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Meyiwa murder charge man released

Murder and robbery charges have been dropped against a man who was arrested over the killing of South African football captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Zenokuhle Mbatha was released because there was "insufficient evidence" to continue with a case against him, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said.

Mr Mbatha, who police said is 25, did not appear in court in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, for the charges to be formally withdrawn in order to protect him and his family, Mr Mncube said.

Goalkeeper Meyiwa was shot on October 26 in an apparent house robbery while visiting his girlfriend in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg.

The killing of the popular player has angered South Africans who are used to high levels of violent crime.

Police launched a huge operation to find the killers, with Mr Mbatha arrested two weeks ago and charged with murder and robbery. Police said witnesses identified him in a police lineup.

But Mr Mncube said some of the evidence against him was "contradictory" and prosecutors felt they would not be able to secure a conviction on either of the two charges.

Police announced the day after the killing that they were searching for three suspects. Two men entered the house where the 27-year-old was visiting his girlfriend, a South African singer and celebrity, and demanded mobile phones, police said.

An accomplice waited outside and Meyiwa was fatally shot in an altercation with the suspects, who then ran away, police said.

No other arrests have been announced, although police say they have questioned 13 people. The police force has offered a reward of nearly 23,000 US dollars (£14,500) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killers.

Meyiwa had recently taken over as South Africa captain and helped the country go four games unbeaten in qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations.

South Africa will on Saturday play its first game since his death in Meyiwa's home town of Durban as a tribute.

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