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Cele urges police to protect witnesses & suspects in uMthwalume murders

It’s emerged that one of the two men arrested in connection with the murders was assaulted while in police custody, allegedly by other detainees.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele releases the first quarter crime statistics for 2020/2021 at a media briefing on 14 August 2020. Picture: GCIS

DURBAN - Police Minister Bheki Cele said that police must protect suspects and potential witnesses in the uMthwalume murders so that investigations were not jeopardised.

It’s emerged that one of the two men arrested in connection with the murders was assaulted while in police custody, allegedly by other detainees.

The 35-year-old has since been released after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decided that there was insufficient evidence linking him to the murders.

An investigation is underway after 41-year-old Siphamandla Khomo apparently hanged himself while in police custody earlier on Monday.

Minister Cele said that Khomo confessed on Sunday to the murders of at least four of the five women whose bodies were discovered in uMthwalume over the past few months.

The minister said that Khomo’s death had negatively affected their investigations because it’s believed that the deceased had evidence which linked another man to the murders.

Cele said that investigations would proceed despite the challenges.

"I think that there will have to be some efforts to continue and we don't lose more people and continue with this investigation until we find more information on the matter."

In the meantime, Cele has called on the angry community to be patient with the police during the investigations.

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