourth sus­pect, known as ‘Ba­zooka,’ had led in­ves­ti­ga­tors to Tugela River Mouth where the bodies of the Cape Town-based cou­ple are re­ported to have been dumped.

Ac­cord­ing to a source close to the

ZO, Ba­zooka had pointed out the area in which the bodies had been dumped.

Re­ports sug­gest the pair were mur­dered, their bodies tied up in sleep­ing bags and thrown into the Tugela River.

While Search and Res­cue Units ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Hawks be­gin op­er­a­tions to at­tempt to re­cover the bodies, it might be too lit­tle, too late.

The Tugela River is no­to­ri­ous for be­ing home to hun­dreds of croc­o­diles and within a space of some seven weeks, the chances of even re­cov­er­ing a sleep­ing bag are slim. The ZO pre­vi­ously re­ported that Ba­zooka was the out­stand­ing piece of the puz­zle in the case of the miss­ing Saun­ders cou­ple.

Since the arrests of Ba­zooka’s ac­com­plices, Say­fudeen As­lam Del Vec­chio (38) and Bibi Fa­tima Pa­tel (27) on 15 Fe­bru­ary, a pro­vin­cial man­hunt had been launched to find the Malaw­ian na­tional who was deemed to have played an in­te­gral role in the ab­duc­tion of the miss­ing Saun­ders cou­ple.

Court pro­ceed­ings

Mean­while al­leged ISIS acolyte Say­fudeen As­lam Del Vec­chio (38) en­tered Court A at the Veru­lam Re­gional Court on Thurs­day with ap­par­ent ar­ro­gance.

Ac­com­pa­nied by his co-ac­cused, Bibi Fa­tima Pa­tel (27) and Them­ba­mandla Xulu (19), Del Vec­chio glared men­ac­ingly to­wards jour­nal­ists seated in the front row of the pub­lic gallery.

The three are al­leged to have mas­ter­minded the ab­duc­tion of Rod (74) and Rachael Saun­ders (63), a case which moves into its sev­enth week.

Del Vec­chio’s venge­ful demeanor was in­dica­tive of a man who had been sub­jected to a week in one of the most se­cure prisons in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

Last week the ZO re­vealed that Del Vec­chio had been shifted from Dur­ban’s Westville prison to iso­la­tion in Kok­stad’s Ebong­weni ‘C-Max’ prison, South Africa’s only su­per-max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison.

State ad­vo­cate Adele Barnard slammed ac­cu­sa­tions thrown in court by Del Vec­chio and Pa­tel’s de­fence at­tor­ney,

Jay Naidoo that the state had re­quested his client be moved to C-Max from Westville.

‘I had been in­formed by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer that Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices of­fi­cials put in the re­quest to have him trans­ferred as his (Del Vec­chio) be­hav­ior com­pro­mised the safety of the rest of the prison,’ she said.

Xulu’s bail ap­pli­ca­tion was mean­while re­fused by Mag­is­trate Val­lara­man Kathu­ravaloo on the ba­sis that ‘he pre­vi­ously stated that he had a lot to say to the court, and was given the op­por­tu­nity to do so which he never did; this means he is de­lib­er­ately with­hold­ing vi­tal in­for­ma­tion from this court.’

‘Ba­zooka’ is ex­pected to ap­pear in the Veru­lam Mag­is­trates court on Mon­day fac­ing mur­der charges.

Say­fudeen As­lam Del Vec­chio


Bibi Fa­tima Pa­tel (27)

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