Nyanga parents escort children to school:
VILLAGERS in Mapfurira Village under Chief Saunyama in Nyanga have to escort their children to school daily following a series of ritual murders that have rocked their community in recent times.
So grave is the situation that even students in high school have to be accompanied to and fro school as well. As would be expected, the older villagers also travel to the gardens and shops in groups, in fear of being ambushed by the alleged ritual murderers.
In the latest gory incident, the mutilated body of a local school librar- ian was recovered at a gravesite. The librarian, John Gotora (42) had been missing for a week after he had left work at Marist Brothers High School for home and never arrived.
His body was found in an advanced state of decomposition and several parts were missing.
One might easily mistake the village’s tense situation for that of Nigeria’s era of Boko Haram kidnappings since the villagers no longer entertain strangers; especially strangers with vehicles whom they now associate with hungry business people who practise ritual murders.
When The Manica Post reporters arrived in Mapfurira Village on Wednesday, the villagers were reluctant to welcome them and some men even ganged up to attack the crew whom they accused of being ritual murderers. It was only after the news crew produced their identity cards that the villagers relaxed and started co-operating. A group of women coming from collecting their children from Nyatate Primary School arrived shortly and explained that at around 4pm they would return to Nyatate High School to collect their older children since they were no longer safe.
“We are living in fear and we are left with no option but to escort our school-going children to and from school daily. They are not safe; one might think that after killing SaGotora they would have been arrested by now but it is the other way round.
“They are still roaming the village and sheltering in the bushes looking for new prey,” said one woman who was on her way from collecting her child, Mrs Vengai Chitate.
The villagers claimed that since the murder of John Gotora, there had been more attacks on other villagers, which however, left them with injuries but were lucky to be alive. Another villager, Chipo Mashiri said they no longer went to the fields and gardens without company since they feared for their lives because of the alleged attacks.
“Police should go ahead and arrest these men and women before they attack us too. We are frightened and need company to do a simple chore like going to the garden or shops,” she said.
The police have, however, trashed the rampant reports that there are numerous cases of human slayers (mabhinya) who are on the prowl allegedly beheading helpless citizens in the area.
Police Spokesperson for Nyanga District, Assistant Inspector Cuthbert Tanyanyiwa said they were treating John Gotora’s matter as “sudden death” and no murder docket had been opened on the matter.
“There are no suspects in this matter because it was not a murder case, it was a sudden death. The deceased went missing and his body was found days later in an advanced stage of decomposition with some parts missing. It was taken to Harare for post mortem and the doctors found nothing that would indicate that the deceased was murdered.
“We have not arrested anyone concerning the matter and people should not panic because as far as we are concerned no one has come forward indicating that they saw these alleged murderers in the act,” he said.
In his presentation during a media workshop on elections reporting in Mutare on Tuesday, Zimbabwe Republic Police deputy spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi also trashed reports of “mabhinya” as baseless.
“People are now afraid to send their children to school especially in rural areas. Some are now afraid to go and do their work in the fields. The situation we now have is that a herd boy who is found in the bush or any other lone man is attacked by citizens as they are now being accused of being the human slayers. It is sad that social media has created all this fallacy.
“We encourage members of the public to ignore messages, which cause alarm and despondency that are circulating on social media. This is totally false information and we urge members of the public to verify any information or approach the nearest police station if they are suspicious of any such messages,” he said.
In fear of ritual murderers (Mabhinya), elderly women accompany learners to and from school in Nyanga.