South African man escapes zombies but not police

JOHANNESBURG Tue Feb 7, 2012 9:26pm IST

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police have arrested a suspected fraudster for impersonating the award-winning traditional singer Khulekani Kwakhe "Mgqumeni" Khumalo, who died in 2009.

The unnamed man, who appeared in court in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province on Tuesday, had said he had not died but was kidnapped by a witchdoctor who cast a spell on him and imprisoned him in a cave with zombies, local media reported.

Thousands of people in Khumalo's rural eastern home village of Esiggumeni, turned out to see the man at the weekend. Riot police with truncheons and water cannons were deployed to keep the crowd under control.

"I have always been alive," he was quoted as telling the crowd by the Independent Online news site. "I have lost a lot of weight but it is me."

Police said the suspect's fingerprints do not match those of the famed singer. The man also does not have the same scars on his face as Khumalo had.

"Detectives conducting the enquiry were convinced that the matter required criminal investigation," police said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz)

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