Pretoria News, 21 July 2008

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For more than a month, Mozambican Francisco Nobunga (57) took refuge at his Isando workplace to escape the xenophobic attacks at Ramaphosa informal settlement. Three weeks ago, he returned to his South African wife Sylvia Ntsento in the settlement hoping that peace had returned to the area. But on Friday night, brandishing picks, machetes and axes, a mob of residents stormed the shack Nobunga shares with his wife and stepchildren, dragged him outside and hacked him to death. They attempted to set his body alight. Boksburg police spokesperson Captain Siyabonga Mlumbi said four people had been arrested in connection with the murder. He could not say, however, if the murder was xenophobia-related. Yesterday, two of Nobunga's stepchildren, Mncedisa (26) and Neliswa Ntsento (32), sat inside the family's shack in Extension 5, mourning his death. Their mother, Sylvia Ntsento (52) spent the day visiting her late husband's workplace in Isando, the mortuary and the police station. Behind the family's shack, lay a blood-splattered tyre the mob had used in an attempt to set Nobunga alight. The spot where Nobunga died is a few metres from where another Mozambican, Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, was burnt to death at the height of the xenophobic violence in May. It was also there that Gauteng housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane later led a prayer meeting against xenophobia, an event that local residents shunned. Ntsento said her husband was killed despite the fact that he had a South African identity document. She and her husband had been watching television with their 5-year-old son at about 8.30pm on Friday when the mob arrived at their door. They instructed Nobunga, who held his 4-month-old son on his lap, to stand up before they started searching him. They said they were looking for a gun."When they did not find a gun, they told him to show them his South African identity document. When they noticed that his identity book had his Mozambican address, they dragged him outside," Ntsikwa said. "I screamed and threw myself into the mob, demanding that they kill me too," Ntsento said. She saw her husband sprawled in the alley. The mob was about to necklace him, but the police arrived and the mob fled. Ntsento has left her home, too afraid to return. Mlumbi said the four suspects would appear soon in the Boksburg magistrate's court on charges of murder.