Four brothers shot, three killed in shooting at initiation school near Butterworth
Three brothers died and another was injured in a shooting at an isolation hut at Ngqamakhwe near Butterworth in the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape village of Ngqamakhwe, near Butterworth, was in shock on Tuesday after four brothers were shot in a hut at an initiation school, leaving three dead and one injured.
The grandfather of the four young men, Mncedi Busakhwe, said he had never seen scenes like he did on Tuesday morning, and especially never thought he would see it at an initiation school.
Two of the brothers were initiates and both were killed. The two older brothers were at the school to look after the younger initiates. One of the older brothers was killed. The other is being treated in hospital.
“We took these two boys to the initiation school on Sunday afternoon hoping they would return home soon, but two days later I received a call telling me to rush to the initiation school,” Busakhwe said.
The deceased have been identified as Awonke Busakhwe (19), Anele Busakhwe (20) and their brother Sakhe Busakhwe (age unknown). The survivor is not being identified for safety reasons.
“When I got inside the initiation hut I saw them lying there naked. They had gunshot wounds,” said Mncedi Busakhwe.
“This is something that I never saw before. I still do not believe that those are my children who were killed like that.”
Busakhwe confirmed that the traditional nurse was not present at the time of the shooting and that the initiates were with their two brothers during the shooting.
“He (the nurse) was not with them. He had left to check on something at home,” Busakhwe said.
Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed that emergency medical services had been summoned to the scene. It was initially thought that the third person killed was the traditional nurse.
The Mnquma initiation forum chairperson, Nkosi Phathuxolo Tyali, who was among the first traditional leaders to arrive at the scene, said they were still shocked.
“We are shattered. The entire community is shocked. We never experienced anything like this in this area,” Tyali said.
The spokesperson for the Eastern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mamnkeli Ngam, said the department was working with police to discover more about the tragedy.
“What has happened is a very serious concern to the department… We are still in the process of gathering all the relevant information and facts surrounding this unfortunate incident,” Ngam said.
Provincial Commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene confirmed: “It is alleged that at about 01:15 this morning (Tuesday 5 December) the grandfather of the deceased was alerted of a shooting at an initiation school in Ngcwazi A/A Mntla location.
“The community went to investigate and found three males aged 18-26 years old fatally shot. The brother of the deceased males, aged 22 years old, sustained a gunshot wound to his upper body and was taken to hospital for treatment.
“The suspect is unknown at this stage and the motive is yet to be established. The police are appealing to anyone who can assist in the investigation to contact SAPS Nqamakwe on 073 272 9874 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or the nearest police station. All information is confidential, and callers may remain anonymous,” said a statement released by the police.
“The police are committed to bringing the perpetrator to justice and we will do everything in our power to ensure accountability for this heinous act. The loss of young lives, especially from one family, is devastating and we convey our condolences to the family.
“Let us unite in ensuring justice for the victims and preventing such tragedies in the future. We urge the communities to come forward with any information that can assist in solving these murders and the attempted murder,” Mene said.
The chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, Nkosi Moumalanga Gwadiso, conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families. DM