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SNAKE USED TO ROB VICTIMS

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PIGG’S PEAK – Three thugs, who posed as police officers, used a snake to scare their victims before robbing them of their valuables.

The victims were robbed while in their homes. 

This is said to have happened around Mgungundlovu near Buhleni in northern Hhohho.

This modus operandi of the thugs attracted the wrath of the community, who launched a manhunt and apprehended them, before beating them up. The suspects were apprehended by residents and beaten to a pulp in mob justice. 

However, one of the suspects managed to flee. 

Referred

According to one of the residents, who was part of the mob, he referred to the snake as an imboma – a boa constrictor. 

It is alleged that the trio would drive around in a vehicle and pounce on unsuspecting residents in the area. The suspects are alleged to have robbed people around Mvuma, Mgungundlovu, Bulandzeni and Nkamanzi. These areas are all under Ndzingeni Inkhundla. 

According to some residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the suspects allegedly stole cash and dagga. “They were targeting people who they suspected of having cash or dagga,” said a resident. 

He said some of the residents wanted to report the incidents, but were afraid to go to the police. 

It is alleged the suspects also posed as police officers from Buhleni Police Post. One of the suspects allegedly used the name of a police officer based at the police post in inducing submission from his victims. The name of the officer used is known, but will not be mentioned for ethical reasons. 

Their modus operandi was to enter a homestead and introduce themselves as police officers. Thereafter, they would request to search the houses in a similar way police officers did when searching for dagga. “If you refuse, they would return to their car and produce a snake to scare you,” said the resident. 

He said the thugs often targeted women. 

*Jomo, another resident, said when people began to complain about this growing trend in the community, the residents started to mobilise themselves and kept watch to ensure that they apprehended the thugs. 

He said at around midnight on Tuesday, they received information about the presence of the thugs at one of the homesteads in the area. 

Jomo said the residents began to block various routes so that the thugs could not flee. Jomo said the three men then headed towards Cetshwayo Primary School. It was near this area that they were eventually apprehended, according to Jomo. 

“We beat them mainly on the hands and legs,” said Jomo, who added that they refrained from hitting them anywhere else  to avoid serious injury. 

He said the men were beaten with various objects, including bushknives, and knobkerries. 

Stole

Jomo said after beating the men, they were asked to explain how they were able to rob the residents. He said at one of the homesteads, the thugs allegedly stole E1 000. 

Jomo said they also allegedly robbed other residents of undisclosed sums of money as well as dagga.  

The men are also said to have chosen to use the surname of one police officer even though they did not know him personally. 

Jomo said the men were apprehended around 1am on Tuesday and tortured until about 11am. The two apprehended suspects were then handed over to the police later in the day. 

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed that two people were attacked but said the matter was still under investigation. 

She said there were no cases reported of the men robbing anyone. Vilakati said so far, these were just allegations.

*Not real name.

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