South Africa News

3 foreign nationals accused of murdering German tourist remanded in custody

Three foreign nationals were remanded in custody when they appeared in the Northam Magistrate’s Court in Limpopo, facing charges of murder, in connection with the robbery and killing of a German tourist.

Limpopo police said the case against Abstain Madvimdo, 24; Jan Thabonga Moshabi, 35; and Thomas Moyo, 36, was postponed to next month.

“Three suspects who brutally assaulted and killed a male German tourist, 74, at Northam in Waterberg District on Saturday have briefly appeared before the Northam Magistrate Court,” said Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.

“Abstain Madvimdo, Jan Thabonga Moshabi, and Thomas Moyo were remanded in police custody and their case was postponed to March 4 for bail application and further police investigations.”

Ledwaba said the murdered tourist has been identified as 74-year-old Westphal Gunter Hermann Friedrich.

On Monday, the publication reported that the German man departed from Botswana on Friday, and drove into South Africa in a small hatchback on Saturday.

“He arrived at Lephalale in Waterberg District on Saturday morning, and as he drove, he offered an unknown male hitchhiker a lift,” Ledwaba said at the time.

Along the way, the tourist apparently requested his passenger to assist with finding accommodation around North West, before he could proceed with his tour across South Africa.

“Preliminary reports indicate that the pair established a friendship to an extent that the victim requested the man (hitchhiker) to drive his vehicle. On arrival at the said accommodation, supposedly in Moruleng (North West), the suspect suggested they pass by a liquor outlet where they had a few drinks,” said Ledwaba.

“That is when the suspect informed his two friends that the elderly man is expecting a substantial amount of money from his family abroad.”

Police believe the hitchhiker then teamed up with two accomplices, before they attacked the elderly visitor.

“The suspect and his two friends drove with the unsuspecting victim to his place, where upon arrival, they tied him up and started to assault him while demanding his bank pin code. They also searched him and took an undisclosed amount of cash and other valuables,” said Ledwaba.

The three assailants then removed the vehicle’s number plates and drove with the victim while assaulting him to Northam in Limpopo.

Police said to avoid detection, the assailants used a secluded gravel road.

“When they reached a certain farm, two suspects dragged the victim from the vehicle to dump him in the bushes, while the driver remained in the vehicle,” said Ledwaba.

“Security officials, together with a member of a rural safety, while patrolling, noticed a suspicious vehicle parked at night and without number plates. They stopped to investigate, and that’s when they noticed the suspect’s blood-stained T-shirt, and they notified the police.”

When police officers arrived at the scene, they started with initial investigations. Two of the three assailants had already fled the scene.

The body of the tourist was found in nearby bushes.

“An intelligence-driven operation was activated, and the two suspects were arrested in North West province later in the evening (on Saturday), in possession of some of the deceased’s belongings,” said Ledwaba.

Meanwhile, the provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo province, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has commended the police for the swift arrest of the suspected trio.

“The victim had trusted this ruthless criminal (the hitchhiker), but he turned against him, and together with his friends, tortured and brutally killed him,” said Hadebe.

“We will work hard to secure a water-tight case that will result in a lengthy conviction for these perpetrators.”

-IOL

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