By Mashudu Netsianda
A man from Tsholotsho was axed to death while his suspected 14-year-old girlfriend had her stomach ripped open resulting in her intestines protruding, allegedly by a rival suitor in a suspected love triangle.
This emerged when one of the suspects, Ntuthuko Sibanda (22) filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
Sibanda, who is facing charges of attempted murder and murder, allegedly ganged up with his friends identified as Mduduzi Ncube, Lawrence Gumede, Langton Moyo and Mthokozisi Dube and fatally attacked the deceased Sifiso Ncube with axes, stones and a knobkerrie in a fight over the juvenile.
Sibanda later turned his anger on the girl, axing her in the stomach leaving her intestines protruding. The girl was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo for treatment. The incident occurred on April 18 this year at Akhona Bottle Store in Tsholotsho.
In his bail statement, Sibanda, who is a self actor, is denying both charges, arguing that there were no compelling reasons warranting his continued detention.
He dismissed the State’s assertion that if granted bail he would abscond, arguing that the State has the onus to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
As part of the bail conditions, Sibanda is offering to report at Tsholotsho Police Station once a week as well as not interfering with State witnesses.
The State, which is being represented by Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya, is opposing the application, arguing that due to the gravity and seriousness of the offences, Sibanda was likely to abscond if released on bail.
“Due to the serious charges that the applicant is facing and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence, it would not be in the interests of justice to release him on bail. He recklessly and mercilessly attacked two people with an axe resulting in one of them succumbing to the injuries. There would be a public outcry if the applicant is released into the community where he committed the offence,” argued Ms Ngwenya.
“Sibanda is facing a serious charge such that if convicted he is likely to be sentenced to a lengthy custodial sentence. This is likely to induce the applicant to abscond to avoid standing trial.”
In papers before the court, it is alleged that on April 18 this year, Sifiso was on his way to visit the juvenile when Sibanda and his accomplices confronted him at Akhona Business Centre in Magumandwini area in Tsholotsho.
Sibanda accused the deceased of dating girls from their neighbourhood. It is further alleged that Sibanda claimed to have long had interest in the girl who happens to be his childhood crush and blamed the deceased for taking away his chances of winning her.
Sibanda and his accomplices had a dispute with Sifiso over the girl before they indiscriminately attacked him with stones, axes and knobkerries. Sifiso sustained severe head injuries.
Sibanda later turned his anger to the girl, axing her in the stomach leaving her intestines protruding. Both the girl and the deceased were rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where Sifiso later died.
The other four suspects were also arrested and they are on remand awaiting trial. The Chronicle