3 men accused of hijacking taxis killed after being tortured, forced to drink acid
Police in Witbank, Mpumalanga, have launched a manhunt for suspects who allegedly killed three men by forcing them to drink acid on Friday afternoon.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said a fourth man, who survived the ordeal, confirmed to police that they were kidnapped, assaulted and forced to drink acid by a group of people linked to the taxi business.
The man is in serious condition at a local hospital.
Hlathi said the survivor told police that they were accused of being behind several taxi hijackings in Witbank and surrounding areas.
He added that local police received information earlier on Friday that four men had been kidnapped by a group of people associated with the taxi business and had been taken to a local taxi rank.
"It is alleged that the four victims were kidnapped and taken to a taxi rank in Vosman Extension 2 in Witbank. Our members swiftly responded to the information. When they arrived there, they were told that the victims have been moved to another taxi rank in Extension 11.
"Police again swiftly rushed to the second taxi rank. When they arrived there, that is where they made the gruesome discovery," Hlathi said.
He explained that police went into an office at the second taxi rank and found three dead bodies while the fourth man was in pain.
"The survivor told police that they had been severely beaten and forced to drink acid which resulted in three of the men he was tortured with losing their lives. The deceased were certified dead on the scene, while the survivor was rushed to hospital," said Hlathi.
He said it was not yet known which association the suspects belonged to.
Hlathi said there were several active taxi hijacking cases in Witbank and surrounding areas. However, he could not confirm if the deceased and the survivor were linked to those cases.