The Eastern Cape police made a breakthrough in the multiple murder case that saw seven family members gunned down while they were mourning a slain relative and preparing for a funeral on the night of Wednesday, 16 November.
READ: Seven family members killed while mourning a murdered relative
FOUR SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR BITYI MASS MURDER
The South African previously reported that the mass murder took place at a homestead in Tantseka Location at approximately 22:30.
The suspects allegedly barged into the home and opened fire. Six people died at the scene and a seventh died in the hospital.
“The victims are family relatives aged between 29 and 68, who were in mourning and arranging for the burial of their relative, Novotile Mgxada, 62, who was fatally shot last week,” said Colonel Priscilla Naidu.
On Monday, 28 November, the investigating team received word that two of the suspects in this matter were due to appear before the Bityi Magistrate’s Court on charges related to the unlawful possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The police got hold of the suspects and one of them led the authorities to a spot where his accomplices were hiding out in Slovo Park.
“On seeing the police, the suspects at Slovo Park started firing shots at the police who retaliated. During the exchange of gunfire, two suspects suffered injuries and were transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention,” said Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana.
Another suspect was arrested after the shootout, bringing the number of detainees to four. In the initial statement, the police said three suspects killed the seven family members.
“Four firearms and an imitation firearm were confiscated from the suspects and will be sent to the ballistic unit for forensic testing. The suspects are believed to have been responsible for the shooting of seven family members who died in Tantseka village,” said Kinana.
All four suspects – aged 24 to 28 – are expected to appear before the Bityi Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 30 November, on murder charges.
The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, visited the bereaved Mgxada family on 22 November. The seven deceased family members were buried together in a mass funeral two days later.