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Police make breakthrough in mysterious disappearance of a man and a woman whose bodies were found buried in a shallow grave, five arrested

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Limpopo

POLOKWANE - The Vhembe Trio Task Team's relentless efforts and meticulous investigations paid off when the team ultimately arrested a total of five suspects for the alleged kidnapping and murder of two people; a man and woman, whose bodies were located and exhumed at different locations over the weekend. This after they were reported missing under mysterious circumstances during February and July of 2022.

The woman went missing in February 2022 under Makhado Policing precinct and was only reported earlier this year while the man was reported missing in July 2022 under Tshilwavhusiku policing area.

A 33-year-old woman allegedly left home in Sekonye village in Botlokwa to visiting Louis Trichardt in February 2022. The Investigations conducted by the Task Team subsequently managed to uncover the  long kept secret which revealed that she was actually kidnapped by the suspects who in the process tortured and subsequently killed her and buried her in a shallow grave. This after she reportedly refused to surrender a property in Makhado which was initially used as a brothel.

The Task Team also received information through crime intelligence operatives about the kidnapping and the killing of a 40-year-old man who became the victim of vigilantism when he was reportedly kidnapped from his home in Tshilwavhusiku in July 2022 after he was accused of stealing copper cables.

The probe revealed that the victims were buried in shallow graves at Rathidili and Madodonga villages respectively

Two of the suspects were already in custody for murder and other serious crimes. The other three were concerned in their hideout in Mahwelereng and apprehended.  The team recovered a 9mm pistol with serial number filed off and eight rounds of ammunition.

Forensic investigations are underway to make conclusive identification of the remains

All these suspects are alleged to be the same individuals who had been in charge of vigilante group in Tshilwabusiku and the neighbouring villages under Makhado policing areas.

The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has commended the team for the sterling investigations that led to these arrests.

The five suspects appeared before the Tshilwavhusiku Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 30 January 2023



Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo
082 8766 429



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