February 25th, 2024

Man arrested after saying he started South African building fire that killed 76 to hide a killing

By Gerald Imray, The Associated Press on January 23, 2024.

FILE — Medics stand by the covered bodies of victims of a deadly blaze in downtown Johannesburg, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. A man has made a shocking claim that he started the building fire in South Africa that killed 76 people last year when he set alight the body of a person he had strangled in the basement of the rundown apartment complex. South African media reported that the man’s surprise claim came when he was testifying Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024 at an ongoing inquiry into the disaster. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay/File)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – A man was arrested Tuesday hours after he claimed responsibility for starting a building fire in South Africa last year that killed 76 people while trying to get rid of the body of someone he had killed.

The man’s apparent confession came as a shock when he was testifying at an ongoing inquiry into the cause of the fire. In a surprise development, he said he had strangled a man in the basement of the rundown apartment complex before setting his body on fire, according to South African media reports of the testimony.

Police said later they had arrested a 29-year-old man in connection with the fire after he had confessed to being involved in the fire at the inquiry. The man, who was not named, was facing 76 counts of murder and 120 counts of attempted murder, and arson, police said in a statement.

The inquiry he was testifying at was established to look into the possible causes of the fire. It’s not a criminal proceeding and his confession was completely unexpected.

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AP Africa news: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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