Two sev­ered hands found float­ing in river

The Witness - Wheels - - NEWS - CHELSEA PI­ETERSE and SISO NAILE • chelsea. pi­eterse@ wit­ness. co. za siso. naile@ wit­ness. co. za

A RIVER worker in Mphophomeni yes­ter­day made a hor­ror find.

Two lit­tle sev­ered hands, sus­pected to be those of chil­dren, were found wrapped in plas­tic float­ing in the Um­geni River.

Mpophomeni res­i­dents crowded around the yel­low po­lice cor­don tape at the scene, gasp­ing as po­lice pulled the hands from a mass of herbs and bark and hastily tipped them into a body bag.

The hands were found yes­ter­day morn­ing when a group of Um­geni Wa­ter work­ers were clean­ing up the lit­ter from the river as part of a new project.

One of the con­tract work­ers, Sa­belo Sibiya said he had been pick­ing up lit­ter from the river when he made the grue­some dis­cov­ery in a float­ing red plas­tic packet.

“When I grabbed the plas­tic bag us­ing a panga, a left hand fell out of the plas­tic packet.

“I was in shock and I quickly rushed to called my other col­leagues who were wear­ing gloves to see what else was in­side.”

He said when his col­leagues grabbed the plas­tic bag, a smaller hand popped out from the plas­tic to­gether with a mass of bark and damp herbs.

A lo­cal Mpophomeni san­goma and muthi ex­pert, Pau­los Manana ar­rived at the scene and in­spected the herbs and bark found with the sev­ered hands from be­hind the yel­low cor­don tape. He said the sticks were used as muthi known as amakhubalo and can only be found deep in the moun­tains.

Um­geni deputy mayor Scelo Ma­jozi urged the com­mu­nity to re­port miss­ing chil­dren as soon as they dis­ap­peared and not to take their ab­sence lightly. He said too of­ten peo­ple who re­alised their chil­dren were nowhere to be found, as­sumed their chil­dren were out play­ing and that they would wan­der back home.

Ma­jozi added that this grue­some dis­cov­ery was ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able and that the com­mu­nity needed to unite to fight from this hap­pen­ing to any more chil­dren.

A po­lice source, who could not be named, said although it had not been con­firmed through foren­sics that the hands were hu­man, they def­i­nitely looked hu­man and ap­peared to be­long to a four to five- year- old child and a one- year- old in­fant.

The source said the hands looked as if they had been de­tached from the body for over a week. One of the lit­tle hands ap­peared to be slightly burnt.

PHOTO: IAN CAR­BUTT

War­rant Of­fi­cer Karl Gous from the K9 Search and Res­cue Unit re­moves the two hands from the crime scene.

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