Old man brutally murdered, buried in a shallow grave in his yard
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Police confirmed the incident, which has left residents of Pumula North shocked.
"We are handling a suspected murder incident but I am afraid we cannot discuss the full details of the matter. Doing so will severely affect our investigations," said deputy provincial police spokesperson for Bulawayo, Assistant Inspector Bekimpilo Ndlovu.
William Longwe was reportedly staying alone at his house, Number 6928 Pumula North, as his children are in the Diaspora. Neighbours reportedly last saw Longwe on Thursday last week. Those who spoke to Chronicle said they became suspicious when they saw a truck loading the old man's property on several occasions to an unknown destination.
They said when they asked what those people were doing, they were told that Longwe had moved to a new house while others were told he was staying at his church's premises. Longwe was a member of the End Time Ministries Church, with a branch in Southwold.
His body was discovered on Monday buried in the shallow grave, which his killers reportedly dug in his garden to conceal the crime.
He reportedly had injuries on the head and the body was wrapped in cloths and sacks. Police exhumed the body on Monday after getting information from neighbours about a "mysterious" pit that had been dug and later refilled in the yard.
When this reporter visited the house yesterday afternoon, there was a gloomy atmosphere with neighbours trying to come to terms with the incident. The pit was about a metre deep. Relatives of Longwe were not at the house. They had reportedly gone to the funeral parlour to make burial arrangements. The few neighbours who had gathered at the house referred questions to the police.
However, those who opened up said they were still in shock.
"Mr Longwe went missing on Thursday and since then strange events have been happening at his house. We knew him as an old man who could not even do household chores on his own and neighbours would help him," said a neighbour who only identified herself as NaThabani.
She said when neighbours could not see him as usual, they went to his house to find out, but he could not be found. They became suspicious when they saw a pit dug in his garden and refilled a day later, upon which they informed the police.
"We suspect that after killing him, the murderers hid the body in the house. On Friday we saw a truck parked in front of the house and people loading property. When some elders asked, they said they were taking the property to Entumbane where Mr Longwe had moved to. The elders became suspicious saying Mr Longwe would not have moved out without informing them but they could not do anything at that time," said NaThabani.
Mr Tawanda Mlilo, another neighbour said: "One boy was playing in the yard on Friday and saw the pit. He told his grandmother who wondered who might have dug it. The next day the same boy saw that the pit had been refilled and told other neighbours who now became suspicious."
The Entumbane house where the old man was reportedly said to be moving to, belonged to a fellow church member who reportedly told the police he was not aware of the issue. The neighbour recorded the truck's registration numbers and handed them to the police. They suspect the assailants were taking the property for resale as price tags had been put on some of the items.
"We suspect that these people had the keys to the house. We were now more suspicious and on Sunday morning some neighbours confronted a church member who had come to the house intending to pick Mr Longwe to church. Police came to investigate and exhumed the body from the garden on Monday. Such a thing has never happened here and whoever did this is an animal," said Mrs Stella Dube, another neighbour.
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