Pastor and two others arrested after two girls beaten to death in ‘exorcism’

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Police say the two girls were allegedly beaten up by relatives and a local pastor as a form of exorcism.

Police in KwaZulu-Natal arrested a pastor and two of his relatives on Thursday for the alleged murder of two nine-year-old girls.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the three suspects aged between 31 and 35 were arrested by the Nkandla South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Ezimambeni area.

“Police received an anonymous call on 24 March 2020, informing them to come to a particular house at Ezimambeni because they suspected that something sinister was unfolding. Upon arrival, the police were greeted with hostility by the family members who did not want their presence and asked who had called them. After a barrage of questions from the family members police encountered a very gruesome scene.

“Two nine-year-old girls lay on the floor with bruises all over their bodies, one of the girls was already deceased and the other was unconscious. The police wasted no time and summoned the ambulance to the scene. Upon arrival, the health officials certified one girl as dead and the second one was rushed to hospital,” Mbele said.

She said when questioned about the girls’ injuries,  family members alleged that the girls were attacked by evil spirits.

“The family further alleged that the young girls had been complaining that the evil spirit was beating them up and instructing them to drink blood. In response to the girls’ attack by the evil spirits, the family also beat up the girls as a form of exorcism.

“A local pastor was also called to pray for the girls and he also allegedly joined in the beating of the girls. Prior to the arrival of the police, the family had taken the deceased girl to the traditional healer after beating her. The traditional healer could not do anything for her because she was already deceased and he brought back the body to the family,” Mbele said.

She said the second succumbed to her injuries in hospital a few days later.

“At that time an inquest docket was opened to be investigated by the detectives. Thorough investigations conducted by the Nkandla Detectives coupled with medical reports pointed to the fact that the young girls were subject severe beatings which were the cause of their death. Further investigations also revealed that during the year 2015 another girl from the family died under mysterious circumstances and was buried a day after her death without the family informing any authorities.

“It is also suspected the same was going to happen to these young girls because according to the investigations the family had not reported their situation to anybody except for the pastor. Subsequent to the findings of the investigations the mother of the child, her relative and pastor were arrested for two counts of murder and will appear at the Nkandla Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 1 June 2020. Investigations are still ongoing and the Nkandla detectives will also probe the death of the girl in 2015.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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