Trusted family friend kills and burns 3-year-old girl and 6-year-old boy then cuts off his legs


Pienaar, Mpumalanga – A pall of grief and outrage hangs heavy over the small community of Pienaar, outside Mbombela, Mpumalanga, following the horrific discovery of the bodies of two young children, Peaceful Khoza (3) and Junior Mabandla (6), who were allegedly murdered and buried in shallow graves. The community, still reeling from the shock of the double tragedy, is grappling with the brutal reality of the crimes and the chilling details that have emerged.

Peaceful, a bright and bubbly three-year-old, was last seen playing outside her family home on Wednesday, 3 July. Her disappearance sparked a frantic search by her family and neighbours, who were left with a chilling feeling that something was terribly wrong. The search led them to a man, known to the family as a friend of Peaceful's father, who was burning what he claimed was rubbish. Suspicions arose, and the community forced the man to clear the area, revealing the horrifying truth.

Peaceful's tiny body, burnt and buried in a shallow grave, was unearthed, sending shockwaves through the community. The alleged suspect, who was arrested shortly after the discovery, reportedly confessed to his involvement in both Peaceful's death and the disappearance of Junior Mabandla, who had been reported missing a month prior.

The suspect, who had been a regular visitor to the Khoza family home, sharing meals and spending time with the family, was considered a trusted friend.

"We treated him like a family member, he was close to the victim's dad. They used to eat and drink together, they did everything together," shared Aubrey Khoza, Peaceful's uncle, his voice thick with emotion.

"We don't know what went wrong, we don't know why he had to do this, maybe he will one day explain why he did this to us," he added, his words echoing the collective bewilderment and anguish of the community.

The suspect, who is currently in hospital under police guard, allegedly led the community to where he had buried Junior's body. The six-year-old boy's mutilated body was found in a bag, with both his legs removed. The gruesome discovery further fuelled the community's anger and grief, leaving them grappling with the unimaginable cruelty inflicted upon these innocent children.

Tshepo Sishaba, Junior's uncle, expressed the family's immense relief at finally finding the boy, but also their deep-seated pain and the need for closure.

"We request the police to play their part so that we can get closure. It is painful for us as family to deal with this. We trust that the justice system will not fail us and it will also play its role to ensure that perpetrators rot in jail," he said, his voice filled with a mixture of hope and despair.

The news of the double murder has sent shockwaves throughout the community, leaving residents shaken and questioning their sense of safety. The brutal killings have also highlighted the vulnerability of children in the community and the need for greater vigilance and protection.

Mpumalanga police spokesman, Colonel Donald Mdluli, confirmed the suspect's arrest and stated that charges are yet to be laid. "We believe that in due cause he will be charged not only for this crime but also for the other one," he said, assuring the community that the police are committed to ensuring justice for the victims and their families.

The community, however, is not satisfied with mere assurances. They demand swift justice and a thorough investigation that leaves no stone unturned. The horrifying details of the crimes have ignited a deep sense of outrage and a collective desire to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable for their heinous acts.

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