Zimbabwe’s oldest town of Masvingo has been rocked by a spate of suspected ritual murders in recent months, forcing residents to demand police’s urgent intervention.
The Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Association last week held a meeting with the police at which they demanded that the law enforcement agents investigate and stop the practice.
The police called for a multi-sectoral approach and urged the local community to assist them with leads in their investigations.
Several incidents have been reported where children or adults were found dead with missing body parts. The belief in the town is that the body parts were being sold in South Africa.
Late last year, a couple from Mucheke high-density suburb was arrested after they allegedly gave away their seven-year-old son to suspected ritual murderers.
The couple, Mercy Tapera (26) and her husband Barnabas Bera (age not given), have been brought before the courts after their son was allegedly abducted from school and later died under mysterious circumstances.
Judgement is yet to be delivered.
Last month, a nine-year-old deaf and dumb child, Isheanopa Gumbo, was abducted in town and went missing for about a week before his corpse was found floating in Mucheke River along the Beitbridge Highway.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake confirmed the incident,
but refused to divulge the post mortem results, although it is believed the deceased had body parts missing.
In an even more recent incident, which police said they were still investigating, a 26-year-old man, Loyd Chigandiwa of Rujeko high density suburb was found dead at the weekend with his lips, ears and nose missing.
Relatives who spoke to NewsDay said they found Chigandiwa dead in Shakashe River after he had gone missing for three days.
Asked what the police were doing to curb incidents of the suspected ritual murders Matake referred NewsDay to police national spokesperson Chief Superintendent, Oliver Mandipaka.
Mandipaka said: “I do not believe there is an increase in ritual murders. These may be isolated incidents, but I will have to find out from that side.”