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Staff Reporter

A double murder suspect who has been on the run for 15 years is expected to appear in the Bethlehem Magistrates Court after he was arrested Wednesday at his hideout in Gauteng.

Thapelo Samuel Mokoena, 40, who also went by the name Mlangeni, is facing charges of murder, attempted murder and escaping from lawful custody just a day before he was to be sentenced.

His arrest, at Hlanganani Mine in Gauteng, follows a media campaign in which the Free State police appealed to the public for his whereabouts.

He was wanted in connection with the alleged killing of a farmer and her employee in 2004.

It is not yet clear if he was working at the Sibanye-Stillwater-owned Hlanganani gold mine or whether he was involved in more criminal activities during the time he evaded arrest.

“The case is still in court, so we don’t know if he was linked to any crimes where he was since he’s been gone for 15 years,” provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo told The Free Stater.

Mokoena is believed to be from Matsikeng in QwaQwa.

According to the police, Mokoena and his four accomplices attacked three victims at Dankbaardheid Farm in Bethlehem on August 23, 2004.

The farm owner, Johanna Van nie Kerk, 72, and Tororo Elias Tsholo, 43, were fatally shot, leaving the third victim seriously injured.

They were all arrested as they tried to flee the scene after the police were alerted by the injured victim.

Mokoena escaped from Makwane Police Station on July 27, 2005, a day before their sentencing.

Three of his co-accused were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and the fourth was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mokoena is said to have evaded the police on several occasions as they tried to arrest him.

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