Two children who were kidnapped by a traditional healer escaped “body mutilation” after being reported missing in Gaskop, Mpumalanga over the weekend. Police said the two boys, both aged 15 years from two separate families were allegedly have been kidnapped and locked up at a certain house in Graskop without the approval or knowledge of their parents.
After the information reached the community in the area that the two minors were allegedly locked up in a certain house belonging to a woman who is a known to be a traditional healer in the area, a group of the community congregated and went to a house where the two kids were suspected to have been kept.
The police in the area said they were not officially informed about the disappearance of the children. A search by the community was enforced, and the concerned community members launched a search. A tipoff was received that they were seen entering a certain house belonging to a sangoma not far from their homes. It is alleged that the community gathered and went to the house and forced to enter, the boys were found inside the sangoma’s house. It is not clear why the boys were kept in the house however, community members suspect that they were going to be killed for body parts.
It is said that the group of people proceeded to the residence of a traditional healer, thereby interrogating her about the children’s whereabouts upon arrival. However, the traditional healer reportedly informed the crowd that the children were not available at the time but were rather in Marite near BushbuckRidge.
said police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
In a statement, Mohlala further said that the community lost patience and reportedly forced their way through into a hut belonging to the traditional healer. They then found the two boys who appeared to have been in an unstable state of mind.
It is further said that the children had some visible wounds on their bodies. The woman is said to have then been assaulted by the group where she sustained some injuries. Police were alerted about the developments and they swiftly went to the scene to rescue the situation
A 49-year-old woman is fighting for her life in hospital under a police guard. The traditional healer was arrested together with a 17-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man. The trio is facing charges of kidnapping.
It is further alleged that the angry community members went and destroyed the house belonging to the woman. In pictures making rounds on social media, the two children are seen with bleeding wounds, distinctive amulets, and beadwork by traditional healers.
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Police said the woman was taken to hospital for treatment under police guard whilst the other two males were detained.
The 24-year-old man, Japhet Sekatane has already appeared in the Graskop Magistrate’s Court on charges of kidnapping and was remanded in custody and his matter was postponed to 12 July 2022 for further investigation.
Meanwhile, police are working in collaboration with probation officers as the other arrested suspect is a minor who is also expected to also appear in court soon.
The Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has condemned the incident.
Mpumalanga has been hit by a number of incidents involving traditional healers who kidnap, rape, and kill children for body parts harvesting. The latest incident involves a six-year-old Bontle Mashiya who was also kidnapped, raped, and killed. Her body parts were allegedly sold to a traditional healer at Mganduzweni Village near Hazyview.