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Makhado   1
Date of Birth
2002 18
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Story by
on 2002-01-07 16:41:53

Bujumbura -

Preliminary investigations into the murder of a South African soldier = serving in a protection force for politicians in Burundi showed that he had been strangled, a Burundian military official said on Saturday.

"They [investigators] have established that he died by strangulation," army spokesman Augustin Nzabampema told Reuters.

"South African investigators are working with investigators from Burundi. There will be an official statement as soon as something [more] emerges from the investigations."

A South African National Defence Force spokesman named the dead man as Elvis Makado, 43, and gave his military rank as senior accounting clerk.

The body was discovered on Friday in a derelict house in the outlying suburb of Kinama, one of the poorest parts of the capital Bujumbura where some 700 South African troops are guarding members of the transitional government installed last year.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Friday that it was believed that the man, the first member of the contingent to die since the deployment began in late October, had been murdered.

South Africa sent the troops to protect members of a new power-sharing government inaugurated on November 1 as part of efforts to end an ethnic war in the tiny central African country that has killed more than 200 000 people since 1993.

The administration was sworn in under a peace plan mediated by former President Nelson Mandela, aiming to end years of strife between the minority Tutsi community and the ethnic Hutu majority.

Several Kinama residents living near the derelict house said they believed the man had been killed elsewhere and his body dumped in the house.

"If somebody killed him here he would have made a noise and we, as the neighbours, would hear him screaming. They brought him here dead, because they wanted to accuse us, the people here [of the killing]," said one resident, who gave his name only as Ngendakumana.

Another neighbour, who gave his name as Dieudonne, said: "The man was very strongly built and must have been powerful ... The man's face was swollen. We don't know what they struck him with."

The house where the body was found lies on the outer limits of Kinama in an area verging on open fields that separate the mostly-Hutu suburb from Tenga, where rebel Hutu fighters have a stronghold.

Hutu rebels frequently carry out attacks on Bujumbura's outskirts from Tenga, less than 10km north of the capital. More intense fighting between the Tutsi-dominated army and Hutu rebels take splace deep in the countryside.

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