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COPS SHOOT, KILL MOST WANTED SUSPECT MUNTU SOKO

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MBABANE – Most wanted suspect, Muntu Soko, was shot dead by the police on Sunday.


Soko, who was wanted for a string of armed robberies in the country, was reportedly shot several times by members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), while fleeing from them.


According to impeccable sources, the police were tipped off about the return of Soko into the country after he had reportedly spent some time in South Africa.
He is said to have fled the country after being sought for armed robberies that entailed forcefully taking people to auto teller machines (ATMs) to withdraw money.


Apparently, the impeccable sources further alleged that Soko was also responsible for a string of robberies at a variety of filling stations in the country.


Home


The sources claimed that the police on the day Soko was shot, visited his parental home to search for him, however, they did not find him.
Instead, it was reported that they gathered information that he was around Ngwenya where they found him. Upon locating him, it was reported that a dramatic chase between Soko and the police ensued.


“When he realised that police were searching for him, he fled in a sedan to avade arrest,” a source said.
During the dramatic chase, which ended around Malolotja, Soko reportedly alighted from the vehicle he was driving and fled on foot. While fleeing, the police are said to have warned him to stop, but he did not.


At this time, it was said that the police aimed at him and fired shots in a bid to deter him from running away. However, the shots did not just stop him, but reportedly ended his life.


A friend of the deceased, who preferred not to be named, insinuated that the police had previously informed Soko that they would kill him upon sight.
Soko’s friend claimed that the police had lived up to their threat as they shot him without him having been in possession of a firearm.
“All they could have done was to fire warning shots and stop him on his tracks,” he said.


To this, the Chief Police Information and Communication Officer, Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, refuted the claims that the police had intentions to kill Soko or had even uttered such.


Instead, she said while the police were searching for him, he had threatened them a number of times, saying he would kill them. Vilakati said Soko was aware that he was wanted by the police for a string of criminal offences.


“The police were warning him when the shots were fired and there was no intention to kill him at all,” she said.
Meanwhile, Soko is one of the suspects accused in connection with the death of prominent Mbabane businessman David Tiny Jacobs and robbing his wife, Denise and daughter Celeste.


He was arrested with two others, but he was later acquitted of the murder and robbery charges where it was alleged that they shot the businessman in cold blood at his home at Eveni, Mbabane.
Also, Soko once injured himself while fleeing from the police and was labelled as a burden to the State.


When he was labelled as such, he was suspected to be the mastermind in the alleged kidnapping of a taxi man and robbery at Galp Eveni Filling Station.
This also resulted in Soko being released on his own recognisance. This was because at the time, he could neither walk nor sit on his own due to the severity of the injuries he sustained, allegedly when fleeing from the police during his arrest in connection with the robberies and kidnapping incidents which happened around Mbabane.


Arrested


He was arrested with three other men, namely: Vuka Dlamini (41) of Logoba, Mbhoyi Nxumalo (35) of Ndunayithini and Thulani Thabethe (37) of Middelburg in South Africa.
Their charge sheet reflected that the four kidnapped a taxi man, Enock Dlamini, and further robbed him of his car at gunpoint in Mbabane.


 It was alleged that the quartet  tied and bundled Dlamini into his car boot before driving to Eveni Galp Filling Station where they allegedly threatened to shoot a garage employee, Nonhlanhla Khumalo, had she offered any resistance to the taking of property valued at E20 255 at the shop. The property included different brands of cigarettes and money in cash amounting to E15 172.


They are said to have fled the scene after they had allegedly committed the offence.
The taxi man was found bundled into his car boot at Mahwalala after the car was involved in an accident.
Upon the arrival of the police at the scene, it is said that Soko, who was allegedly carrying the gun during the commission of the offence, tried to escape from the police and fell into a drainage and fractured his leg.

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