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Man mistaken for thief dies after assault at funeral wake

A 44-year-old man in Mbundane Township, Bulawayo, died after being assaulted by three men who mistook him for a thief at a funeral wake when he went outside to relieve himself at midnight.

Police have confirmed the arrest of the three suspects: Mpumelelo Sibanda (45), Edwin Dube (55), and Travor Mpofu (37) from Mbundane Township.

The victim was identified as Christopher Rabvu.

Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube, stated that on May 25, 2024, at around 7 pm, Rabvu, from Emakhandeni Suburb, attended a funeral wake at a house in Mbundane. Around midnight, Rabvu went outside to relieve himself.

Insp. Ncube said Rabvu then encountered the trio, who suspected him of being a criminal and assaulted him with a whip multiple times.

“The now deceased bumped into the accused persons, who manhandled him, suspecting he was a criminal, and they assaulted him using whips several times all over the body,” said the provincial police spokesperson.

On May 26, 2024, around 11 am, Rabvu’s condition deteriorated. He was taken to Tshabalala police station where a report of the assault was made. The police called for an ambulance, and Rabvu was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital where he was admitted for three days and later discharged.

Insp. Ncube said Rabvu’s condition did not improve, and he was re-admitted to Mpilo Hospital on June 8, 2024, at around 8 am. He passed away on June 9, 2024, at around 5 am.

Insp. Ncube urged the public not to take the law into their own hands but to bring suspects to the police for vetting.

The deceased’s cousin, Quite Masiliva, said Rabvu would be buried on Friday.

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