The four men who were burned were spotted in a field in the Lady Frere village of the province on Wednesday evening, while the other two men were found hanging in a forest in the administrative area of Maqhashu, a spokesman for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Eastern Cape, said CNN.
“On Wednesday evening our members were made aware of this particular incident by a member of the ward. They reported that four young men in their twenties were burned alive in the open field in Lady Frere,” said Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana.
“The SAPS members responded to the call and immediately rushed to the crime scene, where they saw the deceased lying on the floor. While the detectives were busy handling the crime scene, another report came through that two more bodies were younger Men were found hanging in a nearby forest in an administrative area called Maqhashu, “added Kinana.
The regional police spokesman added that a seventh victim in the violent attack, who was hospitalized after being seriously injured, also died.
“This means the number has now risen to seven – all South Africans and in their twenties,” Kinana told CNN, adding that the motive for the killing was unknown.
“We have not made any arrests at this point in time. However, we have released seven murders for investigation,” said the police spokesman.
The Eastern Cape, considered the poorest province in South Africa with nearly 1 million unemployed rural residents, has seen an increase in the rate of homicides and other violent crimes, according to statistics from local police.
Lady Frere, a small provincial town, was on the news recently for other unsolved murders.
In February, local media reported that regional police were investigating the possible existence of a suspected “serial killer at large” after three women and a man were found fatally stabbed to death in their homes in Lady Frere. Little was heard about the results of the investigation.
Police asked residents to report with information about the recent attack.
“We will keep all information we receive in the strictest confidence,” Kinana told CNN.