Shocking murder in Buhera
. . . Accused eats victim’s flesh
IN A morbid act of cannibalism, a Buhera man allegedly hacked a four year-old girl to death, cut up her right arm and consumed it as he fled the scene with members of the public in hot pursuit.
Human cannibalism is the act of humans eating the flesh of other human beings.
The shocking incident happened in Mutemera Village, in Headman Betera’s area, under Chief Nyashanu where Onwell Ndenga Mutemera (36), allegedly killed Monica Sengerayi using an axe and chopped off her right arm and later confessed eating it saying he was hungry.
To buttress his confession, the cannibal allegedly produced a pound of human flesh wrapped in a plastic as proof.
The human flesh was handed to police for pathological test whose results confirmed belonged to Monica.
The deceased’s father Deploy Sengerayi was last Thursday called to Murambinda Police station where he was advised of the findings and instructed to bury the human flesh.
Manicaland police spokesperson Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakowa confirmed the murder of Monica on December 5, 2017 and arrest of Mutemera on murder charges.
“Memory Muruku (36) and Deploy Sengerayi (36) left their murdered daughter Monica Sengerayi (4) and her six years old sister playing at their home while going to the field. Mutemera, who is suspected to be mentally challenged, went to Sengerayi’s home armed with an axe, and hacked Monica to death and chopped off her right arm. The minor’s body was found lying in a pool of blood by alert neighbours. Mutemera dumped the murder weapon (axe) besides Monica’s lifeless body and vanished with her sliced arm,” said Inspector Kakowa.
When visited Betera Village last week to get an insight into the intriguing occurrence, getting directions was not difficult as Mutemera’s cannibalistic shenanigans were fresh on the lips of many, including children.
The community however, frowned upon it saying it was a taboo.
The bereaved family was at loss of words to describe the tragedy that struck them.
The deceased’s father was visibly seething with anger while her mother wore the vegetable outlook and frequently passed out.
It was indeed a painful and heart rending experience.
“How could he killed my daughter and devoured her flesh in broad daylight. He had the guts to produce part of the flesh in full glare of members of the community. I buried my daughter minus the missing arm which he had consumed,” said Mr Sengerayi.
“When he was arrested after evading the search team for 38 km, he was naked, but his mouth, chest, hands and feet were all bloody. The previous day he tried to rape my other daughter. He is an evil cannibal who ate my daughter’s flesh in a sickening ritual,” he added.
His wife Memory now fears the worst after police informed the family that the flesh taken for pathological tests belonged to her daughter.
She said Onwell was a well known scandalous and aggressive man, who was feared for moving around with an axe and knife.
“I am traumatised. I do not know how I will rehabilitate my other daughter who witnessed her sister being hacked to death. Can the images be erased? This is a double tragedy; imagine a young child witnessing the horror of her sister being axed to death,” she said.
“I left them playing, but was shocked on my return to see people camped at my homestead mourning. Three women rushed towards me crying, and told me that Monica had been axed to death by Onwell. I passed out. I am still in serious pain, and never had the guts to view her body. I can’t believe that my daughter is no more. It is like she will come home from wherever she is playing. I often times call her name, only to realise she is dead. This was the worst thing. I don’t think there will be any tragedy worse than having a child hacked to death, and her flesh eaten just like that,” she said with tears running down her cheeks.
Mr Sengerayi said police refused to cremate Monica’s remains. He said his family and Headman Betera were consulting Chief Nyashanu on the way forward.
“They said we cannot cremate the remains, and we are engaging Headman Betera and Chief Nyashanu for a way forward. This is akin to poking a fresh wound. We had buried Monica, and chances are we are going to reopen her grave and throw the remains in as we cannot have two graves for one person. We have been instructed to bury the remains, and it is traumatising to bury the same body twice. I will never forgive Onwell for what he did. I just cannot. I inspected Monica’s body, and discovered that she had deep cuts on the chin, back, legs, left arm and her stomach was ripped open,” said Mr Sengerayi.
The deceased’s granny, Mrs Evelyn Sengerayi, said Onwell should rot in jail.
“Onwell knew what he was doing. He arrived at Deploy’s homestead with an axe, but he opted to use the one he found at the homestead to commit the offence. After killing the child he dropped off the murder weapon and took away the one he had brought as well as the child’s arm. At first he denied it, but after further interrogation he admitted and gave a detailed chronology of how he executed the offence and the motive behind it. No insane person can put facts together like that,” said Mrs Sengerayi.
Mrs Hannah Mutemeri, Onwell’s aunt, said her family was saddened by the murder of Monica. She said they were charged 27 cattle to appease the deceased’s spirit.
They paid four live cattle and an assortment of small livestock and building materials, which amounted to 18 cattle.
They also paid $700.
“We are still to pay nine more cattle, and we are busy mobilising. We want to settle this matter amicably, Onwell is my brother, and what he did was bad. He killed an innocent child, and the entire family is working towards cleansing the spilled blood. They buried a child without a hand, after he ate it, and it’s sad,” she said.
Headman Betera said the Sengerayis had demanded 45 cattle, but told them it was illegal as the maximum penalty was 15 cattle.
She condemned Onwell’s conduct, while describing his offence as the first of its kind.
“It’s a taboo in our culture to eat human flesh. Our culture frowns upon it. This is the first act of cannibalism in Ward 20.
“Onwell has been a danger to society for a very long time, and I once engaged his family about it but they did nothing to address it. He must be incarcerated because he is a danger to my subjects,” she said.
She said it is suspected that by killing and performing the eating ritual, one will be trying to absorb her soul and suppress it from avenging.
The victim's mother points to the spot where her daughter was axed
The victim's father Deploy Sengerayi
Monica's grave covered with thorn tree branches