The business, science behind ritual killings

The murder of Thabelo Mazolo in Zimbabwe inspired Bruce Ndlovu, the author of the article reproduced below, to dwell on the phenomenon of ritualistic murders, muti or muthi murders as they are called in Southern Africa. The staggering details of recent murder cases in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are shocking. The author is to be commended for his frankness to expose and discuss these heinous crimes which have no place in the 21st century.  

Warning: the following article contains many graphic details as to how these murders are committed (webmaster FVDK). 

Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The suspected ritual killer, Tawana Ngwenya (right) and his disillusioned father, Buzwani Ngwenya (left).

Published: June 21, 2020
By: Nehanda Radio – Bruce Ndlovu

“You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror,” the message to Tawana Ngwenya reportedly read. “Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.”

The messages, from a South African sangoma, were allegedly part of a chain of instructions to Ngwenya, messages that allegedly led him to take the life of Tawana Mazolo at Matsheumhlophe, Bulawayo.

The messages were witchcraft delivered digitally, as the unknown sangoma, from his lair somewhere in one of South Africa’s nine provinces gave Ngwenya instructions on how to spill blood and in the aftermath, prepare for a life of riches.

The details of the alleged murder are gruesome. Half of Mazolo’s body, from the waist down, was missing while her breasts and palms were cut off. On the surface, the tragic killing of Mazolo already looks like a ritual murder. The grizzly details suggest that this indeed is the case.

After all, every once in a while, the pages of publications in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries drip with the blood of innocents murdered at the altar of self-enrichment.

There was the case of Edmore Rundogo, whose dismembered remains were found in Maun, about 500km from Botswana’s second city of Francistown.

Rundogo had left his home in Lobengula West (Bulawayo) in search of a better life in Botswana. Instead of the proverbial greener pastures on the other side of the Plumtree border, he had found machete-wielding men who savagely murdered him, ripping his heart out.

The five killers also cut off his hands, feet, privates and took part of his brains. The killers, after being told by the traditional healer that had hired them that they had killed the wrong person, had then tried to burn his body.

South of the Limpopo, there was the case of 10-year-old Masego Kgomo, a schoolgirl who was still alive when Brian Mangwale ripped out her womb.

During the course of his trial for murder, Mangwale would change his story three times, a fact that the courts took as evidence that he had no remorse for his actions. In one of the three accounts he claimed that he and a group of friends had taken the young girl to a traditional healer in Soshanguve, who gave them a concoction to drink before he dragged the crying Masego into a room.

The girl was still crying when the traditional healer returned with her 10 minutes later and started sprinkling something on her body.

Mangwale claimed the medicine man had then returned with a knife and a clay pot and ordered Masego to lie down on a bed.

When she refused, she was forcibly held down while the traditional healer stabbed her in the stomach, put his hand inside her body and removed something that looked like a ball, which he put into the clay pot. He also removed her left breast.

Mangwale told the magistrate he heard the others had wrapped the child’s body in plastic and drank muthi before dumping her body in the veld on the instructions of the traditional healer.

While his testimony kept changing, the courts were convinced that Kgomo had died after meeting the nasty end of Mangwale’s knife. A life in prison sentence was handed to the killer.

Body parts are big business in Africa, but particularly in South Africa where trade in human body parts is lucrative. In the race to get rich in places like the City of Gold, Johannesburg, some believe that the key to getting their hand on all that glitters is taking a shortcut.

Many Zimbabweans, like Mazolo, can trace their gruesome ritual death to powerful sangomas south of the Limpopo. While Ngwenya was the one allegedly wielding the instrument of death when Mazolo took her last painful breath, this is not always the case.

Middle men, like in the case of Mangwale, are usually the ones that handle the dirty work. According to South African scholar Louise Vincent, certain gangs specialise in killing people for the harvesting of body parts only.

“It is believed that certain murder gangs specialise in muthi killings. Unlike human sacrifice where death is the express purpose of the act, in muthi-related killings, death is an anticipated and accepted by-product of the garnering of human organs but it is not the main aim.

Indeed, it is often preferred that the victim remain alive during the process. When body parts, including internal organs, are removed while the victim is still alive it is believed that the power of the resultant medicine will be greatly enhanced. Depending on the wants of potential customers, the instructions that the sangomas give specifics.

“Sangomas seldom do the killing themselves. The order will include not only specifications as to which particular body part or parts are required — testicles for virility purposes, fat from the breasts or abdomen for luck, tongues to smooth the path to a lover’s heart — but the very specific manner in which they are to be collected.

“The use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its literal consumption by another. For this reason, a victim is often carefully chosen — not just any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a man with several healthy children.”

Those who grew up in Zimbabwe urban areas will recall how the shadow of ritual murder has never been far off the horizon. Some, no doubt, know of the stories of businessmen who are said to have suddenly turned rich after they lost a spouse or a child. That child, or any other loved one, is assumed to be the blood sacrifice that was necessary for their businesses to turn a sudden corner.

Such perceptions of course, may be nothing but jealous rumour, but they are not helped by actual cases like that of Robert Tazvireva, a bottle store and general dealership owner in Magunje who allegedly instructed Samuel Mushonga in 2017 to murder his own sister so he could enhance his business.

After Mushonga had allegedly fatally stabbed his sister and hacked off her head, he delivered it to Tazvireva who told him to hide it in a nearby bush. Such instances, have helped convince many that businesspeople profit from the spilling of blood.

“‘If the business is not doing well, get a boy or a girl’s head — someone who has a future — and your business will have a future too,” said Dr Gordon Chavunduka time president of the Zimbabwean Traditional Healers Association, once said.

Those who grew up in Bulawayo in the late 90s will remember the myth of men who reportedly drove around the city with a blood sucking frog, looking for unsuspecting victims to profit from.

While such urban legends have never been confirmed, they are an entertaining reminder that people live on the constant lookout for people trying to profit off their ritual sacrifice.

“I recall vividly growing up in one township in Zimbabwe. This was just when public transport in the form of the Toyota Hiace taxi had just been introduced in the country,” says Fanuel Hadzidzi of Gender Links.

“At that tender age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them some sweets.

“The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with some body parts missing. Rumours were that businesspeople were taking the children’s heads for instance to Durban in South Africa and were trading them off for the taxis. Weren’t we all scared!”

With claims of human body parts sold by vendors on the streets of South Africa and other countries, it may be a long time before ritual killings lose their lustre to those trying to make a quick dollar.

Source: Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The Limpopo River Basin (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe). Source map: The Economist

Zimbabwe: Bulawayo ritual murder – Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Sometimes a murder results in more than one victim…. 

I previously reported on this case in my June 17 posting, ‘Suspected ritual killers in first court appearance‘. Below some more information on this grisly ritual murder. Of course, I offer my condolences to the victim’s parents and other relatives. However, I also pity the murderer’s relatives, who will have to live with the crime committed by their relative, son, brother, cousin. The father of one of the suspected murderers speaks out in two articles which have been reproduced below (webmaster FVDK).

Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Tawana Ngwenya, suspected murderer (right) and his father Buzwani Ngwenya (left)

Published: June 13, 2020
By: Chronicle – Zimbabwe -Temba Dube, Deputy News Editor 

THE father of a 20-year-old man who allegedly killed a 25-year-old woman in Bulawayo, dismembered the body and put the remains in a drum filled with acid, yesterday opened up about the grisly ritual murder.

Tawana Ngwenya was arrested in Harare on Thursday as a suspect in the brutal killing of Ms Thabelo Mazolo.

Her body was cut in half and the lower part has not been located.

The breasts and palms had been sliced off.

The rest of the body was stashed in a drum in a toilet at a guest house where she worked and lived with Tawana and his father Mr Buzwani Ngwenya (60) who was the caretaker.

The community around Fortunes Gate in Matsheumhlophe where the murder occurred continues to express disbelief and horror at the callous killing.

Tawana allegedly acted on the instructions of a South Africa-based sangoma to kill Mazolo, so he could get rich.

Colleagues alleged they saw a message on his phone instructing him how to sell his soul for riches in a blood ritual that involved killing and mutilating Mazolo.

It is suspected Mazolo could have been killed between 29 May and 1 June when she went missing.

On 1 June Mr Ngwenya received a message from Mazolo’s phone informing him she would be away for a week.

Tawana fled to Harare on Tuesday when his father continued asking him about Mazolo’s whereabouts.

Mazolo’s uncle Mr Benny Moyo yesterday said she would be buried at her rural home in Zhombe tomorrow.

“The family will discuss the way forward in Zhombe,” said Mr Moyo.

Tawana is expected in the city today to assist police with investigations.

The elderly Mr Ngwenya yesterday said the day he heard his son could have committed the heinous act destroyed him.

“He was a quiet young man and seemed to be in good books with Thabelo. She would call him for assistance whenever she was in town on business. They appeared to get along very well. I’m crushed to learn he could have killed her in this beastly manner,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said he has been seated at a shopping centre in the city the whole day as he could not process what his son had done.

“I am afraid to even approach Thabelo’s family but we obviously have to meet over this at some time. I need some respectable people to accompany me to talk to them. These people have been very good to us.

“I do not know what evil spirit possessed him to do this,” said Mr Ngwenya.

“Imagine we were looking for her and he was assisting us yet he could have known she was already dead. I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

He said his son had few friends and he could not imagine which one of them had initiated him into satanic rituals to kill people.

Neighbours said Tawana was soft spoken, polite and always smartly dressed.

They said there was nothing in his behaviour that showed he was capable of hurting another person.

“He was a smart formal dresser. He never wore casual stuff like jeans. He worked at a company that sells chemicals and was known for selling detergents in the area. He looked like a focused young man. I cannot believe he committed this cold-blooded killing. I guess the quiet ones always shock us,” said a neighbour on condition of anonymity.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube yesterday said investigations were still in progress.

“The suspect will be here tomorrow to assist with further investigations,” he said.

Tawana did his O-levels at Allan Wilson High School in Harare.

He was said to be an average student who stayed out of trouble. 

Source: Dad opens up on ritual killer son

Related article: 

He Was A Quiet Young Man – Father Of The 20 Year Old Bulawayo Ritual Murderer Opens Up

Published: June 13, 2020
By: Pindula News

Mr Buzwani Ngwenya the father of 20-year-old Tawana Ngwenya who is alleged to have brutally murdered Thabelo Mazolo, and mutilated her body and cutting off palms and breast before stuffing her body into a drum of acid under the instruction of a South African based traditional healer in a get rich quick ritual has opened up about the shocking gruesome murder committed by his young son, The Chronicle reports.

Speaking to the publication, Ngwenya said:

He was a quiet young man and seemed to be in good books with Thabelo. She would call him for assistance whenever she was in town on business. They appeared to get along very well. I’m crushed to learn he could have killed her in this beastly manner.

I am afraid to even approach Thabelo’s family but we obviously have to meet over this at some time. I need some respectable people to accompany me to talk to them. These people have been very good to us. I do not know what evil spirit possessed him to do this.

Imagine we were looking for her and he was assisting us yet he could have known she was already dead. I feel like I’m losing my mind.

Neighbours who also spoke to the publication about Tawana also said he was polite, respectfully and a soft-spoken young man who was always formally dressed:

He was a smart formal dresser. He never wore casual stuff like jeans. He worked at a company that sells chemicals and was known for selling detergents in the area. He looked like a focused young man. I cannot believe he committed this cold-blooded killing. I guess the quiet ones always shock us.

The Allan Wilson schooled Tawana will be transferred to Bulawayo where he will assist the police with investigations, while his unfortunate victim Thabelo Mazolo will be buried in Zhombe tomorrow.

Source: He Was A Quiet Young Man – Father Of The 20 Year Old Bulawayo Ritual Murderer Opens Up

Another related article:

Grisly ritual murder in affluent suburb

Murder victim Thabelo Mazolo

Published: June 12, 2020
By: Chronicle – Zimbabwe -Temba Dube, Deputy News Editor 

IN a bizarre suspected ritual killing, a 25-year-old woman was sawn in half and part of her body was mutilated and stashed into a drum filled with acid in Bulawayo.

Part of the body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.

Police yesterday arrested a suspect, Tawana Ngwenya (20), the son of a caretaker where the woman lived. He was arrested in Harare where he had allegedly fled.

Tawana allegedly had a message from a sangoma based in South Africa which instructed him on how to kill Ms Thabelo Mazolo so he could get rich.

Mazolo’s sister secured employment for Ngwenya at a company in Bulawayo and he was staying in Matsheumhlophe suburb at a guest house where Mazolo worked, with his father Mr Buzwani Ngwenya (60) who was the caretaker.

“You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror. Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out,” read part of the message that allegedly had additional instructions on rites that Ngwenya was supposed to perform on the body.

Sources who told the Chronicle about the message said they freaked out and have not been able to eat or sleep, since the body was discovered on Wednesday morning.

Mr Ngwenya said Mazolo moved to Bulawayo from Harare just before the national Covid-19 induced lockdown.

He last saw Mazolo alive on May 29 when she said she was visiting someone in Sizinda suburb.

On June 1, he received a message from Mazolo’s phone informing him she would be away for about a week.

Tawana told him she could have visited friends after he discovered she had not been home since May 29.

He said Tawana disappeared from home on Tuesday when he asked him if he knew Mazolo’s whereabouts and he switched off his phone. “Thabelo’s phone had stopped ringing. On Wednesday there was a strong smell of something rotting from the main house. I called the police. We opened the door with a spare key and found the body in a blue drum in the toilet. It had been cut up and some of Thabelo’s clothes appeared to have been used to wipe up plenty of blood,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said Tawana was the last of three children who was always quiet and had never shown homicidal tendencies.

Mr Benny Moyo, Mazolo’s uncle, said the family had tried to locate her when she suddenly became unreachable on her phone.

“I went to her workplace and each time I would be told she is busy or had just left. We are devastated to learn she has been killed. We hear the suspect was arrested in Harare today. We may have more information when the police complete investigations,” said Mr Moyo.

Miss Nomathemba Ndaba, Mr Ngwenya’s employer, choked on her words in an interview.

“At least Tawana who is suspected to have done this horrible thing has been arrested,” she said. “We are very sorry for Thabelo’s family but we want to warn young people against partaking in rituals. He may die in jail after this. Young people must be careful who they play with.”

Chronicle went on the ground yesterday and unearthed grisly details of what could have happened.

Tawana who did his O-Levels at Allan Wilson High School in Harare was said to be a loner. He allegedly borrowed a hacksaw from a neighbour on May 25 saying he wanted to prune some trees and cut a drum.

It is suspected the hacksaw was used to cut up the body.

Neighbours said around that time, he said he was looking for sulphuric acid.

He allegedly made inquiries at a company along Khami Road but was told it was out of stock.

Tawana’s colleagues said he seemed spooked and was reluctant to have them spend time at his home with him.

“He was acting weird. It was as if he expected someone to suddenly appear behind him and harm him. He was furtive and withdrew further into himself. When he left, he said he was going to Mutare. We heard a relative had seen him in Kadoma. We are all shocked that he killed someone,” said a friend who declined to be named.

There were heart-tugging moments when some neighbours burst into tears as they talked about Thabelo.

“We had known her for a short time but she was nice to all of us,” said a woman who asked not to be named.

“Tawana was slim and looked frail. If he did it, he could not have done it alone because Thabelo was significantly bigger than him. I doubt he could have lifted the body and put it into the acid drum by himself,” said the neighbour.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said police were investigating the killing.

“The informant last saw the deceased on 29 May 2020 at around 11AM when she was going to town. On 1 June 2020 the now deceased sent a message to the informant advising him that she was going out of town and will be back on Sunday 7 June 2020,” said Inspector Ncube.

He said when Mr Ngwenya called the police, they found Thabelo’s body inside a blue 200 litre drum in the bathroom in a decomposed state.

The body was conveyed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for post mortem.

Source: Grisly ritual murder in affluent suburb

Related article:

ZRP Arrests A Man In Harare Suspected Of Killing A Woman For Ritual Purposes In Bulawayo’s Matsheumhlophe Suburb

Published: June 12, 2020
By: Pindula News – Zimbabwe

ZRP this week arrested a man in Harare who is suspected of killing a 25-year-old woman whose body was found sawn in half and part of her body mutilated and some body parts like breasts and palms missing and stashed into a drum filled with acid in the affluent Matsheumhlophe suburb in Bulawayo, The Chronicle reports.

The suspected murderer, 20-year-old Tawana Ngwenya, the son of the caretaker where the woman lived, was arrested in Harare where he is suspected to have fled to after committing the heinous crime.

Tawana reportedly had instructions of how he should kill the deceased Ms Thabelo Mazolo to get rich. Part of the instruction seen by the publication reads:

You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror. Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.

Tawana was staying at the guest house where Mazolo worked after Mazolo’s sister secured employment for him at a Bulawayo company.

Tawana’s father who is a caretaker at the guest house said he last saw Mazolo alive on 29 May:

Tawana disappeared from home on Tuesday when he asked him if he knew Mazolo’s whereabouts and he switched off his phone. Thabelo’s phone had stopped ringing. On Wednesday there was a strong smell of something rotting from the main house. I called the police. We opened the door with a spare key and found the body in a blue drum in the toilet. It had been cut up and some of Thabelo’s clothes appeared to have been used to wipe up plenty of blood.

Source: ZRP Arrests A Man In Harare Suspected Of Killing A Woman For Ritual Purposes In Bulawayo’s Matsheumhlophe Suburb

Zimbabwe: suspected ritual killers in first court appearance

The following case resembles more an ‘ordinary’, cruel, gruesome murder and not a ritual murder in the sense which motivated the creation of this site. However, certainly this murder also contains elements of superstition and the motive to increase one’s wealth through ‘muti’. For this reason, it has been decided to include it here. Judge for yourself whether this choice was warranted.
Warning: the following story contains graphic details.
(webmaster FVDK).

Suspected ritual killers in first court appearance

The two suspects

Published: June 16, 2020
By: ZW NEWS

Two suspected ritual killers who grisly hacksawed their victim in two halves, before buying a drum and hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body for purposes of getting rich, on Monday appeared in court for the first time facing murder charges.

The suspects, Tawana Ngwenya (20) and his teenage accomplice who cannot be named for ethical reasons, are accused of being responsible for the murder of a 25-year-old woman, Thabelo Mazolo.

The victim, the late Thabelo Mazolo

Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Mnjanja remanded Ngwenya in custody to June 26 while the teenager was remanded in the custody of his uncle who stays with him.

The accused teenager was also told to report at Nkulumane Police Station once a week.

It is alleged that on the fateful day, Ngwenya and Mazolo were watching a movie when the former thrice struck the later with an iron bar in the head. And, realising that Mazolo had not died, Ngwenya reportedly slit her throat with a knife.

In a bid to conceal the gruesome crime he had committed, Ngwenya whose father is a caretaker at Fortunes Gate Village where Mazolo also lived, roped in a 17-year-old boy who provided him with a hacksaw used to cut the victim into parts.

Part of the deceased’s body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.

Prosecuting, Mr Terrence Chakabuda said on June 10 at about 7am, the deceased’s body was found inside a 200-litre drum of acid and it was in an advanced state of decomposition.

Missing from the decomposing body were the right breast, right arm and the lower torso.

“When police attended the scene, they observed that there was a grey bag which had blood stained clothes,” said Mr Chakabuda.

The prosecutor also told the court that investigations showed that Ngwenya, who used to stay with the deceased had disappeared soon after Mazolo was reported missing.

“Information was gathered that Ngwenya had gone to Harare where his mother stays. Police detectives in Bulawayo contacted their counterparts in Harare leading to Ngwenya’s arrest on June 11,” he said.

Ngwenya has since confessed to killing Mazolo.

Further investigations by the police also led to the discovery of two cellphones, a belt, three handbags, a purse, one pair of canvas shoes, five jackets, two jerseys, one sweater, one bra and a t-shirt all belonging to the deceased.

Her body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where post mortem results showed that the had succumbed to brain damage, resulting from depressed skull fracture and assault.

Upon being interrogated by detectives from Bulawayo CID homicide on June 12, Ngwenya then implicated his teenage accomplice who was also arrested over the weekend.

He reportedly claimed that the 17-year-old co-accused assisted him to buy the drum and 25 kilogrammes of hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body.

“The second accused (teenager) also participated in putting the deceased’s body in the drum and provided a hacksaw, which was used to cut off the top part of the drum.

He however, could not account for the missing body parts, which he said were dissolved in the acid,” the court heard.

After Ngwenya was taken to the scene for indications, a silver iron rod, which he allegedly used to strike Mazolo on the head three times before slitting her throat, was also recovered.

Ngwenya admits that he, indeed killed Mazolo.

“After striking her, I dragged her off the couch and when I realised that she was not dead, I went to the cottage and took a knife and finished her off by cutting her throat,” stated Ngwenya in a warned and cautioned statement.

Ngwenya also revealed that, after committing the cold-blooded murder, he wrapped the deceased’s head using a plastic bin bag to avoid blood stains on the carpet while dragging the body.

He said he left the body in the toilet before he stole US$400 from her handbag.

The money was used the following morning by Ngwenya and his accomplice to buy the acid and the drum in town.

While admitting that he assisted in looking for the hydrochloric acid and drum, the teenager denied in participating in Mazolo’s murder in a warned and cautioned statement.

The 17-year-old however admitted to providing the hacksaw and lifting the horror drum used in disposing part of the victim’s body.

Source: Suspected ritual killers in first court appearance

Zimbabwe: woman dies in car crash after killing husband for ritual purposes

A mysterious murder, a dead suspect, it will be difficult to establish the truth – but apparently one thing is sure: the body found was mutilated. The victim was the husband of one of the suspects, but she died while fleeing to neighboring South Africa. A case of muti murder or not? We await the outcome of the investigations (webmaster FVDK).

Instant Justice: Woman Dies In Car Crash After Killing Husband For Ritual Purposes

Murder accused woman dies in car crash

Published: June 5, 2020
By: Andrew Zulu – I Harare, Zimbabwe

In what may be described as a case of instant justice, a Beitbridge woman believed to be on the run after killing her husband in suspected ritual murder died in a road accident over the weekend. The fugitive, Khathutshelo Moyo, died in a car crash on Saturday while evading arrest in Limpopo Province, South Africa, where she had sought refuge. One of the three accomplices sustained some injuries and was rushed to a South African hospital.

It is alleged that Moyo teamed up with the accomplices whom she had hired to kill and mutilate her husband, Langton Ribombo, two weeks ago at Mapolovhele Village, 18km north of Beitbridge town. After committing the crime, the accused allegedly harvested some body parts from the deceased leading to widespread speculation that the killing was for ritual purposes.

One of the suspects, Admire Ndou, who has since been arrested is reported to have driven an unregistered Honda Fit vehicle carrying Ribombo’s body, before dumping it and fleeing to neighbouring South Africa. Ribombo’s remains have been buried.

State media reports that the alleged killer’s remains were repatriated from South Africa and buried yesterday (Thursday).

Source: 
Instant Justice: Woman Dies In Car Crash After Killing Husband For Ritual Purposes

Related article:

Murder-accused woman dies in SA car crash

Published: June 5, 2020
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe – Thupeyo Muleya

A Beitbridge woman, Khathutshelo Moyo, suspected of teaming up with two other men who are still at large to kill her husband Langton Ribombo was killed in a road accident over the weekend.

Moyo was buried at Lutumba yesterday.

She is alleged to have skipped the border with two accomplices and had been hiding in Malale, Limpopo Province, before she met her death.

Moyo reportedly died in a car crash on Saturday while evading arrest as she sought to relocate to Thohoyandou, again in Limpopo Province.

One of the accomplices is reported to be admitted to a South African hospital.

It is alleged that Moyo and crew killed Ribombo two weeks ago at Mapolovhele Village, 18km north of Beitbridge town, after which the suspects carried and dumped his half naked body in a bush, about 8km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Highway.

They are further accused of gouging his right eye, removing his tongue and lower lips, before escaping to South Africa.

One of the suspects, Admire Ndou of Mapili area in Beitbridge West, is alleged to have driven the unregistered Honda Fit vehicle carrying Ribombo’s body, before dumping it and fleeing to South Africa.

The motive behind the murder remains unknown.

Ndou was reportedly arrested during initial police investigations.

The mutilated remains have since been buried at Mugwazhuli Village some 25km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Highway.

Officer Commanding Beitbridge District, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, said further investigations were underway to establish if the remains repatriated from South Africa were of the woman they were looking for.

“At this stage we are conducting intensive verification to establish if the remains that were interred at Lutumba are indeed those of the woman we were looking for in connection with a recent murder case.

“However, indications are that she was involved in a fatal road accident in South Africa on 30 May and we intercepted the body during repatriation at the border.

“We had information that there was not going to be body viewing at her funeral wake, hence we took pictures and fingerprints for further verification,” he said.

Chief Superintendent Nyongo confirmed the arrest of Ndou, adding that they were pursuing two more men believed to be part of the assailants.

He could not disclose the suspects’ names to avoid jeopardising investigations.

Ndou was arrested after detectives located the owner of the vehicle used to carry the body of Ribombo from Mapolovhele to Mapayi turn-off, where it was spotted by another motorist who alerted the police.

He has since appeared before Beitbridge Resident magistrate, Mr Toyindepi Zhou, and was remanded in custody to June 8.

Source: Murder-accused woman dies in SA car crash

Zimbabwe: infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

A rumor is not a fact, but as soon as a mutilated body is found, suspicion of foul play arises and rumors start circulating. I would almost say, ‘in any sub-Saharan African country’. Fact or prejudice? Maybe a prejudice, but unfortunately fed by bad experiences.

This time a rumor in Zimbabwe. It wouldn’t be the first ritualistic murder in this country, where ritual murders are known as ‘muti murders’. Let’s hope that this time the rumor is a false alarm. I’ll watch and follow the news media for more information (webmaster FVDK).

Infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

Published: June 1, 2020
By: New Zimbabwe – Tonderai Saharo    

Masvingo: Residents at a suburb here have been left in shock after a dismembered corpse of an infant was found in a garden at a house, raising fears of a ritual killing.

The body of what looked like a one-month-old baby was found in the early hours of Friday morning at a house belonging to one Barauta, with its left arm and both legs missing.

Police could not ascertain the gender of the infant.

Masvingo Provincial acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dehwa confirmed the matter and said investigations were underway.

“We appeal to members of the public who may have information which can help us to investigate to come forward.

“Anybody can get in touch with the Officer in Charge Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Detective Inspector Muchedzi on 0775535810 or visit any nearest police station. You can also call or App the police on 0775996945,” said Dehwa.

According to the police, the mother of the deceased child has not been identified.

Incidentally, a Chiredzi women recently lost her newly born baby, soon after being discharged from hospital, to a woman who had offered assistance in carrying the new-born.

Masvingo and Chiredzi are not too far apart.

Source: Infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

Inside the thriving human body parts market (report from Zimbabwe)

The following article, published by the Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe in late December 2019, is strictly speaking not about ritual killing or a specific ritualistic murder case. However, it has everything to do with the subject: superstition and the use of rituals using human body parts. It is a shocking account of a thriving market for human body parts. The interviews, and apparently also the investigations, have taken place in Zimbabwe, yet there is no reason not to believe that similar practices may be reported from other countries.

As the articles also concludes: ‘In Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, trading in human body parts is illegal.’ Hence, it is up to the government(s) to maintain the law (webmaster FVDK).

Inside the thriving human body parts market

Published: December 29, 2019
By: Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe – Emmanuel Kafe and Simbarashe Manhenda 

Human body parts, according to sources and a pathologist, can also be harvested during post-mortems.

HUMAN body parts, mostly fingers, internal organs and private parts, are being sold by syndicates made up of mortuary attendants and security guards, investigations carried out by The Sunday Mail Society have revealed.

Information gathered revealed that the syndicates are conniving to harvest the body parts from mortuaries without the knowledge of the deceased’s families.

Investigations revealed that the body parts are much sought after and literally cost an arm and leg.

Water used to clean corpses, which is believed to be used in the preparation of juju used in housebreaking, is also in great demand.

As a result of the high demand, the water and body parts are only being sold in foreign currency.

The Sunday Mail Society’s investigations revealed that there is a ready and thriving market for the human body parts and water.

Among those that are acquiring the parts from the morgues are traditional healers, prophets, sex workers, criminals and businesspeople.

Apparently, acquiring human body parts can be as easy as ordering pizza.

A phone call and a little bargaining is all that it takes. After agreeing on a fee, the deal is sealed.

From the interactions with those involved in the illegal and unusual trade, it is clear that the syndicates are making a killing.

After getting a tip-off from a security guard who was once part of the human body parts’ cartel, The Sunday Mail Society crew went underground and pretended to be genuine buyers.

Following the tip-off, we approached one of the security guards manning the premises of a well-established funeral parlour in Harare.

Posing as traditional healers, we enquired from him how we could get certain human body parts.

We also asked about the prices.

The security guard, whom we were later told is paid a “commission” by the mortuary attendants for linking them with buyers, did not even attempt to exercise caution.

Without hesitation, the security guard gladly gave us the mortuary attendant’s contact details, saying his colleague would gladly help us.

After contacting the mortuary attendant, who was expecting our call, a meeting was promptly arranged.

The meeting took place at a local eatery.

From our deliberations with the mortuary attendant, we gathered that human private parts can be sold for as much as US$ 500.

Internal organs such as the heart were pegged at more than US$ 1 500.

The mortuary attendant, who remained composed and relaxed as if he was negotiating the sale of a heifer, explained how the body parts are harvested.

“The parts are mostly removed when the bodies are cleaned in preparation for burial,” he explained, adding that harvesting external body parts was often a challenge since relatives usually inspected the bodies of their departed loved ones.

“However, there is no risk in harvesting internal organs such as the heart and lungs since relatives of the deceased rarely inspect those parts of the body. Those ones are easier to get,” said our source.

In addition, he also said bones and teeth could be “easily obtained’”

But despite that, external organs such as the eyes, breasts and private parts were in great demand.

Also in demand is the water left after washing corpses.

Criminals, among them armed robbers and burglars, are believed to use the water as juju or to induce heavy sleep among house occupants.

According to sources, the water is mixed with juju to produce a concoction which criminals believe will protect them during their escapades

A 500ml bottle of the water was being sold for US$ 200.

It is widely believed that if the water is sprinkled on the door of a targeted house, the victim will fall into a deep slumber, resulting in the robbers ransacking their homes.

Mbuya Alice Nhemachena, a traditional healer, said the water was in great demand.

“The water can be used to make it easier for burglars to steal. Criminal elements can fork out a fortune to get hold of this water. It can also be used to make love potions,” Mbuya Nhemachena said.

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu, another traditional healer, said stealing and selling human body parts is a form witchcraft.

“Some traditional healers tell their clients to bring ‘a warm heart, freshly pulled out of a person’. People who engage such traditional healers want easy money and will end up engaging in ritual murders,” Sekuru Chisanyu said.

“But some people approach us saying they are now being tormented by avenging spirits after buying human body parts,” he said.

So who are the victims in this macabre scam?

According to sources, accident victims are the most common victims of human body parts’ theft.

For accident victims, relatives normally cannot tell whether missing body parts was lost during or after the accident.

Dr Edwin Muguti, a former Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, said it was possible for one to steal human body parts during a post-mortem.

“It is possible for pathologists, mortuary attendants and security guards to illegally harvest body parts. Such laws as the Human Tissue Act and the Anatomy Act were enacted to deter such practices,” Dr Muguti said.

But Mr Talent Nharara, the operations manager at Foundation Funeral Services, said he was yet to come across such criminal cases.

“I have heard about such things, but I am yet to come across such cases. However, it might be possible for body parts to be harvested during embalming and when the corpse is being washed. The fact that people always talk about this means that such things might be happening,” Mr Nharara said.

The human body is usually washed, embalmed and dressed up in preparation for either burial or cremation.

But according to Mr Nharara, the water used in cleaning corpses is disposed of in a manner which makes it almost impossible for one to collect it for sale.

“The water is disposed of using special drainage pipes. Like I said before, I am yet to come across people who siphon such fluids, but that does not mean that the fluids are not being siphoned off,” added Mr Nharara.

He was, however, not at liberty to reveal exactly how the water is disposed of.

Mr Taka Svosve, Zimbabwe Association of Funeral Assurers’ (Zafa) general manager, said there was much speculation regarding the harvesting of human body parts. “From our investigations, nothing of that sort is happening. Some fraudsters might actually be selling ordinary water, which they claim to have come from mortuaries.”

“Our people are professionals and we make sure that such acts are detected. Just like any other professionals, those that work in morgues adhere to stipulated rules,” Mr Svosve said, adding that there was need for the public to be educated about the role of morticians and undertakers so that society can get to understand how they work.

Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said no such reports hadbeen made to the police.

“I cannot comment on that one at the moment. There is need for investigations and verification,” Ass Comm Nyathi said.

In Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, trading in human body parts is illegal.

Source: Inside the thriving human body parts market

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Zimbabwe: Mabhinya ritual killers terrorise Mutare villagers

Mutare villagers march against ritual killers

Published: October 17, 2019
By: Takunda Shumba – Zw News    

Scores of angry villagers last week filled Chitakatira Police Base demanding local police to take action against the increasing numbers of ritual killing of people in their area.

Many people have been killed by a suspected group of human slayers (mabhinya) since mid-August 2019. (italics added by webmaster FVDK)

A member of Mugodhi Apostolic Church John Muponda went missing on Monday last week and family and church mates found his remains dumped partially decayed at Makuti Farm in Vumba on Saturday.

A church congregant who refused to be named for own security reasons suspects that Muponda was murdered even though post-mortem results were not yet out by the time of writing.

The female church member also expressed her concern about what she considered to be lax policing and investigative work by authorities.

“John was someone close to me. It’s so sad that he is no more. I am here out of anger. Why they are killing others like chickens,” said the congregant.

Local traditional leaders were also amongst the villagers who took part in the demonstrations.

One of them is Headman Simon Chigodora who described the situation in the area as a very weird one.

“We have not come here to damage police property. We just want to express our worries. Most of these people has relatives and friends killed by those criminals. More than three people were killed since the end of August. The Chigodora community needs police attention,” Headman Chigodora told TellZim News.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Assistance Inspector Luxson Chananda confirmed the rise in cases of murders saying authorities were doing their work to fight all forms of crime.  

Source: Mabhinya ritual killers terrorise Mutare villagers

Related articles:

PIC: Furious Mutare Villagers March Against ‘Mabhinya’ Killers Harvesting Body Parts

Published: October 17, 2019
By: Sharon Chirisa

A mob of angry Mutare villagers last week filled Chitakatira Police Base demanding the police to take action against the increasing numbers of ritual killing of people in their area.

Many people are being killed in the area and their body parts are being harvested for ritual use.

A member of Mugodhi Apostolic Church John Muponda went missing on Monday last week and family and church mates found his remains dumped partially decayed at Makuti Farm in Vumba on Saturday.

A church member suspects that he was murdered.

“John was someone close to me. It’s so sad that he is no more. I am here out of anger. Why they are killing others like chickens,” said the congregant.

Among the protesters was the village Headman Simon Chigodora who described the situation in the area as a very weird one.

“We have not come here to damage police property. We just want to express our worries. Most of these people has relatives and friends killed by those criminals. More than three people were killed since the end of August. The Chigodora community needs police attention,”

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Assistance Inspector Luxson Chananda confirmed the rise in cases of murders to TellZim saying the authorities have all hands on deck and are working hard to end the rampant killings.

Source: PIC: Furious Mutare Villagers March Against ‘Mabhinya’ Killers Harvesting Body Parts

Mutare villagers march against ritual murders

Published: October 17, 2019
By: Munyaradzi Goche – Radio VOP

MUTARE – Scores of angry villagers last week filled Chitakatira Police Base demanding local police to take action against the increasing numbers of ritual killing of people in their area.

Many people have been killed by a suspected group of human slayers (mabhinya) since mid-August 2019.

A member of Mugodhi Apostolic Church John Muponda went missing on Monday last week and family and church mates found his remains dumped partially decayed at Makuti Farm in Vumba on Saturday.

A church congregant who refused to be named for own security reasons suspects that Muponda was murdered even though post-mortem results were not yet out by the time of writing.

The female church member also expressed her concern about what she considered to be lax policing and investigative work by authorities.

“John was someone close to me. It’s so sad that he is no more. I am here out of anger. Why they are killing others like chickens,” said the congregant.

Local traditional leaders were also amongst the villagers who took part in the demonstrations.

One of them is Headman Simon Chigodora who described the situation in the area as a very weird one.

“We have not come here to damage police property. We just want to express our worries. Most of these people has relatives and friends killed by those criminals. More than three people were killed since the end of August. The Chigodora community needs police attention,” Headman Chigodora told TellZim News.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Assistance Inspector Luxson Chananda confirmed the rise in cases of murders saying authorities were doing their work to fight all forms of crime.

Source: Mutare villagers march against ritual murders

Zimbabwe: life in jail for 24yr old man who murdered fellow villager for body parts

There is a difference between ritualistic murders which are intended to gain more wealth and/or prestige or increase one’s chances to win elections and the cold-blooded murdering of people to sell their body parts. However, both types of crime have in common that the murdering of innocent people is based on the superstition that the juju or muti which result from these heinous practices works. The following example illustrates this.
(The editor FVDK).

Published: July 5, 2019
By: ZimEye

A 24-year-old man from Chimanimani who killed a fellow villager and harvested body parts for ritual purposes has been slapped with a life jail sentence after he was found guilty of committing murder with actual intent.

The suspect, Victor Dinga of Munaka Village under Chief Chikukwa, showed no remorse since the trial began. He struck the victim with a machete, took several body parts which he then placed in a bag and later asked his brother-in-law to refrigerate.

While reading out the sentence, Senior Mutare High Court Judge, Justice Hlekani Mwayera, said Dinga was supposed to hang for committing the crime and was only lucky due to the ongoing debate around the death sentence.

During trial Dinga left court officials in a state of disbelief as he gave a chilling account on how he committed the grisly murder.

He told the court that he planned the murder because he wanted to sell the body parts in South Africa and then buy a house and a car from the proceeds.

However, his plan hit a brick wall after his brother-in-law refused to refrigerate the body parts and subsequently sold him out to the police.

Ms Jane-Rose Matsikidze prosecuted.

“Dinga and the deceased Cephas Mubarenyana lived in seperate villages and the deceased stayed alone,” she said.

“On September 24 last year in the morning, the accused person approached the deceased at his home and asked him to help carry some planks from Martin Forests for a fee. Unknown to the deceased, the suspect had a machete hidden inside his pair of trousers.”

On arrival in Martin Forest, the accused suddenly pulled out the machete and struck the deceased on the neck and above the left ear, killing him instantly.

He then dragged the deceased’s body into a bush before proceeding to harvest certain body parts. He took the body parts to Chikukwa Business Centre where he asked his brother-in-law, Aaron Mashava, to refrigerate them for him.

“Having refused to refrigerate the human body parts, the brother-in-law later mobilised other villagers leading to the recovery of the body parts and the arrest of the suspect. A post-mortem examination concluded that the death was as a result of severe head injury and exsanguinations,” said Ms Matsikidze.

Mashava told the court that he was inside his shop when the suspect approached him asking him to refrigerate the bag containing the body parts.

He became curious when the suspect told him that the bag should not be opened. On being asked about its contents, the suspect told him that it contained human body parts.

Suspecting that the accused person had killed a person, Mashava informed his neighbour who in turn called the councillor and the trio then approached Constable Blessing Muroda.

The quartet went to the suspect’s house where he led them to a disused toilet where the bag and its contents were hung.

Source: Life In Jail For 24yr Old Man Who Murdered Fellow Villager For Body Parts

Provinces of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: man arrested for ritual murder

Published: July 30, 2019
By: The Herald – Zimbabwe

A Masvingo man, who allegedly killed a two-year-old boy before mutilating the body for suspected ritual purposes, has been arrested.

Darlington Magomana (39) allegedly hid some body parts under a big stone near Mucheke River. He is facing murder charges. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the incident occurred last Wednesday around 6pm.

“On the said date and time, the accused person took the two-year-old boy from home on the pretext that they wanted to visit a neighbour.
“The accused did not return, prompting the mother and some relatives to look for the two,” he said.

Magomana was located at Sisk Business Centre around midnight and upon questioning by the police, he admitted to killing the boy using a sharp object.

Source: JUST IN: Man arrested for ritual murder

Provinces of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Native doctor arrested over ritual killing of prostitute

Published: December 8, 2018
By: Laila Ijeoma

A native doctor has been arrested by the police, over the ritual killing of a prostitute identified as Samantha Hlahla in Avenues area, Zimbabwe. 

The native doctor identified as Sekuru Hungwe was arrested alongside two minors aged 15 and 17 who received lucky charms they would use to make money after the ritual killing of the prostitute. It was gathered that the arrested teenagers who acted upon the instruction of the arrested native doctor, hired the services of Samantha and upon completing the session, they stabbed Samantha who allegedly became weak.

After they stabbed the deceased, they took blood from her legs into a cooking oil bottle before stealing her property and money.

Source: Native doctor arrested over ritual killing of prostitute

Related article: Sangoma nabbed for hooker’s death
Published: December 6, 2018
By: Staff reporter Bulawayo News 24

A SANGOMA, who was involved in the suspected ritual murder of a hooker in the Avenues area, has been nabbed and is set to appear in court today.

The sangoma, only identified as Sekuru Hungwe, was arrested to answer to questions concerning the death of Samantha Hlahla who was murdered in what is suspected to be ritual killing.

It is alleged that the two minors aged 15 and 17 who stand accused of murdering the hooker, had received some lucky charms from Sekuru Hungwe which they would use to make money.