THERE has been an outpouring of anger and shock following the massacre of eight people including two grandmothers and six children in Ematimalo, Greytown, outside Pietermaritzburg.
Sisters and grandmothers, Nanazi and Sindisiwe Sibiya were killed with their six grandchildren, Sdudla, Olwethu, Thembeka, Londeka, Ziyanda and Lindo, who were all under the age of 10.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said the attackers carried out almost simultaneous attacks on two different households of the Sibiya family, who lived about 100m apart.
In the first attack, Sindisiwe was in one room with four of her grandchildren when their home was attacked.
The family were shot and the home was set alight.
In the second attack, Nanazi had two of her grandchildren with her. One suffered third-degree burns and died in hospital.
Neighbours said gunshots were heard at about 9pm and the homesteads were engulfed in flames
The women’s half-brother Fanozi Shaik said he was shocked by the killings. “Ít is clear that this was a planned attack. My sisters were the targets. What puzzles us is that we’ve never received any complaints about them. We are still confused, we don’t know what to do,” said Shaik.
Shaik said he received a call at about 11pm to inform him of the incident. “When I arrived my sisters were burnt, as well as the kids. I have never come across such cruelty, my whole family was murdered, it still feels like I’m dreaming,” said Shaik.
A sealed packet of nappies was found among the debris.
Shaik dismissed rumours that his sisters had been suspected of being involved in witchcraft. “I have never heard anything negative about my sisters or any suspicions about them even if they were suspected of practising witchcraft. It’s highly unlikely that both of them would be practising witchcraft.”
Ward councillor Musa Zondi also denied there had been allegations of witchcraft in connection with the attacks. “This is a tragedy, especially since those killed are women. This is the first time that we have seen something like this in the community.”
Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Bheki Langa said: “Police will thoroughly investigate the case and ensure the culprits face the full might of (the) law.”
By Thami Magubane and Nontuthuko Ngubane