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Boy (9) survives ritual killing

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NHLANGANO-In the wake of the ritual killing of a 10-year-old girl in Shiselweni this past weekend, a young boy has been discovered to have also been attacked by the same men.

The nine-year-old boy who was with the young girl at Nkhungwini in the Shiselweni region has lived to tell the story of the dreadful day and how he escaped from the clutches of the men who are currently at large. He claims to have witnessed the shocking ordeal as the 10 year old girl was beaten and killed before being mutilated of her eye and leg. The boy was also heavily assaulted and stabbed. Police preliminary investigations suspect that this was a ritual killing following the mutilation of the girl’s body.

The young boy, name withheld for ethical reasons, was yesterday transferred to another hospital from the Nhlangano Health Centre. Due to the fact he was severely assaulted using a knobkerrie and stabbed three times on the face and stomach by two unknown men, his mouth may be permanently dysfunctional as his jaw was dislocated. His face was also swollen due to the assault.

The deceased and the nine year old survivor were both doing grade III. The shocking incident happened on Saturday between 10am and 1pm. This was the same day Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku was a guest speaker during a campaign against child abuse and domestic violence at an event held at Mtsambama constituency.

Interviewed on his hospital bed, with consent from his mother, the young boy alleged that he was accompanying the deceased who was sent by her grandfather to charge his cellphone at a Vilakati homestead at around 10am. He said they brought with them containers to fetch water on their way back home at Hholweni River within the area. While filling the containers with water, the young boy said two men emerged from the bushes and ordered them to keep quiet or else they would be killed.

“They then produced knives and knobkerries. One held my friend tight while the other pressed me to the ground. We were assaulted with the knobkerries and stabbed. I could hear my friend screaming as the men stabbed her to death and cut off her body parts which they put inside a black plastic bag. As I was bleeding and crying out loud I managed to escape and ran for dear life,” said the young boy.

He said he ran towards the direction of his homestead, bleeding and screaming where he relayed to his relatives what had happened. His mother was not present at home as she was preparing for a wedding for one of their relatives. A search for the girl ensued and her body was found in a forest mutilated. It was taken to the mortuary by police. The boy’s mother said there were slim chances that her son would ever talk properly again. She said she feared for the safety of her child as the killers might come back and finish him off. During the interview, about five police officers from the Shiselweni Lukhozi arrived and interviewed the child.

* Most details deliberately withheld to protect survivor

...it’s not the first time such happens - Indvuna

NHLANGANO-Nkhungwini Indvuna Albert Nyembe decried the act and prayed for the immediate arrest of the killers.

He said it was not the first time such deaths occured in the area. He said more than five people were killed and their bodies were mutilated in this manner in the past though he did not have immediate dates and details off the cuff. Police Assistant Public Relations Officer Inspector Stephen Dlamini said so far, no arrests had been made.

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