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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Cross-border raid nets two of SA’s most wanted… but ‘not AKA’s killers’

Eswatini arrests sparked the hope of a major breakthrough in the murder mystery of 'Mass Country' hitmaker AKA.

Hopes of cracking the high-profile murder case of rapper Kiernan “AKA” Jarryd Forbes and his close friend and celebrity chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane have been dashed as the police refuted claims in the media that the alleged hitmen were arrested in Eswatini.

The update by KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner Lt-Genl Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi follows an earlier report by the Times of eSwatini of the arrest of two suspects allegedly linked to the execution-style killings of AKA and Tibz outside Durban’s Wish restaurant on 10 February 2023.

“The two South African nationals aged 28 and 29 are brothers from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. In their home country, they’re wanted to assist with information about several murder cases, including that of a musician,” the publication stated.

ALSO READ: AKA murder mystery LATEST: Alleged hitmen arrested in Eswatini?

Eswatini arrests ‘not linked to AKA and Tibz murder investigation’

Mkhwanazi outright refuted claims that the suspects who were apprehended on Friday, 23 February in the Kingdom of Eswatini, were linked to the AKA murder investigation.

“I want to bring to the attention of the public that those individuals who were taken into custody in our neighbouring country of Eswatini, were arrested in a separate case unrelated to the murders of Kiernan Jarryd Forbes and Tebello Motsoane.”

According to the police commissioner, the suspects in question will be extradited to South Africa to face a case of murder and attempted murder for an incident in which a man, who was a passenger in a vehicle, was shot and killed in Berea on 6 March 2023.

“The driver of the vehicle survived the shooting and managed to drive to a fuel station in Berea where she sought assistance. Investigation into that particular case pointed to the suspects who were traced and found to be hiding in Eswatini,” he said.

AKA murder case at ‘a sensitive stage’

Mkhwanazi went on to reiterate the stance of police in KwaZulu-Natal that any development in the AKA murder investigation will be “timeously communicated with the concerned families first and then the public”.

The commissioner emphasised that the investigation into the murder of the award-winning rapper’s shock murder, was at “a sensitive stage”.

The AKA and Tibz murder case is a complex one and there have seen – and still are seeing – tons of evidential information to be analysed and processed.

“This is a prosecution-led investigation and when the police have tied all the loose ends and covered all the loopholes, an announcement into the investigation and the progress thereof will be communicated,” Mkhwanazi concluded his update on the murder probe which has been dragging on for a year.

An early but unconfirmed media report claimed that the alleged killers of award-winning rapper Kiernan “AKA” Jarryd Forbes and his close friend and celebrity chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, have been arrested in Eswatini.

According to an article by the Times of eSwatini shared by ZA Newsflash and MDN News on X (formerly Twitter), the suspects in the high-profile murder case were nabbed by the neighbouring kingdom’s police and taken into custody on Friday, 23 February 2023.

The latest alleged development in the high-profile murder case came just after a year has been observed this month since the “execution-style” killings of AKA and Tibz  outside Durban’s Wish restaurant on 10 February 2023.

AKA murder suspects allegedly arrested in Eswatini

The print publication stated that the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) and South African Police Service (Saps) are reportedly in discussions about having the suspects deported to South Africa.

“The two South African nationals aged 28 and 29 are brothers from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. In their home country, they’re wanted to assist with information about several murder cases, including that of a musician

“When members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service pounced on them on Friday, they were reportedly found inside the house they were renting since their arrival in the country. 

“It’s revealed that there were three people living in the house, and the other one is still at large,” the Times of Eswatini reported.

According to the article, the suspects will also be charged with remaining in Eswatini without valid documents.

Awaiting confirmation from Saps

  • This is a developing story. The Citizen is awaiting confirmation and further details from Saps who has committed to the release of a statement by KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi on this latest development in the murder investigation of AKA.

ALSO READ: ‘It took resources’: AKA murder was a ‘well-funded’ hit, says slain rapper’s dad

‘Just a matter of time’ – Cele on AKA murder investigation

After coming under fire for what has been labelled in the media and fans of the Mass Country rapper as a lack of progress in the murder case by the Saps, Police Minister Bheki Cele gave at a media briefing in Cape Town at the end of December last year.

According to Cele, the high-profile murder investigation was at an advanced stage and it was just “a matter of time” before the culprits were brought to book.

“The fact that the getaway car was found, the gun itself has been found, some of the witnesses I’m told are in protection order, means it’s a case that has really covered some ground. We just need to get that particular person,” the police minister revealed.

ALSO READ: ‘They must be kept safe’- Bheki Cele on witnesses who allegedly helped find crucial evidence in AKA murder case

Evidence of a hit?

In June 2023, City Press reported that the police were allegedly investigating members of a family involved in taxi operations, as well as the so-called construction mafia in KwaZulu-Natal.

The publication quoted sources in the security cluster who claimed that AKA and Motsoane were followed from King Shaka International Airport to the popular restaurant.

“The police have already obtained the footage that reveals that there was surveillance by the [alleged] hitmen who later carried out the hit outside Wish restaurant in Durban.”

“This family is powerful and feared,” one of the sources revealed.

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