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2022/10/18      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 17 October 2022 - Police made a major breakthrough today (17 October 2022) by arresting four suspects aged between 25 and 28 in connection with last week's alleged gang related fight which claimed the lives of two young men, one aged 18 whilst the other one (who's age is currently unknown) is yet to be identified. The suspects were arrested in Barberton.

The deadly battle reportedly broke out on Friday morning, 14 October 2022 between gang rivals, resulting in two succumbing to their injuries. It is said that the incident happened around 08h30 am as a group of people were on their way to dig a grave in preparation for a funeral at Mjindini Trust in Barberton.

According to the information received by the police, +/- 20 people were on their way to the graveside to dig a grave as part of the preparation for the funeral which was planned to take place on Saturday, 15 October 2022 after a bereaved family lost their loved one. It is said that before they could reach the graveside a scuffle then broke out where shots were fired. Some of those who were there are said to have ran for cover however at the end, two young men were down. One succumbed at the scene meanwhile the other passed away in hospital. One was identified by his family as Thembinkosi Ngobese aged 18 however the second victim is yet to be identified by his family.

A case with two counts of murder was opened and police immediately began with their investigation where they worked around the clock to ensure that perpetrators are swiftly brought to book. When the team consisting of experts cornered the four suspects hiding at a certain house at Mjindini Trust in Mangozeni area (in Barberton), they (police) found a 9 mm Z88 pistol even though its serial number was filed off. About 11 live ammunitions as well as four (04) butcher knives and a golf stick were seized. The firearm will undergo ballistic testing.

The suspects are faced with a charge of possession of unlicensed firearm, possession of unlicensed ammunition as well as possession of dangerous weapon and will possibly be linked to the two counts of murder. The four are due to appear at the Barberton Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, 19 October 2022.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela used the arrest as an opportunity to reassure the public of the capability and expertise that the SAPS possess in order to deal effectively with crime.