‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ but: the High Court in Polokwane will continue the trial of four businessmen and a woman who are suspected of killing Ronnie Makgatho for ritual purposes in 2006.
An amazing aspect of this murder case is that there is no dead body. The body of the victim, Ronnie Makgatho, was never found. Therefor it is to be seen if this trial wil end in a guilty verdict. How can you find someone guilty of murder when there’s no dead body?
Two of the five accused share the family name of the victim, Ronnie Makgatho. It is not uncommon that relatives are involved in ritualistic murders.
The first article presented below is silent on the background of the murder and also lacks many details. However, it seems obvious that this is a case of ‘muti’ murder, a ritualistic murder, based on superstition and motivated by greed.
The second article, published by Polokwane Weekly and shared on Facebook, contains more information. Warning: Some readers may find this story disturbing because of its explicit graphic content (webmaster FVDK).
More background information pertaining to this case:
EXCLUSIVE | HOW RONNY MAKGATHO WAS MURDERED
WARNING: NOT FOR SENSITIVE READERS
Published: May 12, 2022 By: Polokwane Weekly / Facebook
SESHEGO: A state witness in the murder case of Ronny Makgatho has detailed a chilling confession of the victim was killed.
The witness was testifying at the Seshego Magistrate’s Court during a bail application of the murder accused on Wednesday.
According to the witness, Marcus Makgatho traveled to Soshanguve Extension 4 where the victim was staying.
The witness says that Amanda Makgato alongside their accomplices forced the victim into the car and drove from Soshanguve to Seshego, where he was locked up in a shack.
The state witness said that Hlako and Makgato were both holding Ronnie Makgato’s hands and legs before he was brutally murdered for alleged business related rituals.
The witness has also told the court that the accused number 4 Khumbelo Mabirimisa was also present with an unknown woman.
He also told the court that the accused indicated that it was time to start with the job, before beginning with the murder process.
The witness said that Hlako said the victim should die a slow death when they were cutting him with a knife, so that they can get a lot of his blood. The witness also said that there were a bucket that was used to collect his blood.
The state witness also told the court that Ronnie Makgato’s body parts were cut by the accused.
The head was taken to Hlako’s Tarven, hands were taken to Makgato’s lodge. Other body parts were also taken to Hlako’s farm.
The court also heard that after taking the body parts of the victim to the accused’s businesses, the remaining part was buried at the same house.
The murder accused were all denied bail on Wednesday.
THE Makgato family was left shocked when a family member and his friend were arrested on Wednesday, 13 April.
They were bust by Seshego cops in Limpopo for the kidnapping and murder of Ronald Makgato, who went missing 16 years ago.
Ronald (27) from Mamehlabe Village, Ga-Matlala disappeared in 2006 while staying in Soshanguve, Tshwane.
A witness tipped off his family and the police in 2020.
It’s believed that one of Ronald’s relatives and his friend allegedly killed the victim for muthi purposes, and they apparently buried his body in a shallow grave.
Ronald’s sister, Granny Makgato-Leboho, said it has been hard for the family not knowing their brother’s whereabouts. “When the police arrested my relative and his friend, we knew we were close to getting the truth about what happened to my brother.”
She said the witness told them that Ronald was given a drug before he was taken to Zone 4 in Seshego, where he was murdered.
“We were told he was dismembered and his body parts were taken for muthi purposes. It’s so painful that my own relative saw it fit to kill his own for his evil intentions.”
Limpopo police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Mamphaswa Seabi confirmed that two suspects, both aged 64, were bust and charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
“They briefly appeared in the Seshego Magistrates Court last Thursday, and their matter was postponed to 28 April for formal bail application while the police investigations continues. The body of Ronald has not yet been recovered,” Seabi said.
Murder cases show a rising trend in Zimbabwe, according to statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency. In 2018 more than 1,450 murders were reported, this number increased to more than 1,700 cases in 2019 and to nearly 3,600 cases in the two-year period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. The yearly average of 1,500-1,600 murder cases means that each month more than 100 persons are being murdered.
It is not known how many ritualistic murders (‘muti murders’) are included in this yearly average of 1,500 – 1,600 victims. Statistics only reveal part of the truth. By definition, ‘muti murders’ are murders committed in secret, and some victims (statistically recorded as ‘missing persons’) are never found. Only discovered bodies of victims with ‘parts’ (often organs) missing indicate that a murder for ritualistic purposes has been committed, but even then one has to be careful and not jump to conclusions as the perpetrator(s) may intentionally mislead the investigators by removing body parts.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the occurrence of ritual murders constitutes a problem in this Southern Africa country (as it does in neighboring countries). Recently, a debate on the persistent problem of muti murders arose after the discovery of a mutilated body in Greystone Parts, near Hatfield, in Mashonaland East and southeast of the capital Harare.
In the article presented below also reference is made to the notorious Tapiwah Makore case, referring to the seven-year old boy who was murdered for ritualistic purposes by his uncle in 2020 (see previous posts). But, as the article relates, Tapiwah Makoreh (also spelled as Tapiwa Makore) was not the only or last victim of unscrupulous murderers who are driven by greed and superstition. Unfortunately, the discovery of the dead body of Faith Musonza in Greystone Park only confirms this sad conclusion. (webmaster FVDK)
Zimbabwe grapples with ritual murders
Published: February 26, 2023 By: Staff reporter – The Zimbabwe Mail
IT is late afternoon in the heart of Greystone Park, some 20 kilometres from Hatfield, where the gruesome murder of Spar employee Faith Musonza is said to have occurred.
A relative’s home in Greystone Park is where her funeral is taking place.
A gentle breeze steadily blows across the yard as if everything is normal, but this is not the case.
Mourners have been stunned into silence as they struggle to come to terms with the sad news of Musonza’s untimely death.
“We are still trying to process everything; it feels like a dream,” said one of the relatives who appeared non-plussed at the funeral wake.
Musonza’s husband, Fradreck Chasara, was visibly disturbed, as he unsteadily alternated between a black leather couch and the carpeted floor.
Musonza was recently killed in Hatfield by unknown assailants as she headed to her rented house in Cranborne from work.
Her mutilated body was found dumped in a storm drain. Heinous crimes involving grisly murders have become prevalent of late. The sanctity of human life is no longer being observed.
In 2020, the nation woke up to news of the callous murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore in a suspected ritual killing.
He was buried the following year, with his head still missing. The incident left many with a lot of unanswered questions.
Last year, in Nyanga, two related seven-year-olds were found dead in a disused house in the village, with their throats cut open and blood drained.
Several other murder cases have been reported across the country.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the number of murder cases continue to rise with each passing year. At least 1 453 cases were recorded in 2018, before rising to 1 733 the following year. Between January 2020 and December 2021, 3 583 cases were recorded.
Overall, the cases averaged between 1 500 and 1 600 every year.
“A murder case is recorded every week; in some situations, even two or more, with the trend growing in all provinces,” said Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
Most of the killings, he said, are associated with infidelity, alcohol abuse and rituals. Statistics from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) also corroborate the same trend.
“In January 2021, we had 630 people incarcerated for murder and the figure rose to 845 by October that same year.
“In January 2022, we had 817 and the figure stood at 984 by November,” said ZPCS.
Mental health issues
Psychologist and University of Johannesburg post-doctoral researcher Dr John Ringson believes most murders are caused by mental health issues.
“When one is mentally unstable, even a small argument can trigger aggression. We have had cases of people who committed murder for beer or small amounts of money. Mental health issues need to be addressed at national level,” he said.
Drugs and substance abuse, he added, were also causing mental health challenges that push people to commit crimes.
Traditionalist Mbuya Calista Magorimbo says some bogus witch doctors who encourage harvesting of body parts for rituals (kuromba) to boost business fortunes are also causing the unnecessary loss of human lives.
“Ritual killings for purposes of becoming wealthy have existed since time immemorial. However, the situation has since gone out of hand due to prevailing economic hardships,” she said.
“Some even harvest body parts for charms to make them powerful at work or to get healed from certain ailments. Women and children are often murder targets.”
She, however, argues that such rituals have never been proved to be effective.
“This is pure cultism, which yields nothing but generational curses, yet some people believe it actually works. Murder only brings trouble!” she warned.
Killings only attract avenging spirits and generational curses, according to Sekuru Peter Maponda, which he believes only serve to perpetuate a vicious circle of crime and murder. Roman Catholic priest Father Paul Mayeresa says avenging spirits exist.
“The Bible values the sanctity of life and does not allow killing under any circumstances. Some murders are due to either temporary or permanent insanity, while others are premeditated revenge,” he said.
“Avenging spirits exist and depending on the relatives of the deceased and their spirituality, some families end up forgiving the perpetrators while others prefer to let the dead fight from the grave.”
House of Refuge International Ministries founder Apostle Partson Machengete is of the opinion that “poverty has left most people desperate to get rich overnight”.
“As a result, they are forced to believe myths that ostensibly offer solutions to their problems. Witch doctors are fleecing the vulnerable and pushing them into unholy acts. They are made to believe the rituals will make them rich.”
He, however, feels some murder cases are genuine accidents and, in some instances, a result of self-defence.
There is consensus that communities need to be sensitised on the need to observe the sanctity of human life.
“We need all stakeholders to come together and formulate programmes that educate the community on the issues and bridge existing gaps,” urges Laws of Attraction psychologist Blessed Chinyangare.
“There is a human element and a spiritual element to this issue, hence it has to be tackled from both ends.”
Headman Zvinowanda Pfumbidzai of Machera village in Hwedza said in murder cases, the funerals and burials should be different from ordinary ones.
In African tradition, he said, murder invites curses for both the victim and the perpetrator’s families, hence rituals become necessary to cleanse the parties involved.
“Traditionally, the wronged family conducts rituals — kureverera — to provoke the spirit of the deceased to go and get revenge, so, in return, the murderer should pay damages — kuripa.
“The victim’s family should be given room to indicate their price during the process. Likewise, the victim’s family should also conduct a cleansing ceremony,” he said.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Africa, murder cases reportedly increased by 22 percent since 2012.
Most of the killings usually occur between Friday and Sunday.
The South African Police Service has since deployed desk-based police officers to the streets, particularly in identified hotspots, while dedicated detectives track and arrest suspects wanted for violent crimes. – Sunday Mail
Many of my postings on this site refer to reported or suspected ritual murder cases in West Africa. However, this phenomenon dating from ancient times also exists in other regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. Superstition and the greed for power, wealth or good health constitute the main driving forces behind the crimes of ritual murder, human sacrifice and/or ritual cannibalism.
In East Africa ritualistic murders are rife in Uganda. As mentioned below, according to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations Report, one child is killed for rituals every week. A mind blowing statistic. Within Uganda the Kayunga District has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most notorious killing places. Read the breath taking article below; the reader is warned as it contains graphic details.
Uganda is one of an increasing number of SSA countries where human sacrifice and ritualistic murders have become crimes which carry the death penalty. Many countries and international initiatives have outlawed the capital punishment, but several African countries take a different course, notably to contain and/or eradicate ritual murders. The big question is whether the death penalty, which is not always executed, will bring us closer to a society where people no longer fear falling victim to ritual killers. Or should we look for another approach the eradicate this scourge of ignorance and superstition?
Published: November 11, 2022 By: Fred Muzaale – Monitor, Uganda
What you need to know:
Police say most victims of human sacrifices are children because they are easier to abduct and seen as “pure” and of “higher ritual value.”
Last year, President Museveni passed the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2021, which criminalises the act of human sacrifice.
On a hot Monday afternoon at Kayunga Court premises in Kayunga District, Allan Ssembatya walks with his head lowered.
Visibly not in a good mood, he is in the company of a man and a woman. The two grown-ups are his mother and father.
The 19-year-old Ssembatya’s forehead bares a big scar that he sustained after he was cut with a machete by two men during an attempted ritual murder incident in 2009. He was by then 6 years old. Fortunately, Ssembatya, now in Senior One, survived, but lost both of his testicles. Because of the cut inflicted on his head, he now has persistent headaches and nightmares.
A resident of Busolo Village in Kayunga Sub-county, Ssembatya spent one month in a coma after the incident.
“Doctors who examined him after the attack said he would not be able to bear children. This is purely a case of human sacrifice,” Ms Sarah Tumusiime, the Kayunga Chief Magistrate, revealed during a court session last month.
She sentenced the convicts; Paul Ngaswireki and Awali Kivumbi, both residents of Busolo Village, who were found guilty of committing the offence, to 40 years each in prison.
According to Ssembatya’s father, his son was attacked by the two men when he had gone to the garden to harvest a jackfruit. He was later left fighting for his life in a forest.
Ssembatya’s case is the latest among such incidents, but Kayunga District has had numerous human sacrifice-related incidents.
In March 2020, a 60-year-old man in Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-county, was beheaded and his head taken by unknown assailants.
The torso was later recovered from a bush. Two witch doctors were arrested in connection with this incident although the whereabouts of the human skull is still unknown.
Additionally, a traditional healer in Kisoga Village, Nazigo Sub-county, was arrested in 2018 after five bodies were found buried in his shrine. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by Mukono High Court.
Last year, a father in Bbaale Sub-county was arrested after he allegedly killed two of his children over ritual sacrifice. He confessed to the act claiming he was promised Shs2m.
Ms Beatrice Ajwang, the Kayunga District officer-in-charge of the Criminal Investigations Department, said most of the suspects arrested in connection with such acts are “traditional healers and people who want to get rich quickly”.
Ms Ajwang said most victims of human sacrifices are children, apparently because they are easier to abduct and seen as “pure” and of “higher ritual value.”
Without disclosing statistical figures of how many cases of human sacrifice had been recorded in the district, Ms Ajwang confirms that “Kayunga is a hotbed of ritual sacrifice”.
She said out of more than 300 traditional healers operating in the district, their preliminary investigations reveal that half of the number are quacks.
“Kayunga is a unique area, you will find many households having shrines on top of being multi-ethnic. This could be a major contributor to these acts,” Kayunga chairperson Andrew Muwonge said.
Ms Ajwang said despite enacting laws to crack down on those engaging in human sacrifices, the practice has continued.
The law Last year, President Museveni passed the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill 2021, which criminalises the act of human sacrifice.
The legislation was moved as a private member’s Bill by former Ayivu County legislator Bernard Atiku with the intent of addressing the growing vice of human sacrifice.
According to the new law, any person who mutilates or causes the death of another person for the purpose of performing or furthering a ritual commits an offence and will be punished by the death penalty upon conviction.
“Worse still, it is a big challenge investigating human sacrifice cases because on some occasions it is carried out by parents themselves on their children while in some other cases people are not willing to give information that could be of help to arrest and prosecute offenders,” Ms Ajwanga said, adding: “We appeal to religious leaders to help us instill morals in our people. As police, we have tried to sensitise them against this vice.’’
Ms Sylvia Namutebi, aka Maama Fiina, the national chairperson of Uganda Traditional Healer’s Association, dismisses claims that the acts are committed by people who practice her trade.
“No genuine traditional healer can sacrifice a human being. These are masqueraders hiding in our job. It is our duty to ensure we [genuine healers] weed out such bad people,” Ms Namutebi said.
She said with the help of genuine healers, they have arrested and prosecuted such ‘wrong elements’, noting that she is on a country-wide tour to sensitise traditional healers on professional ethics.
Mr Peter Mawerere, the Kayunga deputy Resident District Commissioner, blamed the vice on ignorance, greed, and poverty. He noted that many people sacrifice human beings because they think it will make them wealthier.
“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by qualified medical personnel,” he said.
“We have tasked the leadership of traditional healers to fight the acts, which we highly believe are perpetuated by some of their members,” he added.
Rev Fr Maurice Kigoye, the parish priest of Kangulumira Parish in Kangulumira Sub-county, said: “It [human sacrifice] is really an inhuman act. How can you think that when you kill a person and drink their blood, you can get rich? As religious leaders, we have tried to lure them [culprits] to turn to God and get saved,” Fr Kigoye said.
NGO role Mr Peter Sewakiryanga, the executive director of Kyampisi Child Care Ministries (KCM), said his organisation receives a number of human sacrifice cases from Kayunga District every month.
“We work with probation officers, police, and other agencies who bring to our attention such cases,” he said.
Mr Sewakiryanga added that in a bid to ensure the culprits are arrested and prosecuted, his organisation facilitates investigations carried out by police officers.
“Many such cases die at the investigation stage, but with our support, a number of the suspects have been prosecuted and convicted like the recent one of Ssembatya. Court sentenced the convicts to 40 years each in jail,” he said.
He explains that KCM also offers treatment, counselling, and psychosocial support to survivors of ritual sacrifice.
“We have in some cases relocated families of the victims for their safety, built them houses and offered education to survivors,” Mr Sewakiryanga said.
According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations Report, one child is killed for rituals every week.
The report indicates that people carry out human sacrifices to seek wealth, among others.
The article below pays attention to the first study of its kind (at least, as far as I know) that gives us reliable and in-depth information on the scale of ritual murders in a West African country as well as details pertaining to the ‘how and why’ of ritual killings in this country, Ghana. The author, Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu, is a law and criminology researcher at Aberystwyth University and a lecturer at Arden University (all in the United Kingdom). He recognizes that the reported ritual murder cases which were analyzed, and which were all reported in three local Ghanaian media outlets in the 2013-2020 period, may be only the tip of the iceberg due to a number of factors which he explains in the study.
The author studied and analyzed 96 ritual murder cases (reported in the 2013-2020 period) involving approximately 116 victims including 62 children. This means an average of 16 ritual murders including 9 child victims each year – in Ghana only, a country with a population of about 30 million. Significantly, the study shows that ritual murders form approximately 1.6% of all the murders chronicled in the country annually.
The study is entitled ‘The Superstition that Dismembers the African Child: An Exploration of the Scale and Features of Juju-Driven Paedicide in Ghana’. The 42-page study, in volume 60 issue 1 of the ‘International Annals of Criminology’ by Cambridge University Press, has been published in open access for which the publishers are to be commended. It is available in both HTML and PDF formats at: https://doi.org/10.1017/cri.2022.2 or click here. (webmaster FVDK)
Over 16 ritual murders occur in Ghana each year, a recent study shows
Published: August 23, 2022 By: Vincent Tutu Bawuah – Modern Ghana
Juju-driven homicide or ritual murder has been the subject of many media reports in contemporary Ghana. However, very little is known about the prevalence/magnitude and features of this crime in the country, as national data sets on the ritual murder phenomenon are presently non-existent.
To help address the problem relating to the paucity of information on ritual murder, Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu (also known as Black Power), a law and criminology researcher at Aberystwyth University and a lecturer at Arden University (all in the United Kingdom), has conducted a dynamic study on juju and ritual paedicides/pedicides (i.e. killing children for ritual or occult purposes) in Ghana, the first of its kind in a West African setting.
The study sought to establish the scale and identify the primary features, motivations, and socio-cultural, religious and economic contexts of ‘ritual paedicide’ (a phrase coined by the researcher himself) in contemporary Ghana. It also examines the criminal justice system’s responses to such murders.
To realize the defined aim, an in-depth analysis of ritual homicide cases/reports publicized in three local Ghanaian media outlets (the Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, and Daily Guide) between September 2013 and August 2020 was carried out. Semi-structured interviews involving 20 participants were then conducted to gain additional insights into key aspects of the results of the media content analysis.
The following are some of the key findings of the study:
A total of 96 reports/articles on ritual murder were extracted from the websites of the three media outlets perused, and this involved approximately 116 victims. Out of the 116 victims, 62 were children. This means that at least 16.5 ritual murders involving approximately 9 child victims occur in Ghana each year. The study also indicates that ritual paedicide forms approximately 1.6% of all the murders chronicled in the country annually. The researcher however admits that the number of ritual paedicide cases identified in the selected media outlets may be only the tip of the iceberg due to a number of limitations highlighted in the study.
Most ritual paedicide victims (over 79%) are children of low socio-economic backgrounds in rural and semi-rural communities. There is no significant difference in the number of boys and girls murdered. Blood, the head, the limbs, and the private parts are the most sought-after body parts. Several reasons have been suggested for this trend. Ritual paedicide cases were more prevalent in the western part of Ghana than in other areas of the country. A reason for this development has been suggested in the study.
Poor parental supervision is a significant risk factor for ritual paedicide. Over 70% of the victims were kidnapped while playing outside their homes unsupervised, going to school or fetching water from a stream unaccompanied, or running errands for their parents or other family members. Though letting children under 10 years roam about unsupervised appears to be a normal practice in most African communities, the study cautions against it.
Most ritual murders involve multiple perpetrators, and a number of factors have been offered to explain this trend. Most perpetrators and prime suspects are males, aged between 20 and 39 years, mostly unemployed or financially handicapped. However, the study does not rule out the involvement of rich and educated people who are highly likely to hire others (ideally, poor or unemployed youth) to commit the barbaric crime rather than doing it themselves.
Unlike other forms of homicide, perpetrators of ritual paedicide are strangers nearly as often as being family members and acquaintances. Fathers, stepfathers, and uncles are the dominant culprits in cases where victims and perpetrators are related.
The most dominant motivation for ritual murder in Ghana is pecuniary gain. Among the key factors that account for the prevalence and persistence of ritual murders in the country are widespread unemployment and concomitant economic privations, obsession with juju, the increasing popularity of ‘cyber-criminality’ and the so-called Sakawa Boys, exposure of Ghanaian youth to African movies that portray juju and juju rituals as an efficient wealth-guaranteeing religious practice, illiteracy, and the emergence of a new ‘consumerist ethos’ that has engrossed the Ghanaian society and which is marked by the unrestrained quest for material success and the flamboyant display of luxury.
The majority of perpetrators are not apprehended or even identified by law enforcement agencies. There is evidence of police laxity in investigating and prosecuting cases of ritual pedicide in Ghana.
The study, entitled ‘The Superstition that Dismembers the African Child: An Exploration of the Scale and Features of Juju-Driven Paedicide in Ghana’, makes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge. It is highly significant as it breaks new ground and provides a foundation for further informed engagement with the ritual paedicide phenomenon in Africa.
The full study (a 42-page article) has been published (open access) in volume 60 issue 1 of the ‘International Annals of Criminology’ by Cambridge University Press. It could be accessed in both HTML and PDF formats at: https://doi.org/10.1017/cri.2022.2
Below follows a shocking account from Uganda. It is not the first time on this site that human sacrifices, ritual murders and ritualistic activities are being reported from this East African country.
The reported steep increase in the number of (reported and/or discovered!) human sacrifices is indeed extremely worrisome, the more so that we may assume that the discovered or reported cases of ritual killing are only the tip of an iceberg.
It’s a horrifying reality that mainly children are victim of these crimes which are above all based on superstition and (partly) caused by poverty. Partly caused, because according to reports not only poor people resort to human sacrifices to increase their well-being. Also (rich) businessmen do, as the 2014 case of the business tycoon Kato Kajubi demonstrates (see my posting dated May 7, 2021).
Whereas in 2019 22 ritualistic murders were recorded, this number rose to 45 in 2020, and to 65 last year (2021), resulting in the sad total figure of 132 human sacrifices which have been recorded.
Ritual killings must stop! (webmaster FVDK)
‘A big problem’: Uganda sees spike in human sacrifice incidents
Published: July 3, 2022 By: TRT News
Authorities say human sacrifices take place at advice of ‘witch doctors’ in superstition-hit rural areas to bring good luck.
Human sacrifices continue unabated in the remote and rural areas of the landlocked East African country of Uganda despite authorities enacting tough laws and threatening death sentences.
According to officials, 132 incidents of human sacrifices have been recorded in the last three years. The numbers have spiked from 22 sacrifices in 2019, 45 in 2020 and 65 in 2021.
Most victims of such “ritual sacrifices” are children, apparently because they are easier to abduct and seen as “pure” and so of “higher ritual value”.
Anadolu Agency quoted authorities as saying on Sunday that the sacrifices are being carried out by witch doctors or local traditional healers, dotting rural areas.
Admitting that human sacrifice is a big problem, Lucas Oweyesigire, the police spokesman for the Kampala region, said most such practices take place in rural areas.
The so-called leader of traditional healing and witch doctors, Mama Fina, has also condemned human sacrifice and described those recommending the sacrifice of human beings as “fake”.
Taking advice from witch doctors
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said only last month they “arrested a man identified as Musilimu Mbwire on suspicion of killing his two sons in human sacrifice.”
According to preliminary investigations, a rich man had paid Mbwire money and convinced him to sacrifice his two sons at the instructions of a witch doctor.
Superstitions lead people in rural areas to seek help from witch doctors, who in turn offer weird prescriptions, including human sacrifices to turn around their luck.
A more worrisome part of the superstition is to undertake human sacrifice to put the body at the foundation of a building to bring good luck.
Timothy Mukasa, a local leader in Kampala’s suburb of Kireka, said many multi-storey buildings in the town have been built on a human body.
“The witch doctors tell owners to put a human body at the foundation of the construction of the buildings,” he said.
In 2014, authorities apprehended and later sentenced a tycoon Kato Kajubi for sacrificing a child and then putting his body in the foundation of a building that he was about to construct.
David Musenze, a journalist who studied psychology, said there are not many qualified counsellors to attend to psychological and mental issues of people, which makes them take advice from witch doctors.
“People go to witch doctors to help them get jobs, be promoted at jobs, or kill their enemies, along with many other problems,” he said.
Ritualistic murders are no exception in Ogun State, Nigeria. That’s a mild way of saying that ritual murders are rife in this southwestern part of Africa’s most populated country. I have repeatedly drawn attention on reported cases of ‘money rituals’ which demand a human sacrifice, see my postings of murder cases in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and the current year 2022.
I have no doubt that many more ritual murders have been committed in Ogun State but, first of all, not all murders are being reported and investigated and, secondly, not all ritual killings are detected.
Recently, there have been increasing protests against these cruel crimes. On Sunday April 3, a preacher at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Onikoko, Abeokuta, Chief Francis Oluwole Ogunnusi raised his voice against ritual killings, lashing out at ‘money rituals’. Suddenly he slumped and he died on the spot causing consternation and confusion in the church.
It is not known whether deacon Francis Ogunnusi was suffering from any health related problem.
I haven’t run across a newspaper article mentioning the following suspicion, but I won’t be surprised if quite a large number of churchgoers and other ordinary people reacted on the news of the deacon’s sudden demise – albeit silently – with awe and conviction that a terrifying and powerful person who possessed an extra-ordinary strong ‘juju’ was responsible for the death of Chief Francis Oluwole Ogunnusi (webmaster FVDK).
Deacon dies while preaching against ritual killings in Ogun State
A deacon at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Onikoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Francis Ogunnusi, reportedly slumped and died while against the ‘get-rich-quick’ syndrome during a Sunday service.
The church was thrown into confusion when the Deacon, also said to be the Baale of Onikoko, a community, near the Panseke area suddenly slumped with a microphone in his hand.
According to Daily Trust, a viral video showed the Deacon alongside an interpreter, warning against the rising cases of money-making rituals.
Delivering his sermon in Yoruba, Ogunnusi said “The money you make through unlawful means, killing people, sucking human blood; when death comes, it will belong to another person.”
However, when the interpreter was still trying to present the words in the English language, the man slumped and threw the church into commotion.
He was reportedly rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, where he was pronounced dead.
The aforementioned publication reported that a congregant said, “The man was not the pastor of that church, he was just an elder. He was the Baale of Onikoko. But he was the one that delivered the sermon on Sunday.
“He was talking about death and people who make money by killing other people. All of a sudden, he collapsed. He was rushed to the FMC, but he died. We don’t know what happened. I was very scared. Everything was disrupted. We just shared the grace and went home.”
The source could not confirm whether the deceased was battling any health challenges.
Confusion as deacon dies while preaching against ritual killings in Ogun
Published: April 5, 2022 By: Peter Moses – Daily Trust, Nigeria
There was a commotion at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Onikoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, when a Deacon, Francis Ogunnusi, reportedly slumped and died…
Our correspondent gathered that the incident occurred on Sunday when Ogunnusi was preaching against the ‘get-rich-quick’ syndrome.
There have been worrying cases of ritual killings in Ogun State and other parts of the country. No less than three cases of killings for money rituals were recorded in different parts of the state last month.
A viral video sighted by our correspondent showed the deacon alongside an interpreter, warning against the rising cases of money rituals.
Ogunnusi was also said to be the Baale of Onikoko, a community near the Panseke area in Abeokuta metropolis.
The church was thrown into confusion when the deacon suddenly slumped with a microphone in his hand.
Delivering his sermon in Yoruba, Ogunnusi said, “The money you make through unlawful means, killing people, sucking human blood; when death comes, it will belong to another person.”
However, when the interpreter was still trying to present the words in the English language, the man slumped and threw the church into a commotion.
He was reportedly rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, where he was pronounced dead.
A congregant said, “The man was not the pastor of that church, he was just an elder. He was the Baale of Onikoko. But he was the one that delivered the sermon on Sunday.
“He was talking about death and people who make money by killing other people. All of a sudden, he collapsed. He was rushed to the FMC, but he died. We don’t know what happened. I was very scared. Everything was disrupted. We just shared the grace and went home.”
The source could not confirm whether the deceased was battling any health challenges.
It was gathered that the lifeless body of Ogunnusi had been deposited in the mortuary.
Ogun: ECWA ‘Pastor’ slumps, dies on pulpit while preaching against ‘Money Rituals’
Published: April 6, 2022 By: Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta – New Telegraph, Nigeria
A Deacon at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Onikoko area of Abeokuta, Ogun State, has slumped and died while preaching in the church on Sunday.
The Deacon, identified as Chief Francis Oluwole Ogunnusi, was the Baale of Onikoko community, near Panseke area of Abeokuta.
It was gathered that, Ogunnusi was in the pulpit on Sunday preaching against the ‘get-rich-quick’ syndrome that has become rampant, especially among Nigerian youths when he suddenly slumped.
In a video sighted by our correspondent, the Deacon warned those killing people and drinking human blood to get rich, saying when they die, the money would be taken by another person. In the video that had since gone viral on Social Media, the community leader who was preaching in Yoruba said,
“The money you make through unlawful means, killing people, sucking human blood; when death comes, it will belong to another person.” However, when the interpreter was still trying to present the words in English language, the man suddenly fell heavily with the microphone in his hand.
This led to commotion in the church hall as people ran to carry him to the hospital. A member of the church, who did not want to be mentioned, said the man was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, where he was pronounced dead.
“The man was not the pastor of that church, he was just an elder. He was the Baale of Onikoko. But he was the one that delivered the sermon on Sunday. “He was talking about death and people who make money by killing other people. All of a sudden, he collapsed. He was rushed to the FMC, but he died. We don’t know what happened. I was very scared.
Everything was disrupted. We just shared the grace and went home,” the worshipper said. The source said he would not know whether or not the man had any health challenge before his sudden death on Sunday, adding that the deceased preacher may be between age 60 and 70 years.
It was gathered that the church at Onikoko is the headquarters of ECWA in the state. The lifeless body of Chief Ogunnusi has been deposited in the mortuary, it was gathered.
A deacon at the Evangelical Church Winning All, Onikoko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Francis Ogunnusi, has died while preaching in the church on Sunday.
The late deacon was the Baale of Onikoko community, near the Panseke area of Abeokuta.
Our correspondent gathered that Ogunnusi was on the pulpit on Sunday preaching against the get-rich-quick syndrome that had become the order of the day in different parts of the country.
Our correspondent saw a video where the deceased was heard warning those killing others to get rich, saying when they died, the money would be taken by other people.
Ogunnusi, while preaching in Yoruba, said, “The money you make through unlawful means, killing people, sucking human blood, when death comes, it will belong to another person.”
However, as his interpreter was about presenting the words in English language, Ogunnusi fell with the microphone in his hand.
This led to commotion in the church hall, as people rushed him to a hospital.
A member of the church, who did not want to be identified, said the victim was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi Aba, Abeokuta, where he was pronounced dead.
The source said, “The man was not the pastor of that church; he was just an elder. He was the Baale of Onikoko. He was the one that delivered the sermon on Sunday.
“He was talking about death and people who made money by killing other people. All of a sudden, he collapsed. He was rushed to the FMC, where he died. We don’t know what happened. I was very scared. Everything was disrupted. We just said the grace and went home.”
The source could not tell if Ogunnusi had any health challenge before the incident, adding that the deceased was between 60 and 70 years old.
It was gathered that the church at Onikoko is the headquarters of ECWA in Ogun State.
The corpse was said to have been deposited in a mortuary.
The following report is not on a ritualistic murder though it does have ritualistic activities as its core theme. In Ikorodu a man was caught who had fresh human parts in his possession. Ikorodu s a large city in Lagos State with a population of approximately one million; it is the largest local government in Lagos State. Reportedly, the arrested individual, a 41-year old man, named Sikiru Kolawole, was apprehended near the Ojokoro cemetery in Ikorodu.
From police reports it is learned that the suspect might have been involved personally in the acquisition of (read: digging up) the human parts. It is not clear whether the suspect was motivated by financial gains, selling the human parts to interested parties or acting on behalf of someone else, or by a personal motive. Whatever the case, it is obvious that superstition as involved: the belief in the power of human parts. Therefor, this warrants the inclusion of the following article on this site (webmaster FVDK).
Police arrest man with fresh human parts in Ikorodu
Published: December 10, 2021 By: Vanguard News, Nigeria
The Sagamu Road Police Division said it has arrested a 41-year-old man, Sikiru Kolawole, for allegedly being in possession of fresh human parts.
The Spokesman of the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the incident, said that the suspect was reportedly found with fresh human hands, intestines and skull from Ojokoro cemetery in Ikorodu.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the case to be transferred to the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID) at Panti, Yaba, for diligent investigation and prosecution.
Earlier, the Ikorodu Local Government Chairman, Hon. Wasiu Adesina, who led members of his cabinet to the scene of the crime, said the council promised to do everything necessary to curtail the dastard act and its reoccurrence.
The council boss immediately directed the environment department to clear every part of the cemetery to avoid any black spot inside and outside, adding that the apprehended suspect would be dealt with according to the law to serve as a deterrent to others.
“While we take care of the living, the council has mandated itself to cater for our dead ones and that is why we have rehabilitated the Ikorodu cemetery to international standard.
“I will ensure proper security measures are put in place and deal ruthlessly with anybody engaging in such illegitimate act at the cemetery.
“We have done lots of rehabilitation, illuminating the cemetery with solar power, provided water system and perimeter fencing,” he said.
Mr Nurudeen Lawal, one of the local guards at the cemetery, said that they engaged with the suspect in combat before he was apprehended around 1:30 am with a sack full of human parts while trying to escape.
“We carry out surveillance round the cemetery at least three to four times in a shift to observe the surroundings.
“Suddenly, we started hearing some funny sound, on getting there we saw the suspect with a sack loaded so we challenged him on how he got in and his mission at the cemetery.
“During the interrogation, we challenged him to open his sack, he resisted and it resulted in a combat and trying to use the weapon with him to scare us away to enable him flee.
“Subsequently, we grabbed and took him to the police station with the human parts for further interrogation,” Lawal said.
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq came under fire recently from the Kwara State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The party accused him of not demonstrating any commitment to deal with the situation, referring to the rise in kidnap for ransom and ritual killings. Party officials complained that criminal elements including kidnappers and ritual killers now operate freely in different parts of the state.
Kwara State is in this respect no exception, as my previous posts on Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Rivers states amply demonstrate.
As we will see in the next few days, other states in Nigeria share the same horrid situation. Both state government and the federal government fail to address this national curse adequately (webmaster FVDK).
Kwara PDP tasks Gov Abdulrazaq on citizens security
The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has tasked Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to wake up to his responsibilities and rescue citizens from the current insecurity in the state.
Reacting to the murder of a kidnap victim, Adegboyega Onijala, the PDP alleged that despite reported cases of kidnappings and killings in different parts of the state, “the governor has not demonstrated any commitment to deal with the situation.”
The party in a statement in Ilorin on Thursday by the state Publicity Secretary, Tunde Ashaolu, condemned the murder of Adegboyega Onijala noting that ” the spate of kidnap for ransom and ritual killings in Kwara State in recent times is worrisome and quite unfortunate.”
The party lamented that criminal elements including kidnappers and ritual killers now operate freely in different parts of the state, destroying lives and throwing families into a state of sadness.
” What is more worrisome is that the state government, saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property, appears helpless in securing the lives of Kwarans who live in perpetual fear of attacks and kidnappings,” it added.
The party charged security operatives to investigate the sad incident and bring the perpetrators to book.
It commiserated with the family of the victim and the people of Isin Local Government Area in general.
Recall that the Police on Wednesday recovered the corpse of Adegboyega Onijala who was kidnapped at about 7pm by unknown gunmen last Saturday in Olla community of Isin Local Government Area of the state.
He reportedly died at the hands of the kidnappers in the forest as a result of the severe machete cut injuries inflicted on him during the attack.
DAILY POST gathered that the kidnappers had collected about N400,000 as ransom but eventually killed the victim.
Warning: the story below contains graphic details which may upset the reader.
A 24-year-old lady from Warri, Delta State, has escaped from a den of ritual killers after being lured with a fake lucrative job offer abroad. After spending nine months in the bush where her abductors impregnated her she managed to escape. Other women who also had been kidnapped were not so lucky. After being raped, some women died of hunger and diseases, some were ritually murdered by their abductors who also used their babies for ritualistic purposes.
The article makes no mention of any arrest. Abductions are rife in Nigeria, both for purposes of demanding a ransom and for ritualistic purposes. According to the article, citing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 750,000 to one million persons are trafficked annually in Nigeria. Some 75% of those trafficked are taken across the states, 23% within states while 2% are moved outside the country, mostly to places in Europe and in Asia. Un unknown number of them is killed for ritual purposes in Nigeria (‘money rituals’). (webmaster FVDK).
Nigerian Woman Lured With Fake Italian Job Ends Up In Ritualists’ Den In Ondo, Impregnated By Abductors
Published: November 30, 2021 By: Sahara Reporters, New York
Mercy was made to believe that the salary was good and that they could pay for the travel expenses when they reached Italy and had started earning.
A 24-year-old lady simply identified as Mercy, who is based in Warri, Delta State, has escaped from a den of ritual killers after being lured with a fake lucrative job offer in Italy.
SaharaReporters learnt that the victim, who lost her father as a baby and was abandoned by her mother at 11 months, was told by a friend that there was a woman in Lagos State ready to sponsor them to Italy to work as sales attendants in stores and stewards for rich clients.
Mercy was made to believe that the salary was good and that they could pay for the travel expenses when they reached Italy and had started earning.
Desperate for a new life away from Warri where she endured an abusive relationship that produced a son, the 24-year-old lady did not inform her guardian, Maureen, before leaving for Lagos State in October 2020 with her friend, who was also lured and tricked to believe the trip was real.
Their journey to Italy was to start immediately after they arrived in Lagos and met with the sponsor of their trip.
But things took a different turn when Mercy and her friend, who is now deceased, finally linked up with team members of the woman that was to take them to Europe in a house around Surulere, a Lagos suburb.
“Mercy and her friend were given laced juice to drink when they arrived at the place they were to meet with the person, who promised to take them to Italy. They became unconscious for hours and only realised that they were in danger when they found themselves in a forest.
“Mercy summoned the courage to ask the men who had guns to take them out of the place but they beat her so much that she fainted,” Eriyo told SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
The days that followed that period were hellish for Mercy and the other ladies, who found themselves in the forest and at the receiving end of the cruelty dished out by the gun-wielding men.
Apart from being subjected to several hours of rape daily, the victims of the abduction and ritual killing network were made to endure hunger for several days.
They were only given two slices of bread once in three days and made to drink from a dirty pond inside the forest.
Mercy and many of the victims fell sick at various times while in captivity with some of them dying in the process.
“Many of the young ladies lured by this syndicate died of hunger and diseases from the dirty water they drank while in the forest.
“Their body parts were sold to ritualists who constantly demanded such. A lady who got pregnant and delivered there died but the baby survived. The gang used the innocent child for rituals along with the mother’s body.
“The place was a forest of death where no victim ever came out alive. The area was fortified and watched by members of this syndicate who all had sophisticated guns with them,” Eriyo added.
After spending around nine months inside this den, Mercy, her late friend and two others summoned the courage to escape from the place despite the presence of the gun-wielding men in various sections of the forest.
One day, after those guarding the place, were excessively high on drugs and alcohol and had dozed off, a handful of the victims escaped from the place.
They walked for three days inside the forest before getting to an expressway where a truck driver transporting food items to Lagos reluctantly carried them in his vehicle to the city.
The friend, who introduced the Italy trip to Mercy, did not make it out of the forest – she died while they were escaping from the place.
“Mercy is still in shock over everything she went through inside that forest. She returned to Warri last Thursday and gave birth by Caesarean section on Sunday.
“She was impregnated by her captors, who took turns to rape her and other ladies in the bush. Others like her who got pregnant in that forest and delivered there had their babies collected from them for ritual purposes.
“The trauma and pain are still fresh for her because many times she screams from her sleep, afraid that those people in the forest would come back to take her. The situation is affecting her mentally.
“She needs a lot of help to overcome the pain. I am trying my best to support her in ways I can but she needs great help.
“She is still in the hospital after giving birth by CS. Her health is of great concern to us because she has high blood pressure at the moment. She needs urgent assistance and intervention in various forms,” Eriyo said.
Trafficking in persons in Nigeria has been a major issue for years with the government failing to tackle the situation to a halt despite public outcry.
While in the past ladies were mostly taken to Italy, Spain and other European countries for prostitution, these days such persons after being lured by the syndicate in this illicit business, end up as sex slaves in Asian countries or killed for ritual purposes in Nigeria.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 750,000 to one million persons are trafficked annually in Nigeria.
The organisation went on to say that over 75 per cent of those trafficked are taken across the states, 23 per cent within states while two per cent are moved outside the country.
The reader is being warned that the following articles contain graphic details of the kidnapping and murder of a young girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, who was killed for her body parts. The gruesome crime took place in Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) in South Africa in January 2018. The kidnapping of the young innocent girl of only 13 years old and her gruesome fate not only shocked the residents of Witbank, as illustrated by the tweet below, but shocked the entire nation and was widely covered in the press, as illustrated by the news articles below describing the related events in the past three years (2018-2021).
I reported earlier on the murder of Gabisile Shabane, who was abducted together with her 15-months old cousin: on April 30, 2018 (South Africa: ‘Fake sangoma murderers’ target albino body parts for rituals) and August 23, 2019 (South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes). Again, I wish to commend the South African authorities for their swift action to apprehend and prosecute the suspects and also I wish to congratulate the press in South Africa for its extensive coverage of this important trial. Only by raising the awareness of the general public that these crimes have no place in the 21st century and a stiff warning to traditional healers, sangomas and others that their criminal acts will no longer remain unpunished can we end these barbaric crimes against humanity and the violation of peoples’ most sacred human rights: the right to live. (webmaster FVDK).
South Africa: Blood of murdered girl with albinism used for ‘cleansing’, says state witness
Published: October 11, 2021 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
A state witness has given shocking testimony in the trial of three men implicated in the murder of Gabisile Shabane, a young girl with albinism from Emalahleni (formerly Witbank) who was abducted and murdered in January 2018, allegedly for her body parts.
The three accused are Thokozani Msibi — a traditional healer originally from Eswatini who lived and practised in Emalahleni and the alleged mastermind behind the plot — Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize.
A fourth accused, Mfanasibili Gamedze, died behind bars while waiting to be extradited to SA from Eswatini, while a fifth accused, Josiah Thubane, pleaded guilty to his part in the murder in 2019. He is already serving his sentence.
The state witness, who is not being named and is under witness protection, was present when Shabane was murdered, dismembered and buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan, near Pretoria.
TimesLIVE is referring to him as Mr X.
Delivering his testimony to the high court sitting in Middelburg, Mr X said he was there when Shabane was forced to drink a beer laced with brake fluid and also some dagga before her killing. Mr X said he had taken part in rituals which were performed using Shabane’s body parts and blood.
Mr X had begun delivering his testimony last week. Continuing on Monday, he told the court his version of the events that unfolded at a farm in Cullinan when Shabane was killed and buried.
“Mr Msibi closed the hole [shallow grave where Shabane was buried] while Mr Gamedze was busy with the plastic which contained the parts. It was then that Msibi said now is the time for us to do a cleansing ritual on ourselves,” Mr X told the court.
“I was told that it was time for me to cleanse, so my mom could get well and all our things could go OK. We then all took off our clothes. We cleansed with the contents of the bucket.”
The bucket had contained a mixture of muthi, water and Shabane’s blood. Msibi took some muthi and sprinkled it onto the grave, speaking some words as he did this.
Mr X told the court that after dressing, as they were walking back to a house on the farm, Msibi stopped them and said, “Men, can everything that has happened here stay between us — no matter what the situation is, it should be kept between us.”
“He was referring to the killing of Gabisile and the removal of her body parts. He pleaded with me and also made reference to Mkhize [who allegedly had driven them from Witbank after Gabisile’s abduction], saying that even though we did not partake [in the killing], we should keep this secret to ourselves,” said Mr X.
“I promised him that I would never disclose anything. He said if we ever spoke about this, we would get to see the full might of his muthi.”
On the way back to the house, they covered their tracks and used soil to cover some blood spatter from Shabane that had been shed along the way.
Mr X said he had dug three holes and covered them again, which he hoped would act as a decoy to ensure that Shabane’s body would never be found.
The men went back to the house, where Mr X cooked a meal for them to eat. Mr X said it was during this time that he had told Msibi that he needed to go back to Witbank because he was working from 2pm. He was employed at a petrol station.
“He said I should stop complaining and that there was no need for me to go back to my work because from then on, I was rich,” Mr X told the court.
Mkhize, who had earlier left the men at the farm, returned with plates of takeaway food, gave it to Mr X, Mkhize and Gamedze. They then packed their belongings, including a bucket that had contained the plastic bag with the body parts and a maroon traditional cloth, into the car.
They headed back to Witbank, where the men resided, but along the way an argument ensued.
“An argument ensued after Msibi said to Mkhize that my ugly face shouldn’t fool him into believing I was brave, because I had been so afraid and would not even come close when they were dismembering the body.
“I asked Mkhize whether he would have gone to that scene. He replied that I should ask Msibi what he did in Cape Town,” said Mr X, suggesting that he was capable of it.
“Mkhize made comments and asked what am I good at in life because I can’t even drive. This resulted in silence in the car. We proceeded with our journey back to Witbank. On our drive, Msibi opened the window and began speaking out that he is summoning all the sick to come to his place of practice.”
Mr X said once they reached Witbank, he headed to his brother’s house, leaving Gamedze and Msibi behind. Mkhize left the men at Msibi’s house and also went home.
Mr X was asked to elaborate on how he knew the second accused in the matter, Mhlanga. He told the court that he had met Mhlanga with Mkhize one morning after he had knocked off from work.
“I went to Msibi’s house and found accused two there with other guys. They were travelling in a sky-blue Hyundai ix35. Msibi had called me to come and join them, saying they were having a traditional steam and had been steaming throughout the night. I went to take off my uniform and returned to the place where they were.
“I found them sitting in the indumba [traditional hut where healing and consultation is done]. They were speaking into emptied pumpkins while they steamed. They were talking [about] their dreams and wishes into these hollowed out pumpkins. That is all I know about him.
“Msibi once made mention of him in the past, referring to him as Knowledge, saying he is organising for him to get an albino in the Mhlanga area,” said Mr X.
Continuing his testimony, Mr X explained how days later, the police had descended on the premises where Msibi had practised. On this particular day, Msibi and another man had come to the garage and Mr X had asked for a lift from them back home. He said upon entering the vehicle, he was met by a putrid smell. When he opened the window, Msibi would close it.
“When we were about to arrive close to Msibi’s house, I asked if I could get out. We could see a lot of police there. Police were searching his yard and indumba. He went there and joined them and I watched from the street. They didn’t search his car and left soon thereafter,” Mr X said.
Mr X said a few days later, he went to Msibi’s place to ask about what the police had wanted.
“On the smell in the car — Msibi said it was because they had been to Cullinan to fetch the body of the child [that day]. It was because they had been told by a traditional healer from KwaZulu-Natal that the rituals they had done would not work … The healer had said he wanted the skull of the child [to make their ritual work] and they went there to fetch the body and the rest of the skull.”
He told the court that on the day of the police search, they had neglected to search the car which had contained the girl’s body. Msibi said this was proof of the power of his muthi, he said.
Mr X was arrested and soon thereafter turned state witness, giving a voluntary statement where he confessed to his part in the killing.
Shabane was taken at gunpoint along with her 15-month-old nephew, Nkosikhona, from their home in Hlalanikahle in January 2018.
Nkosikhona had been mistaken for another child with albinism living in the same home. When the abductors discovered their mistake, they tossed his body over a bridge along the N4. His decomposing body was found in a swamp. (Also see below, February 21, 2018 – webmaster FVDK)
More background reports on the ritual murder of Gabisile Shabane
Warning: Some readers may find the following articles disturbing because of their graphic contents (webmaster FVDK)
Albinism muti trial: Traditional healer’s second defence lawyer quits
Published: March 3, 2021 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Whatever came out during consultations between a Legal Aid lawyer and the man alleged to have plotted and carried out the butchering of Gabisile Shabane was enough to make the lawyer make a U-turn on representing him in the case.
Shabane, a 13-year-old girl from Emalahleni (Witbank) with albinism, was kidnapped at gunpoint together with her 15-month-old nephew, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, from her family home in January 2018.
Her body was mutilated and some of her organs, including her genitals, ovaries, arms and head, were removed. Her killing was believed to have been muti-related.
Ngwenya was dumped in a swamp next to the N4 highway.
On Wednesday, following a two-hour consultation with traditional healer Thokozani Msibi, lawyer Werner Smit told the high court sitting in Middelburg that his mandate with Msibi had been terminated. He would not disclose the reasons for this.
Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni expressed his frustration.
Mpolweni told the court this was not the first time Msibi had changed a Legal Aid lawyer.
He said he was not sure whether this was a tactic being used by Msibi to delay the proceedings, adding that Legal Aid may not have another lawyer to offer him.
Judge Heinrich Brauckmann granted Smit’s application for withdrawal.
Msibi maintained he had not fired Smit.
“The first attorney I had, I did not terminate his mandate. At the last proceedings, he said he would attend to me after he had assisted someone else but he never came back to me,” said Msibi.
“With Mr Smit, I never terminated his mandate. We were just disagreeing on facts. I tell him this and he tells me something else. He is the one who I said he should tell the court he is not going to proceed with assisting me,” Msibi told the court.
Brauckmann said he hoped Msibi was not taking chances with the court.
“I am not going to take games. We are here to find the truth but if you are going to play games, this court is not going to take it,” he warned Msibi.
Outside court, a string of witnesses, including Gabisile’s mother and her sister, who is the mother of Nkosikhona, and a group of people from far as Swaziland had been waiting and hoping the matter would proceed.
Part of the prosecution team’s frustration stemmed from the fact that the witnesses from Swaziland had initially been scheduled to take the stand this week and return to their home country by Friday. The case, however, was postponed to Friday when it would be known whether Msibi would be granted another lawyer.
Mpolweni told the court Legal Aid had said the first two lawyers granted to him were his right but a third would simply be a privilege.
On Monday, the trial had also been delayed, but this was because the vehicle transporting Msibi to the court from Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria had broken down 40km from the court.
Msibi is an integral part in solving Shabane’s murder. Some of her body parts were allegedly found at his home days after she went missing.
He is set to be trialled alongside two other men, Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize.
Another accused, Mfanasibili Gamedze, who like Msibi was originally from Swaziland, has since died. Gamedze was being held in police custody in Swaziland and died while awaiting extradition back to SA. The circumstances surrounding his death were not immediately disclosed but are expected to be addressed during the trial.
This matter has already seen two men jailed.
The first was Sabelo Khubeka. At the height of the search for Shabane and her nephew, after their disappearance in 2018, Khubeka had lied about having knowledge of the whereabouts of the children. He tried to extort money from their family when he demanded a ransom. He was traced to Vosloorus, arrested and upon questioning found to have no clue about the missing children. He was jailed for five years.
The second is Josiah Thubane, a qualified teacher-turned-struggling businessman. Thubane, who claimed to be haunted by his deeds, confessed to his part in killing Shabane, admitting it was a muti killing. He had allegedly been told that getting the body parts of a person with albinism could assist in boosting his struggling business.
He pleaded guilty on all charges, including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse. He was handed two life terms for the killings.
Thubane said Ngwenya was an unintentional casualty in the matter. The 15-month-old was mistaken for another child in Shabane’s home who also had albinism. Once they had noticed their error in taking Ngwenya, he was dumped over a bridge on the N4 where he drowned in a river.
Shabane and Ngwenya’s bodies were found on February 20 2018.
Ngwenya’s body had already decomposed in the water. The post-mortem report said “no anatomical cause of death found”.
With Shabane, her post-mortem report concluded “cannot [be] determined” because of her missing organs.
Accused in case of murdered teen with albinism dies before trial
Published: March 1, 2021 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
One of the people implicated in the murder of Emalahleni (Witbank) teenager Gabisile Shabane and her cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya has died before going on trial.
“There was a fourth accused who we were hoping and praying we could extradite from Swaziland. But his counsel has since indicated that he passed on. He is the fourth accused in the matter,” said prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni.
The circumstances surrounding Gamedze’s death were not immediately disclosed but are expected to be addressed during the trial.
Only two of the remaining three accused stood in the dock on Monday.
Mpolweni told the court the vehicle which had been transporting Thokozani Msibi to court from Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria had broken down about 40km from court.
Proceedings were postponed in his absence, with a new trial start date set for Wednesday.
Msibi, a traditional healer, was believed to be the mastermind behind the killing of Shabane. Some of her body parts were found at his home. Like Gamedze, he was originally from Swaziland but has since resided and practised in Emalahleni.
The other accused are Knowledge Wezi Mhlanga and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize, both from Emalahleni.
This matter has already seen two men jailed. The first was Sabelo Khubeka. At the height of the search for Shabane and her nephew, after their disappearance in 2018, Khubeka had lied about having knowledge of the whereabouts of the children. He tried to extort money from their family as he demanded a ransom.
At the time, Brig Leonard Hlathi said a team investigating the matter turned their focus to tracking down Khubeka who was traced to Vosloorus in Gauteng. He was arrested and upon questioning found to have no clue about the missing children. He was jailed for five years.
The second is Josiah Thubane, a qualified teacher-turned-struggling businessman. Thubane, who claimed to be haunted by his deeds, confessed to his part in killing Shabane, admitting it was a muti killing.
He pleaded guilty on all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse. He was handed two life terms for the killings.
He clarified that Ngwenya was an unintentional casualty in the matter. The 15-month-old was mistaken for another child in Shabane’s home who also had albinism.
Once they had noticed their error in taking Ngwenya, he was dumped over a bridge on the N4 where he drowned in a river.
The state’s case is that Thubane had been introduced to the so-called powerful muti-man Msibi by Mhlanga, along with his business partner.
Thubane and his business partner were accompanied by Mhlanga to go for a consultation with Msibi. At the time, Gamedze was also present.
In his confession, Thubane told the court he was advised by Msibi to bring him a person with albinism to boost his struggling rental property business.
Msibi had known of Gabisile and another child living in the same home who had albinism and apparently informed them of this.
Thubane, Mhlanga, Msibi and Gamedze later met to hash out and execute the kidnapping plan. They broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle in January 2018, pointed firearms at the family and fled with the children.
Gabisile’s body was later found in a shallow grave in Cullinan, Pretoria. Several of her body parts, including her genitals, heart, liver and left arm had been dismembered.
Delivering her judgment back in 2019, judge Segopotje Mphahlele said the crimes were clearly planned.
“He admitted that when they finally found the children, he … knew his dream of having a flourishing business was about to be realised,” she said of Thubane.
Mphahlele said the children had suffered a gruesome death at the hands of unscrupulous men who were blinded by greed and the love of money.
“People living with albinism face discrimination and stigma. They face a more severe form of violence. The attacks have several root causes, including ignorance, long-standing stigma and the most disgusting is the harmful practices emanating from manifestations in some beliefs in witchcraft,” ruled Mphahlele.
On counts of housebreaking and kidnapping, Thubane was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each. On the double murder charges, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for each and to three years for possession of a firearm.
The now deceased Gamedze had also played in integral part in Shabane’s killing. She had been kept at his home after her kidnapping and it is believed that it was he, Msibi and another person, Thulani Thobela, who butchered the girl.
Thobela turned state witness after his arrest.
The state says that after Shabane was dismembered and buried, Msibi had performed rituals on Mhlanga, Mkhize — their driver, Thubane and his business partner Fantjie Khumalo.
Mkhize was alleged to have been brought on board after Shabane’s kidnapping.
Days later, Msibi, Gamedze and another national from Eswatini returned to the plot where Shabane’s body was buried in a shallow grave. This time, they removed her head and arms and reburied her in the same grave.
After an extensive search, Shabane and Ngwenya’s bodies were found on February 20 2018. Ngwenya’s body had already decomposed in the water. The postmortem report said: “no anatomical cause of death found”.
With Shabane, her postmortem report concluded “cannot [be] determined” because of her missing organs.
Double life sentence for teacher who killed teen with albinism for muti
Published: August 23, 2019 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
A man with a degree in teaching who admitted to abducting and killing a teen living with albinism, believing the deed would boost his business, was handed two life sentences by a Mpumalanga court on Friday.
Themba Thubane appeared in the Middelburg High Court after pleading guilty to seven charges.
Thubane and accomplices broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga, in 2018.
The group kidnapped Gabisile Shabane, 13, and her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya. Both children were then killed and Gabisile’s body was later found with body parts missing. Her killing was muti-related.
Judge Segopotje Mphahlele said, in handing down judgment, that the crimes were clearly planned.
“The accused and … the others took a decision to travel to Witbank to the house where they could find a person living with albinism. [An accomplice] provided them with the layout of the house. They further knew that the people who were living in that house were the most vulnerable. It was an old lady, her daughter and some children,” she said.
Mphahlele revealed that an axe was used to break the windows to gain entry into the house. The judge said Thubane, in his plea, claimed he had forgotten some details of the robbery, but recalled some.
“He admitted that when they finally found the children, he … knew his dream of having a flourishing business was about to be realised,” she said.
Mphahlele said the children had suffered a gruesome death at the hands of unscrupulous men who were blinded by greed and the love of money.
“The people living with albinism face discrimination and stigma. They face a more severe form of violence.”
“The attacks have several root causes, including ignorance, longstanding stigma and the most disgusting is the harmful practices emanating from manifestations in some beliefs in witchcraft,” ruled Mphahlele.
On counts of house breaking and kidnapping, Thubane was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each. On the double murder charges, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for each and three years for possession of a firearm.
Mphahlele said the behaviour of the accused showed a lack of remorse.
“The behaviour of the accused at all material times is indicative of the lack of repentance. Genuine remorse must be distinguished from self pity…” added Mphahlele.
Clapping and joyful cheers could be heard moments after the judgment was handed down.
Three co-accused have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020.
Teacher to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby
Published: August 20, 2019 By: Nonkululeko Njilo – TimesLIVE, South Africa
A teacher in Mpumalanga who admitted killing a teen who had albinism for muti, as well as her baby cousin, will soon learn how long he will spend behind bars.
Sentencing proceedings against Themba Thubane were expected to commence on Friday in the Middelburg high court.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that Thubane had pleaded guilty to seven charges.
Provincial NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the man admitted to killing Gabisile Shabane, 13, for muti purposes, along with her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya.
The two children were abducted from a home in Vosman near Emalahleni on 28 January 2018.
The toddler did not have albinism and was killed by drowning after being thrown into a river.
Police said in a statement the court heard through Thubane’s guilty plea that Gabisile was killed before being decapitated and chopped up for her body parts. Her remains were buried in a shallow grave at Cullinan in Gauteng.
Thubane’s co-accused, Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga, have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020. The case is set down until June 12. The trio remain in custody.
More than a year since their tragic ordeal, the family expressed relief at the commencement of sentencing proceedings.
In an interview with eNCA, family spokesperson Chantel Ngwenya said the delays had caused unbearable pain to the family.
“We’re really happy the trial has commenced because we have been waiting for a long time. The waiting was killing us as a family. We are happy even though the others did not admit to committing the crime. It’s painful to us, it shows that they are not remorseful for the pain they’ve caused us.”
On Thubane’s guilty plea, Ngwenya said: “We hope that we will be able to find closure from the one that admitted to committing the crime. To us it shows he is remorseful, he has a conscience inside him, he regrets it.”
The family hopes the sentence will take into account the immense pain caused to them by the killings.
Nine months after she was mutilated and killed‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane will finally be laid to rest
Published: October 11, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Almost nine months after being abducted from her home and killed for her body parts‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane who had albinism‚ will finally be laid to rest.
The Mpumalanga Community Security Department has announced that she and her one-year-old nephew Nkosikhona Ngwenya will be buried in Witbank next week.
Their burial had been delayed for months on end as DNA tests had yet to verify that the mutilated body parts found in different areas all belonged to Gabisile. The tests have since been concluded.
Gabisile’s headless body had been found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan‚ east of Pretoria. It was understood that some of her other parts were found in premises belonging to one of the accused in the matter‚ while Nkosikhona had been thrown into a swamp.
It is believed that the attackers had stormed into their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned Nkosikhona for another albino child who was in the house.
“Four suspects were arrested in February and were charged with kidnapping and murder‚” said department spokesman Joseph Mabuza.
Amongst those arrested is a traditional healer. During their bail application‚ the court had heard horrific details of how Gabisile was forced to drink brake fluid and beer and also smoke dagga shortly before her mutilation.
The suspects on Wednesday returned to the Witbank Magistrate’s Court‚ where their case was postponed to August 2019 for trial. They remain behind bars.
Meanwhile‚ Mpumalanga’s MEC of Community Security Pat Ngomane was on Thursday expected to unveil the Shabane home‚ which has been renovated to tighten security.
“During his visit to the family earlier this year‚ MEC Ngomane‚ the eMalahleni Local Municipality and some stakeholders such as Highveld Steel pledged to assist the family by enhancing the security features of their house in order to prevent further break-ins‚” said Mabuza.
“Through donations‚ the MEC and the stakeholders managed to refurbish the house. The roof of the house has been redone‚ the house plastered and painted and the floor tiled. A security wall and a gate have also been completed‚” he added.
‘Let’s burn this court!’ Outrage as alleged killers of albino girl is postponed again
Published: August 14, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Residents of Witbank expressed outrage on Tuesday after hearing the case against four men accused of abducting and killing an albino girl and her nephew was postponed yet again.
“Let’s burn this court!” the 150-strong crowed chanted as they gathered outside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.
The four accused appeared via satellite from the Witbank Correctional Services Centre‚ where they have been kept since their arrest.
Tensions flared outside the court behind the rolls of police tape used to keep the crowds away from the building.
“The family has stayed with a cloud of death over them for seven months and‚ according to our customs‚ this is not done‚” Taylor Pookgoadi‚ the district secretary of the SA Communist Party in Nkangala told the crowd of supporters.
While he‚ the family and scores of other supporters had arrived at the court hoping for the matter to commence‚ it became apparent that the matter was not quite ready for trial.
“It doesn’t seem like there will be much progress when we come back on October 10‚” Pookgoadi told the crowd. “We want the case to simply be moved to a bigger court.”
The case had been postponed after it was found that a fifth suspect was yet to be extradited from Swaziland‚ where he also faces other charges.
Also‚ the DNA results‚ which would determine if the body parts found in different locations were that of 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane‚ who had been mutilated‚ were yet to be obtained.
Gabisile’s 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ was abducted with her.
It is believed that the attackers who had stormed their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned toddler for another albino child who was in the house. His remains were found dumped in a swamp near the N4 highway.
Trudy Xhala-Mavimbela‚ from the office of the mayor‚ said the family had found themselves in a tricky situation because not all of Gabisile’s body parts had been found.
“We can’t bury them until the suspects [hand over] the rest of the body parts‚” Xhala- Mavimbela said.
“This matter has been dragging on since January. Government needs to speed things up so that the family can find peace. This has been traumatic for the family‚” she added‚ addressing the crowds.
On Tuesday‚ two of the alleged killers bowed their heads‚ avoiding contact with the camera that showed their faces to the court. The third beamed his bright smile as he saw the crowds of people seated in the court gallery‚ while the fourth accused simply stared straight forward.
Gabisile’s sister‚ the mother of Nkosikhona‚ stared at the screen‚ glaring at the men accused of taking her son and her sister’s life.
After proceedings‚ she‚ her mother and other relatives who had packed the court stood outside‚ where they briefly spoke to the media.
They expressed concern at the delay in the case.
“We are not happy with how things are progressing‚” said Sibongile Shabane.
They expressed their displeasure at how abruptly court proceedings had ended as one of the accused had raised his hand‚ requesting to speak to his lawyer.
The lawyer stepped out of the courtroom to give his client‚ who was at the prison‚ a call.
The matter was temporarily adjourned but minutes later the lawyer returned and left the court‚ leaving the court orderlies to explain that‚ as previously stated‚ the matter had simply been postponed to October.
Meanwhile‚ a source close to the family spoke to the trauma that the family faced as they frequently went to the mortuary to check on the corpses of the children‚ adding that the body parts were wilting away in the ice.
The worst part‚ however‚ was that even as court proceedings were scheduled to continue in October‚ there was no guarantee that the DNA tests would be ready and the bodies would be released for the burial‚ he said.
‘They know where her mom lives’ – Trio linked to murder of albino girl denied bail
Published: April 17, 2018 By: Tankiso Makhetha – TimesLIVE, South Africa
The three men accused of the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl with albinism have been denied bail in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.
Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize‚ Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga allegedly broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga‚ on January 28‚ where they kidnapped and later murdered Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old cousin‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya.
Msibi was arrested in February and denied bail in the same court on March 6.
A fifth suspect‚ Thulani Thobela turned state witness following his arrest.
In an affidavit he drafted‚ Thobela alleged that Gabisile was kidnapped and murdered with the purpose of harvesting her body parts by Msibi‚ Thubane and Mhlanga.
Magistrate Darleen Venter said by granting bail to the trio‚ it could jeopardise investigations as Shabane’s missing body parts are yet to be discovered.
“Insofar as the intimidating witnesses‚ the court knows that the mother of the deceased‚ who is also an eyewitness in the matter‚ has been attending court proceedings and has been seen by the applicants. They know where she lives and that could endanger her life‚” Venter said.
“If indeed the applicants know where the remaining body parts are‚ they may go back and destroy them‚ rendering the state’s case weak and interfering with investigations.”
She said the applicants failed to show the court that the state’s case was weak in light of the evidence brought against them.
Venter postponed the matter until June 1 for further investigations.
It was heard in court that Thubane and Mhlanga‚ who allegedly run an illegal private college‚ sought the help of Msibi – traditional healer – in making their business flourish.
Shabane’s remains were found in a shallow grave in Cullinan‚ east of Pretoria‚ while Ngwenya was found on the side of the N4 Highway where he was dumped after being killed.
Three more suspects arrested for abduction, murder of Witbank children
Published: March 1, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Police have arrested three more people in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two children in Witbank‚ Mpumalanga.
The 13-year-old girl Gabisile Shabani was an albino and was believed to have been murdered for her body parts. Her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ was allegedly mistaken for another child from the same household who also has albinism.
The arrests happened on Wednesday‚ bringing the total number of suspects to four‚ said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi. He said the trio‚ Thulani Thobela‚ aged 26‚ Donie Cavin Boshielo‚ aged 22‚ and Mthobisi Brilliant Mkhize‚ aged 26‚ had already appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.
“Police have previously reported that certain men broke into a house on 28 January 2018‚ and kidnapped the above-mentioned children. A manhunt for the suspects and a search to locate the children were instituted‚ which led to the arrest of the first suspect‚ Thokozani Msibi‚ aged 32‚ who has already appeared at the same court‚” said Hlathi.
“Through further probe‚ police also managed to locate the lifeless bodies of the two children at Cullinan and along the N4 Highway respectively.”
Gabisile’s mutilated body had been buried in a shallow grave while Nkosikhona had been thrown into a swamp. The trio will be joining Msibi in the dock on March 6. They face charges of murder and two counts of kidnapping.
Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises
Published: February 28, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
A police officer has described the trauma that he and other officers experienced when they discovered remains believed to be those of Gabisile Shabani‚ a 13-year-old albino girl who was murdered‚ allegedly as part of a muti ritual.
The premises in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga belonged to a traditional healer‚ who was arrested last week.
“The dog was first put in there‚ but it came out with nothing‚” said the officer‚ who asked not to be named.
“The dog seemed weak and disorientated as it came out of the room. The dog handler asked [the traditional healer] what he had done to his dog and he said there was strong muti in there‚” the officer said.
Inside the room‚ police officers found muti‚ buckets and bags with various substances‚ and what appeared to be body parts.
“He was telling us what was in each thing. He was speaking like a normal person‚ like you and I. It was really disturbing‚” said the officer.
Gabisile’s beheaded body was found in a shallow grave in Cullinan near Pretoria last week. This was three weeks after she and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were taken at gunpoint in the middle of the night by three men who broke into their home in Hlalanikahle.
It was alleged that the gunmen had mistaken Nkosikhona for another toddler in the house‚ who also has albinism.
The badly decomposed body of the little toddler was recovered on the same day Gabisile’s body was found. He had been thrown into a swamp along the N4.
The officer said he was disturbed to learn from pathologists conducting the post-mortem how Gabisile’s body had been mutilated.
Meanwhile‚ two other people have also been arrested in connection with the incident‚ said the officer. They were arrested in Swaziland and are yet to be brought back to South Africa.
The 32-year-old traditional healer remains in police custody. He appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday as a group of residents gathered outside the court to protest against his release.
The father of four will return to court on March 6‚ when his formal bail application is expected to continue.
Suspect appears in connection with kidnapped and murdered Witbank children
Published: February 21, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
The suspect arrested in connection with the kidnapping of two children who were taken from their home in Hlalanikahle and later found dead appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
“He was remanded in custody pending a bail application which is scheduled for February 26 2018‚” said Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.
“Thokozani Msibi was not asked to plead. The investigation regarding further suspects is underway‚” he added. Msibi was arrested on Tuesday night and charged with kidnapping.
Additional charges of murder could soon be added‚ Hlathi said.
On Wednesday morning‚ police discovered the bodies of two children in separate locations‚ believed to be those of the missing children‚ Gabisile Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya.
They were reported missing on January 28 after three armed gunmen broke into their home and forcibly removed them.
At the time‚ Shabani’s mother told TimesLIVE that she believed the people who took her daughter and grandson were not South African nationals because of their accent when they spoke English.
Another relative said they believed Gabisile had been taken because she was an albino. They also told TimesLIVE they believed the toddler‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ had been mistaken for another toddler who was in the house at the time who also suffered from albinism.
Hlathi said one of the children’s corpses was found in Cullinan while the other was found in a swamp on the N4 en route to Pretoria.
“The bodies were in a bad state‚” Hlathi said.
“A postmortem needs to be conducted to determine the cause of death and DNA tests to also confirm it is them‚” he said.
Hlathi would not immediately confirm whether any of the two bodies had been mutilated.
Msibi lives in the same neighbourhood as the children.
As news of his arrest and the discovery of the children’s bodies spread‚ community members gathered at his house‚ wanting to torch it.
“We spoke to the community members and told them that destroying the house will amount to destroying evidence‚” said Hlathi.
Meanwhile the community began to mobilise in support of the family‚ arranging a protest ao the courthouse for Msibi’s next appearance.
Bodies found believed to be those of abducted Witbank children
Published: February 21, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Two bodies believed to be those of a little girl and her one-year-old nephew who were snatched from their home in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ last month were found on Wednesday.
Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said one of the corpses was found in Cullinan while the other was found in a swamp on the N4 en route to Pretoria.
“The bodies were in a bad state‚” Hlathi said.
“A postmortem needs to be conducted to determine the cause of death and DNA tests to also confirm it is them‚” he said.
Gabisile Shabani‚ 13‚ and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were kidnapped last month by armed gunmen who broke into their house in the middle of the night.
Relatives said they believed Gabisile had been taken because she was an albino. They also told TimesLIVE they believed Nkosikhona had been mistaken for another toddler who was in the house at the time who also lived with albinism.
Hlathi said one suspect had since been arrested.
“He will be appearing in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court today‚” Hlathi said.
Identikit released of alleged Witbank child-snatcher
Published: February 1, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
Police have released an identikit of one of the men suspected to be behind the kidnapping of two children in Witbank at the weekend.
The man was believed to have been part of a three-man gang that forcefully entered a house in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ and made off with Gabisile Shabani and her 15-month-old nephew at gunpoint.
TimesLIVE had on Wednesday spoken to the family who said they believed that all three attackers were foreign nationals.
By Thursday‚ the police investigations were yet to lead any results.
Community members‚ mostly comprising of school children embarked on a march calling for the release of the two child
“Gabisile is living with albinism and it is suspected that the three men who broke into their home in Hlalanikahle‚ also targeted Nkosikhona (the toddler) whom they misttok for another baby in the family who also lives with albinism‚” she said in a statement.
“Cases of kidnapping of people living with albinism are rife in Tanzania‚ and lately in KwaZulu-Natal – and there has been a surge of cases of kidnapping in general here in Emalahleni. But we suspect that the kidnapping of these two children is related to superstitious belief. I hope that police will apprehend those behind the kidnapping‚” Ntshalintshali said.
“The false belief that their body parts have extraordinary powers must be eradicated‚ albinism is a genetically inherited condition‚” she added.
Anna said she had noticed a man watching her daughter as she walked back from school for several days in a row.
She had never seen the man in the area before this‚ neither had she bothered to ask why he was loitering close to her home‚ Anna’s nephew‚ Simon‚ told TimesLIVE.
“I was told that this person would stand facing the door of the house‚” Simon said.
Now the family is wondering whether the same man could have been involved in the kidnapping of the little girl and her one-year-old nephew.
In the early hours of Sunday morning‚ the 50-year-old Anna woke up to the sound of glass shattering. She went to check and found that the one window which did not have burglar bars had been broken and‚ before she knew it‚ there were three men inside her house.
“I tried to scream and ask for help but they came in and pointed a gun at me. I ran back into my room and tried to close the door but they shoved it and overpowered me‚” Anna said.
One of the attackers pointed a gun at her and covered her mouth while the other headed to the bed and grabbed Gabisile‚ who is a twin.
Gabisile had been sleeping on her bed while her twin sister‚ Khanyisile‚ slept in another room with another of Anna’s grandchildren.
“I’m not sure whether she was still asleep at the time [she was taken] because the light was still off‚” Anna told TimesLIVE. “But she didn’t scream or cry.”
SA Community Crime Watch’s Maureen Scheepers said her group had been circulating pictures of the missing girl and working with police in their investigation.
Scheepers said the little girl had been wearing only her underwear when the assailants fled with her.
As the attackers rushed out if the house‚ Gabisile’s 18-year-old sister Nompumelelo‚ who had been sleeping in a separate bedroom with her 15-month-old son‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ emerged from her room.
“I told her that these men have taken Gabisile. She said they took my child too‚” said Anna.
The family called out to neighbours for help and a manhunt ensued.
Colonel Mtsholi Bembe said they were investigating housebreaking and kidnapping cases.
Published: January 31, 2018 By: Naledi Shange – TimesLIVE, South Africa
A pair of cousins from Hlalanikahle in Witbank were kidnapped during an armed attack at their home at the weekend‚ police said on Wednesday.
The two are still missing. According to police‚ a 13-year-old girl and her 15-month-old cousin were taken by a three-man gang in the middle of the night on Sunday.
“According to information at police disposal‚ the trio broke a window and gained entry into the dining room of the house‚ where a 50-year-old woman is staying with her children and grandchildren‚” police said in a statement.
“Upon hearing the noise of the breaking window‚ the woman and her 18-year-old daughter came out of their rooms to investigate what was happening. They were threatened at gunpoint to be silent. The men then took two children from different rooms and vanished into the darkness.”
After the gunmen left‚ the two women headed out of their house‚ trying to raise the alarm with their neighbours.
Community members searched the area while the police were called.
“Nothing else was taken from the house except the two children whose whereabouts still remain unknown‚” said police.
A case of housebreaking and kidnapping has been opened.