SIX kombi drivers who allegedly ganged up and fatally assaulted a protester who was among violent protesters who had barricaded a road, appeared in court yesterday.
Mthulisi Sikwabayila (24) of Mpopoma suburb, Brandon Gumede (20), Nhlanhla Ngozo (18), Tinashe Ngozo (18), Khulekani Mpofu (24) and Hazel Ncube (26) all from Entumbane suburb appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Wellington Ncube.
They were remanded in custody to February 11 and advised to apply for bail at the High Court.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said on January 14 at around 9PM, the accused persons were aboard a Toyota Hiace kombi, which was being driven by Sikwabayila.
They were travelling from Entumbane to Mpopoma where the windscreen of Sikwabayila’s kombi had earlier been smashed by protesters.
On approaching Njube turn-off along Luveve road, the accused persons found the road barricaded with stones and burning logs by protesters.
“The accused persons stopped and confronted the deceased and his colleagues who were part of a gang of protesters and an altercation ensued,” said Mr Dlodlo.
The accused persons allegedly ganged up and indiscriminately attacked Ncube all over the body.
The deceased and his colleagues fled in different directions but the accused persons managed to apprehend Ncube.
They continued to attack him all over the body and left him for dead.
“The accused persons indiscriminately assaulted the deceased with a sharp object on the head, kicked and punched him all over the head and body before they fled from the scene leaving him lying in a pool of blood,” said Mr Dlodlo.
Ncube was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries the following day.
Meanwhile, 12 suspects who were arrested for public violence last week appeared in court for allegedly looting and barricading roads in Nketa 5.
Lawrence Ncube (43), Solomon Mangena (48), Partson Ncube (32), Calvin Khumalo (18), Nqobile Ndlovu (32), Onuth Ndiweni (26), Herbert Dzavakwa (24), Khumbulani Maphosa (18), Jeremiah Hlongwani (32), Given Msipha (16), Patience Ngwenya (19), Sibongile Chabveka (20) appeared before Western Commonage magistrate Mr Lungile Ncube charged with public violence and unlawful entry and theft.
They were remanded in custody to today for continuation of trial.
For the state, Mr Kenneth Shava said on January 15 at midday, the accused persons erected barricades between Nketa Drive and Mqamulazwe road, blocking free movement of traffic in the process.
The accused persons who were wielding shovels, machetes, pick heads, catapults, knobkerries, hoes, axes and pots engaged in running battles with the police.
It is alleged that after outnumbering the police, the 12 accused persons proceeded to Tilus Supermarket and broke into the shop.
“The accused persons then looted groceries and fled from the scene,” said Mr Shava.
Acting on a tip off, police arrested the accused persons while hiding at a house in Nketa 6 and recovered the loot.
A witness, Inspector Fanuel Basira, told the court that police raided the house where the accused persons were hiding and recovered the loot which was positively identified.