Free State police have launched a search after two families in one neighbourhood were attacked in the early hours of Monday – the attacks left five people dead and an 11-month-old baby in the hospital.

Free State police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said the killers first attacked a couple’s home in Marakong Village in QwaQwa.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the wife Moliehi Thoabala, 38, had been shot dead. Inside the house, her husband Safolo Mofokeng, 36, was burnt to death.

Mbambo said after attacking the couple, the killers proceeded to a house within walking distance and attacked a sleeping family.

Mother Relebohile Lemeko, 48, and her two children Masabata Lemeko, 25, and Tatolo Lemeko, 22, were burnt to death in their shack. The attackers also hit an 11-month-old boy with a knobkerrie on the nose. He is in the hospital recovering.

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She said the same assailants attacked the two families. The motive of the attacks was still under investigation.

Four other children in the Lemeko household, Mbambo said, managed to escape the attack and alert their relatives, who called the police.


“The children who escaped, ran to their other relatives and informed them that people shot at them and burnt the house. When the relatives arrived at the scene, they found the baby and rushed him to hospital.

“The police are currently investigating a case of murder, arson and attempted murder. They have also launched a search for at least three suspects and are asking for the public to assist.

“We are currently following all leads, and a team led by the district commander of Thabo Mofutsanyane, Major-General Jan Tsotetsi, has been assigned with investigation of these cases. It is with this that we request the public to assist us with information that may lead to the identification and/or arrest of the perpetrators,” acting provincial commissioner Major-General Solly Lesia said.

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