South Africa suspects questioned after toddler murders

  • 16 October 2013
  • From the section Africa

Three people in South Africa have been detained over the murders of two toddlers that have sparked riots in Diepsloot township, police have said.

The bodies of two girls, aged two and three, were found dumped in community toilets on Tuesday morning after they went missing on Saturday.

Protests then broke out with residents accusing the police of failing to protect the community.

President Jacob Zuma urged people not to take the law into their own hands.

"These gruesome incidents of extreme torture and murder of our children do not belong to the society that we are continuously striving to build together," South Africa's Sowetan newspaper quoted Mr Zuma as saying.

"We condemn these murders in the strongest possible terms."

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said three people had been taken in for questioning and that police were also searching for a fourth person, the South African Press Association reports.

He said they were also investigating a possible link between the murders and that of a five-year-old girl who was found dead in the same area in September.

"It is suspected that she was sexually violated and strangled. A suspect who was taken in for questioning relating to the murder was later released," Lt-Col Dlamini said.

According to South Africa's Star newspaper, residents in Diepsloot, a poor community north of Johannesburg, barricaded roads and burnt tyres on Tuesday.

Foreign-owned shops were looted and journalists attacked, it reported.

The two girls, who were cousins, went missing on Saturday from outside their home while playing with friends.

The BBC's Milton Nkosi in Diepsloot says the township does not have a police station and officers work from temporary shipping containers.

The tragedy has left residents in shock, he adds.

One single mother told our reporter that she fears for her young three-year-old son when she is away at work.

She is one of the very few township residents to have a job, he says.

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