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MAHWALALA - It was exactly 9:26am when residents of Mahwalala heaved a sigh of relief after the arrest of a man alleged to have been terrorising the area.

Mbuso Setilo had nowhere to hide when residents of Mahwalala, Royal Eswatini Police Service officers in collaboration with Montigny Investments rangers, combed the forest where he was last seen yesterday.
This was exactly seven days after Setilo appeared in the police most wanted list. 

Setilo is the man from Lomahasha who was wanted by the police in order to assist them with information which might lead to the arrest of people who continually committed offences in the area.
Mahwalala is located not far from the Mbabane-Mhlambanyatsi Public Road. The offences which were committed in the area included rape, murder and housebreaking with intent to steal.

The rampant crime was a huge concern to the residents.
This, after two minors who attended Nkwalini Primary School were raped and killed. The gruesome incident was followed by the rape and murder of a pupil of Saim Christian High School.

While the residents pondered about the incidents, they were devastated by the kidnapping of an eight-year-old pupil who was allegedly raped at Mahwalala though she was originally from Nkwalini.


Information gathered from the residents who had sleepless nights since the incidents happened, was that they decided to join hands and search for Setilo whom they believed had information that could assist the police in their investigations.
Thoko Ntshalintshali, a community police member of Mahwalala, said the community police sacrificed their sleep after they received information that Setilo was frequently seen buying cigarettes and fat cakes from one woman of the area.

She stated that they were informed that Setilo was seen at the woman’s homestead at around 2am.
Ntshalinthsali said they decided to camp near the woman’s homestead in order to verify the information.

She said the latest information was that the woman served the suspect with tea after he bought cigarettes and fat cakes at her homestead. Upon arrival at the homestead, the community police members claimed that they enquired from the woman why she sold cigarettes and fat cakes to the wanted suspect.

“She told us that she was not aware that her client was a suspect because the man always came with his face covered. She told us that she only became aware of him after she was told by her child. However, she said the suspect never returned to her homestead,” said Ntshalintshali.

She mentioned that they remained at the homestead until around 4am before they decided to patrol a nearby forest.
While patrolling, she stated that one of the community police members saw a fire.
She mentioned that as they went closer to the fire, one of the community police members, Mfanimpela Hlatshwako saw a man next to the fire.
“The man took full flight when he saw Hlatshwako,” she said.

In an interview, Hlatshwako confirmed having seen the man at close range. He stated that he tried to scare him with a knobkerie, however, the man bolted.
“I hit him once with the knobkerrie and it was the last time I saw him as he ran to the forest,” he said. He said they then called the police who swiftly came to the scene. When  this reporter  arrived at the scene at around 7am, the residents, armed police officers and Montigny Investment rangers were about to comb the forest.

Some police officers and rangers were deployed strategically to monitor all movements. They also guarded against any person who left and entered the forest.
It was gathered that the officers of the law were deployed at the top of the mountain and had long range binoculars.


Two caves and a slam which were suspected to be used by the suspect as a hiding den, were discovered in the forest.
While still searching at around 8am, the police officers who were deployed at the top of the mountain reported that there was a man who was seen sleeping next to a tree, a few kilometres from where the fire was made.

The search party rushed to the place where the man was seen. When the other parties arrived at the scene, the man who was identified as Mbuso Setilo had already been caught. He was wearing a white jacket which had turned black due to ash and a denim trouser. Information gathered was that the man was caught by one of the community police members while concentrating on the police officers who had him under surveillance.

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