CLOSE to 20 residents of Dumba village near Beitbridge allegedly kidnapped and tortured to death a fellow villager accused of stealing a neighbour’s donkey.A police report indicated that Austin Sibanda (25) was on January 8 this year clobbered with a hammer, had his privates pinched with a pliers and was whipped with switches inflicting deadly wounds all over his body.
Another villager threw a scorpion into his shirt as part of the torture, Sibanda reportedly told his grandmother Esnath Moyo before he died from the injuries he sustained during his gruesome experience.
The officer commanding Beitbridge Police District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo confirmed the incident saying Beitbridge Rural Police were working on the case.“Yes, it is a Beitbridge Rural Police case,” he said without giving further detail.
Sibanda's relatives accused the police of negligence and carelessness after keeping the deceased for two days denying him medical attention. His relatives also asked why police failed to arrest the vigilantes when they brought Sibanda to the police station for allegedly stealing a donkey when it was evident that those seeking his arrest had severally assaulted him.
“Those are questions the family begs for answers. There was no due diligence. On his deathbed Sibanda told his grandmother he was dying for something he never did. He denied until his last breath and named all the people who attacked him. He narrated how he was clobbered with a hammer and pinched on his privates with a pliers,” a broken relative Melson Shoko, who called from the United Kingdom, said.
He said another villager threw a scorpion into Sibanda's shirt and it repeatedly stung him.“To add salt to injury, and in this case fatal injury, police did not have the presence of mind to take the injured person to hospital, but kept him in cells for two days during which he deteriorated. He could have been saved," Shoko said.
An investigation by NewsDay revealed that no record exists of the deceased’s assault though he exhibited injuries resulting from the attack by fellow villagers and yet he was also reportedly taken to court where he was declared unfit for any court process because he could not stand on his own.
“Police handed him over to his family asking them to have him treated before they took him for trial. “He was vomiting blood and screaming that he was losing his breath. Once he asked to have water poured on him which they did. He died a very sad death and no one should ever go through this kind of death. He died at home on Friday January 12, 2024 around 3pm, four days after he was assaulted by the mob,” said Shoko who asked why police did not prioritise life.
According to research, a scorpion sting induces a massive release of neurotransmitters, scorpion venom neurotoxins which usually cause sweating, nausea, vomiting, hypersalivation, restlessness, and, in more severe cases, arrhythmia, unconsciousness or heart failure, which may lead to death, which Sibanda may have experienced. After his death police looked for the vigilantes and have since arrested four out of the mob listed by the deceased.
Last week Kudakwashe Masiya (36), Keijiyi Siziba (45) and Pine Mukungulushi (28) of Beitbridge appeared before Resident Magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba on allegations of murder.
Humbulani Mbedzi also appeared before Gwazemba on a separate day facing the same allegations.The four are from Mushambe village in Dumba and were not asked to plead. They were advised to apply for bail at the High Court. The quartet will appear in court for further remand in two weeks’ time.