Three men have been arrested in Creighton in connection with the murder of an Ethiopian street hawker who had been missing since May 3, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Sunday.
It is believed that the victim died of injuries he suffered after being tied to and dragged by a moving car.
The suspects, expected to appear in the Ixopo Magistrate’s Court on Monday, were arrested on Saturday in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 30-year-old Thomas Tamerat Iban, said police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge.
“Iban went missing… after he went to Mahehle in Creighton to collect money owed to him (by one of his customers),” he said.
Police later found Iban’s car, a Toyota Corolla 1.6, abandoned in Donnybrook.
Two of the men were arrested by police in Umlazi for stock theft and have since been linked to Iban’s murder, Mdunge said.
One of them volunteered to show police the location of Iban’s body, he said. The body was found in a stream.
Police believe he died after being dragged by a car. Iban’s legs had been tied together and his arms had been tied to the car, Mdunge said.
Mdunge said the men faced charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.
Police are searching for a fourth man.
Iban had been living with his brother and a friend in Umzimkhulu.
His friend, Gizachew Ersumo, 33, said Iban left home at about 3pm on May 3 and by 6pm his phone was switched off.
“When we couldn’t reach him on his cell, we went to Mahehle, which is about 35-40km away from home,” he said. “When we got to where he went, there was no one there. We went back there again on Friday to find his T-shirt and key ring, but we still couldn’t reach him on his cell.”
Since his arrival from Doyogana in Ethiopia in 2007, Ersumo said Iban made a living by going from house to house selling blankets, sheets and duvets.
“His brother is in so much pain,” Ersumo said. “So am I, because he was like a brother to me. He was always willing to help when I needed him.”