May 20, 2017 / 2:26 PM / in 3 months

Abducted South African prince of Mandela's clan found unharmed

FILE PHOTO: Jailed AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Zwelibanzi Dalindyebo speaks to journalists in Pretoria July 10, 2013. Dalindyebo is the brother of Prince Mankunku Dalindyebo who was found unharmed after he was abducted by four gunmen in the city of Mtata in the Eastern Cape province, police said.Sumaya Hisham/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A prince of the AbaThembu clan of South Africa's late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was found on Saturday unharmed after being abducted by four gunmen in the city of Mtata in Eastern Cape province, police said.

Prince Mankunku Dalindyebo is the brother of jailed King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who began a 12-year sentence in December 2015 for arson, kidnapping and assault.

"He was found this morning near Mtata and he's unharmed," police spokesman Mzukisi Fatyela said. The motive remains unknown.

The brothers are traditional leaders of Mandela's clan in a poor, rural region of the Eastern Cape. South Africa recognizes several royal families, who command respect, especially in the countryside.

Local media reported the family has been feuding over who should be acting king as the monarch - a self-proclaimed marijuana smoker, widely known as the "Dagga King", a name derived from local slang for the substance - serves his time.

Some back Prince Mankunku's claim to the throne but the provincial government in February officially recognized the king's son as the acting ruler of the nation.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Dale Hudson

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