Nyanga par­ents es­cort chil­dren to school:

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Tendai Guku­tikwa re­cently in Nyanga

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.

ture: Ti­nai Nyadzayo — Pic-

In fear of rit­ual mur­der­ers (Mab­hinya), el­derly women ac­com­pany learners to and from school in Nyanga.

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