FOUR Tsholotsho villagers allegedly teamed up and assaulted a teenage neighbour with a sjambok after tying him to a tree before detaining him overnight leading to his death, police confirmed yesterday.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese identified the deceased as Elton Ndlovu (16) of Dikili Line under Chief Gampu.
Chief Insp Makonese said Thubelihle Sebele (19), Edwin Sibanda (20), Admire Moyo (29) and Forgive Ngwenya (30) are on the run.
The suspects allegedly accused Elton of stealing a pair of shoes from a local homestead on Saturday.
“On June 29 at 8PM, Elton Ndlovu broke into Ms Nesisa Sibanda’s homestead and stole a pair of shoes. In the morning the suspects teamed up and followed the footprints which led them to Elton’s place of residence,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said on Sunday at around 7PM, the four suspects cornered Elton at his place of residence and force-marched him to Ms Sibanda’s homestead from where he had allegedly stolen the shoes.
“The suspects tied the now deceased to a tree using a rope and assaulted him with a sjambok all over the body.
“After beating him up, the suspects dragged the now deceased to a bedroom hut where they tied his legs and hands and detained him overnight,” added Chief Insp Makonese.
She said on Monday morning, the four discovered that Elton could hardly speak due to pain and they alerted other villagers.
Chief Insp Makonese said Sebele, Sibanda, Moyo and Ngwenya disappeared soon after informing other villagers about Elton’s condition and their whereabouts are not known.
Elton died before he could be rushed to hospital as his condition deteriorated.
A report was made to the police who attended the scene and took the body to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for postmortem.
Chief Insp Makonese said a manhunt has been launched for the four suspects while investigations also continue.
She encouraged members of the public not to take the law into their own hands but report to the police if they suspect commission of a crime by anyone.