2007-02-22: Mpumalanga residents take law into own hands

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2007-02-22: Mpumalanga residents take law into own hands

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-02-27 16:17

http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/&articleid=299979&referrer=mgnewsflash

Mpumalanga residents take law into own hands - Johannesburg, South Africa

With five suspected criminals beaten to death in Mpumalanga over the past few weeks, police on Thursday warned residents not to take the law into their own hands. "It's out of anger, but it's not crime prevention. They are actually causing more crime," said Captain Leonard Hlathi.

In the latest incident, a 28-year-old man was found dead in police cells in Kanyamazane on Thursday morning. He and three 17-year-old boys, who were all suspected of housebreaking and theft, had been assaulted by residents. Residents of Pienaar's Trust on Wednesday afternoon caught and beat the four up. Police, however, intervened, arrested them and took them for medical treatment.

"It is alleged that they were terrorising the community with housebreaking and theft around the area. No serious injuries could be seen when they were detained and all confirmed that they were fine." On Wednesday morning another man, aged 23 and suspected of housebreaking, was beaten to death in Culcutta, near Hazyview.

The man dropped his loot and ran when the home owner caught him in the act, said Hlathi. "The owner of the house summoned help while giving chase. He [the robber] could not outrun the community, was caught and beaten to death." No arrests have been made in any of the incidents. Hlathi said such acts created more work for the police as they had to investigate two crimes at once.

"It's an old thing -- people are used to taking the law into their own hands. It's wrong. We need committed community members," he said. -- Sapa
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