A house was burnt to ashes, main roads were barricaded, traffic came to a halt and children were forbidden from going to school when angry residents of Tshitavha village outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo went on the rampage yesterday because they believe graves are being robbed for the ghoulish muti trade.
After several graves were vandalised and police were tipped off that people were dealing in human body parts, some residents exhumed bodies in the local graveyard.
What they found when they opened the graves shocked and outraged them. One body was headless and another was missing entirely.
The body of Alpheous Vhudzikadzika, who was buried in July 2016, was headless. The whole body of Alpheus Phundulu, who was buried in 2007, was missing.
Community member Nkhombetshedzeni Mudau said the exhumations had been done legally and police had been informed.
“The graves targeted were those that were initially identified after they were found to have been vandalised,” said Mudau yesterday.
“We suspect people are working in cahoots with famous traditional healers in the area to get human body parts for muti.”
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said police were looking for a 23-year old man and a traditional healer whom they believe can help with investigations.
“We are working around the clock to make sure those responsible for such despicable criminal acts are brought to book. We have launched a provincial task team led by the deputy provincial commissioner for crime detection, Major-General Mafana Linda, to investigate cases of ritual murders in the Vhembe region of Limpopo.” – firstname.lastname@example.org