Friday, June 21, 2024

South African police arrest man for starting a fire killing 76 people

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

A man who claimed responsibility for starting a fire that killed 76 people last year in South Africa has been arrested by the Police.

The suspect confessed the alleged crime saying he ignited the blaze while trying to dispose of the body of a man he had strangled.

His confession came while testifying at an inquiry into the causes of one of South Africa’s worst fire disasters.

He is now facing 76 counts of murder, 120 counts of attempted murder, and a charge of arson.

Details of arson attack

The man, whose identity is yet to be disclosed, said at the inquiry that he killed another man on the night of the fire.

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He beat him and strangled him, according to South African media reports of the testimony.

The suspect said he then poured gasoline on the man’s body and set it alight with a match, according to the reports.

He testified that he was a drug user and was told to kill the man by a drug dealer who lived in the building.

The inquiry was established to look into the possible causes of the fire.

The panel in charge of the inquiry ordered that he should not be identified after his testimony, and a lawyer leading the questioning of witnesses said that it could not be used against him, because it was not a criminal proceeding.

South African media referred to him as “Mr X” when reporting on his claim that he believed he caused the fire that ripped through the dilapidated five-storey building in downtown Johannesburg, killing dozens, including at least 12 children.

More than 80 people were injured in the night-time blaze. South African police said the man would appear in court soon, but did not give a date.

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