South Africans demand vigilante justice after child murders

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 18, 2013 7:33 AM
South Africans demand vigilante justice after child murders

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Hundreds of South Africans burned tires outside a township police station on Friday and demanded the handover for vigilante justice of a fifth suspect arrested for the rape and murder of two toddlers, a crime that has shocked the nation.

The mutilated bodies of the two girls aged three and two were discovered in a public toilet in the Johannesburg township of Diepsloot on Tuesday, three days after they were reported missing.

A man described by local media as the prime suspect was arrested overnight in another Johannesburg township after police issued an identikit picture and offered a 100,000 rand ($10,200) reward.

He is likely to be appear in court next week, but Diepsloot residents gathered outside the local police station demanding he be handed over for instant justice.

"He was arrested in Alexandra in the early hours of this morning. He is part of the group suspected of the killings," police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said.

Four other suspects arrested earlier this week appeared in court in Pretoria on Friday, but the hearing was postponed to next Thursday.

South Africa has some of the world's highest rates of violent and sexual crime, but the killings have shocked the nation and reignited public debate about policing levels only six months ahead of a general election.

($1 = 9.8204 South African rand)

(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura, Shaffiek Tassiem and John Mkhize; editing by Ed Cropley and Barry Moody)