Tod­dler found dead

. . . re­mains dis­cov­ered 11 days later A TWO-YEAROLD baby was last week found dead at St Noah Shrine in Ma­fararikwa, Marange 11 days af­ter he mys­te­ri­ously went miss­ing in a sus­pected case of rit­ual killing.

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Lib­erty Dube Week­ender Cor­re­spon­dent

DE­TEC­TIVES dis­cov­ered the body, which was in an ad­vanced state of de­com­po­si­tion in the shrine.

The spine-chill­ing in­ci­dent sent tongues wag­ging in Marange Vil­lage with so­cial me­dia plat­forms, par­tic­u­larly What­sApp, awash with the oc­cur­rence and punc­tu­ated by al­le­ga­tions that the baby was killed for rit­ual pur­poses by a Marange-based busi­ness­man (name with­held). Noah dis­ap­peared at a church gath­er­ing at the church shrine on Oc­to­ber 20 be­fore he was found dead in the shrine on Oc­to­ber 31. Po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter. “Noah’s mother Pa­tience Fenyere (28) left him sleep­ing in a tent at the shrine at around 3pm on Oc­to­ber 20. She later re­turned to dis­cover that he had dis­ap­peared. In­ces­sant ef­forts to lo­cate him proved fruit­less. They then alerted po­lice.

‘‘One Arnold Mabiya (44) who works at the shrine stum­bled on the body on Oc­to­ber 31, which was in an ad­vanced state of de­com­po­si­tion be­fore de­tec­tives at­tended the scene,” said Man­i­ca­land pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesper­son In­spec­tor Tavhir­ingwa Kako­hwa.

He nei­ther de­nied nor con­firmed if the de­ceased had miss­ing body parts.

The mys­te­ri­ous death cir­cu­lated on What­sApp and the orig­i­na­tor al­leged that a Marange busi­ness­man (name with­held) who has re­tail shops at Marange Busi­ness Cen­tre had a hand in it amid al­le­ga­tions that he at­tempted to bribe Chief Marange with $10 000 to put the mur­der case un­der wraps.

Chief Marange, how­ever, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions in an in­ter­view with the Week­ender at his home­stead on Mon­day morn­ing. Vil­lagers in­ter­viewed ex­pressed mixed views on the is­sue with many ac­cus­ing the busi­ness­man of hav­ing a hand. Chief Marange con­firmed that he last week had to call po­lice af­ter some rouge vil­lagers stormed his home­stead de­mand­ing to know the truth.

“I heard about the un­for­tu­nate death of the baby. The mat­ter was brought be­fore me. Some vil­lagers stormed my home­stead ac­cus­ing me of shel­ter­ing the late Noah’s aunt whom they ac­cused of con­niv­ing with the busi­ness­man to kill the baby for rit­ual pur­poses. ‘‘I heard that there is a What­sApp mes­sage in cir­cu­la­tion ac­cus­ing me of con­niv­ing with him but that is not true. I never re­ceived any­thing from him. Vil­lagers have been forc­ing me to sum­mon the busi­ness­man but I can’t be­cause there is no proof.

‘‘I will only in­ter­vene as a tra­di­tional leader if po­lice con­firm that it was mur­der and if the per­pe­tra­tor is iden­ti­fied and there is need for some com­pen­sa­tion,” said Chief Marange.

Noah’s aunt, Mary Marange who was at the shrine when Noah dis­ap­peared said: “We went to a church gath­er­ing on the fate­ful day he was left asleep in the tent. We later came back and re­alised that he had gone miss­ing. It was sad. Days later I was shocked to hear some of my rel­a­tives and vil­lagers ac­cus­ing me of know­ing the per­son who killed the baby.

‘‘We re­ally don’t know what hap­pened and I am com­pletely clean on this is­sue,” said Mary who was strug­gling to com­pose her­self dur­ing the in­ter­view. Said one vil­lager: “We heard the story. And we are deeply shocked. The fact that the baby went miss­ing in a shrine for 10 days, only to be found in the same shrine dead with the body in a state of ad­vanced de­com­po­si­tion leaves a lot to be de­sired.

We are hear­ing that this busi­ness­man is be­hind it and ev­ery­one is now afraid even to buy any­thing from his shop.”

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