SAPS detectives are searching for unidentified suspects who went on a rampage and burnt down several houses in Bhuje Village in the early morning of Sunday, 15 January 2023 at about 4:00 in Port St Johns.
The search follows after surprise attacks whilst people were sleeping in their homes.
As a result, about forty-nine (49) homesteads which were burnt, left scores of the villagers destitute.
According to the reports, during the attack, houses were set alight while others were severely damaged. No injuries nor fatalities were reported, as people allegedly escaped unharmed. However, in a nearby village of Tyeni, one person, a man aged 49 was shot and killed with a firearm. It is not clear at this stage if this particular incident is related to arson attacks.
The motive for these attacks is unknown, but stock theft and ongoing faction fights cannot be ruled out. Cases of Arson, Murder and Malicious Injury to Property have been registered for investigation.
No arrest has been made at this stage. The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene has immediately ordered the establishment of a high level task team, to trek down and arrest the suspects who are responsible for the extensive damage and murder in the area.
It is alleged that during the invasion, the suspects also damaged the transformer in order to cut electricity and any other form of communication in the area. This created difficulty in communication with some community leaders and Police who were doing patrols in the nearby villages.
Police deployments continue to monitor and patrol the villages of Port St Johns in order to restore peace and stability.
Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects involved in the incidents, is kindly requested to please make contact with Colonel Mthengelwa at 071 366 0017 or call the Crime Stop Number 08600 10111.