Botswana: Ritual killers get jail sentences (2006)

Published: April 5, 2006
By: Oarabile Mosikare 

FRANCISTOWN: Acting High Court judge Modiri Letsididi sentenced two ritual killers to a total of 27 years imprisonment yesterday. The judge said Thuri Poicho and Njayi Kamuanga were under the influence of alcohol when they committed the murder. He said he had considered everything submitted on their behalf by their attorneys Charles Tlaagae and Muriro Furusa. 

“Both accused were influenced by immaturity and had pleaded guilty to the charge. That show contrition and remorse on their part,” said Letsididi.

He added that Poicho was a first offender and has no previous conviction. He noted that the accused persons have been in custody since August 2001 and the charge has been hanging on their heads ever since. The judge commented that the two have lost their previous employment as herdsmen as a result of the offence. He noted that the accused persons did not benefit from the ritual killing ordered by a certain Ntshemang. However, he said the court is duty bound to protect society and the sanctity of life. “This court should demonstrate to the society that such crimes should not be tolerated. Both accused persons participated in unprovoked assault of the deceased, cutting his private parts and tongue in order to gain. In my view, there is no worst crime than this,” said the soft-spoken judge. He noted that Kamuanga has a previous conviction for a crime committed two months before the ritual murder. Therefore, he sentenced him to 14 years and gave Poicho 13 years for the ritual killing of Aaron Phobe.

On Monday, state counsel Keneilwe Lephalo said one Ntshemang approached the convicts and showed them a lot of money if they gave him the private parts of a human being. He promised them P8 000 for the job. They then conspired to kill Phobe and get the organs. “They assaulted him with a knobkerrie on the head until he fell unconscious on the ground. They removed his tongue and genitals and then delivered them to Ntshemang who had packed his vehicle in the bush who promised to pay them P8,000 the next day,” she submitted.

The investigations led to the arrest of Poicho on August 14, 2001 at Nnyambesi cattlepost and Kamuanga at Satau cattlepost. “They were taken before a judicial officer Phetsolo Nare, where Kamuanga was the only one who deposed a confession statement. In so hitting the deceased with a knobkerrie, they intended to cause his death. They acted unlawfully and had no lawful justification for their conduct,” submitted Lephalo.

Immediately after the judge was satisfied that the accused’s plea was unequivocal, he asked the two defence attorneys whether there are any extenuating circumstances in the case. They adopted the same submission that P8,000 offered by Ntshemang was a fortune for their clients who are herdsmen and the amount had a bearing on their reasoning. In mitigation, Poicho’s attorney Tlaagae submitted that his client was unknown in criminal circles and the court should impose a sentence that would give him a chance to rehabilitate.

“He pleaded guilty, and acknowledged to the society that what he did was morally and legally wrong. He benefited nothing from P8,000 they were supposed to be paid and they never saw Ntshemang again,” submitted Tlaagae. He urged the court to impose a sentence that would not break the accused. Mitigating on behalf of Kamuanga, Furusa submitted that the court should take into consideration the personal circumstance of his client. He said Kamuanga confessed at the time of his arrest and thus saved valuable time for investigating officers and court. “He was incited by allegedly rich person to commit this crime. Ntshemang was never prosecuted and the accused has to bear punishment on behalf of Ntshemang,” said Furusa.

Source: Ritual killers get jail sentences

South Africa: three elderly persons attacked on suspicion of ritual murder

Another case of rumors. Another case of superstition. Another case of mob justice. Between the lines one reads that ritualistic murders are not rare in this region of the republic of South Africa (Limpopo province): ‘With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler.’ Gruesome reality, the fear is real. Hopefully the authorities react quickly and effectively. Ritual murders have no place in the 21st century.

Three elderly persons attacked on suspicion of ritual murder

Published: November 16, 2018
By: Elmon Tshikhudo

A confused and saddened Sondaha Sikhipha, who was attacked on suspicion of involvement in the alleged ritual murder of a three-year-old child.

Three elderly people from Khubvi were seriously beaten on suspicion of being ritual murderers.

The three, who are all cattle herders, met the wrath of the angry community after the disappearance of a three-year-old boy in the village. The toddler, Ndiwakhonadzeo Mukhwathi, who was visiting the village with a relative, was last seen by his family while playing with others at a nearby playground last week.

He has not been seen since and the community, the family and the police have been searching for him at the nearby mountains and rivers, but in vain.

With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler. On Saturday, the community held a meeting at the local hall to discuss the matter.

Headman Sondaha Sikhipha of Vumbani village said he was also invited as a traditional leader. “While at the meeting, I was surprised when I was pointed out as the killer of the child. I did not know anything about the boy’s disappearance but was beaten and forced to confess. A tyre was put around my neck and I was threatened with death. Realising that I was not giving the information they wanted, they took me to the nearby local tea plantation where a tyre was once again put around my neck, petrol poured on me and they set alight some grass nearby. They tried to push me into the burning grass, but the police arrived on time and saved me,” he said.

Sikhipha further indicated he had suffered severe injuries after being attacked with unknown objects. He added that he was a peace-loving person who had never been involved in a fight. “I know nothing about the disappearance of this boy. I was nearly killed for something that I never did, all because of lies. They took me to a prophet and the prophet indicated that I was not involved, but they are forcing me into admitting to killing the boy. I am very hurt as I speak,” said Sikhipha, who is the father of two grown-up children.

Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of road barricading and stone throwing were reported in the village during the week.

Angry residents have allegedly vowed to expel all those they had identified as ritual killers.

Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed that some protests were taking place in the area. He said the protests were taking place sporadically and cautioned communities from taking the law into their own hands.

He appealed to the affected communities to give the search operation a chance to unfold further and to refrain from engaging in any form of violence. He added that no one had been arrested so far in connection with the attack on the three elderly residents.

“Anyone with information that can assist to locate the missing toddler is urgently asked to contact Sgt Makhavhu on 076 440 4336 or 015 960 1076, the Crime Stop number 0860 010 111, crime line SMS 32211 or to contact the nearest police station,” said Ngoepe.

Source: Three elderly persons attacked on suspicion of ritual murder

South Africa – Provinces