A sixth suspect wanted for the murder of a constable in Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape appeared in the Mqanduli Magistrate’s Court on Friday, over a month after a gang gunned the officer down and forced another into the back of a police vehicle with his dead colleague.
Constable Lonwabo Soga was shot dead on December 3.
He and his colleague Constable Siyabonga Nani, 41, had reportedly been attending to a complaint in Coffee Bay when they were approached by six men in a double-cab bakkie who were ostensibly in need of police assistance.
Soga, in the driver’s seat, was approached by two of the men while another two were on Nani’s side of the vehicle, Hawks spokesperson Captain Anelisa Ngcakani said.
“One of the suspects standing at the passenger’s side drew his firearm and shot at Constable Soga, who died instantly. The suspects then ordered Constable Nani, who was not armed, to move the body of Constable Soga from the driver’s seat to the back of the state vehicle. Constable Nani was then forced to get inside the back,” Ngcakani said.
The gang drove the police van to a nearby shop where a security guard was forced to open the gate, reasoning that it was an official vehicle.
“It is alleged that the suspects went to the owner’s house and demanded R3 000, liquor and tobacco. The suspects then allegedly fled the crime scene with the shop owner’s Nissan Navara, which they allegedly abandoned on the way to Mqanduli.
“The state vehicle was left on the crime scene with Constable Nani and Soga locked at the back.”
Bonginkosi Ndevu, 27, was arrested in an intelligence-driven operation in Qunu on Wednesday.
Afika Bavu, 21, Afikile Nabo, 27, Xhantilomzi Ntshinga, 27, and Lubabalo Hlomendlini, 37, were arrested on December 6. Hlomendlini was apprehended in Mqanduli and the rest in Mthatha.
Anela Pencil, 31, was arrested five days later at a hospital in Elliotdale. He had allegedly been stabbed by Ndevu in a dispute, Ngcakani said.
“During the arrest of the first four accused, the team recovered six unlicensed firearms, including the one belonging to the deceased member who was robbed during the incident, as well as ammunition. An assortment of police equipment including hand cuffs, a reflector jacket and a hand radio were also found during the arrests.”
All six are expected back in the dock on January 22. They face charges of murder, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.