14 March 2008

The Times - Muti-killing arrests imminent

The Times - Muti-killing arrests imminent:
Police are on the verge of arresting two traditional healers who bought the body parts of seven of the 17 women murdered in the Eastern Cape.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mike Fatyela said yesterday that the police would arrest two suspects before the end of the week and charge them with conspiracy to murder and with dealing in human flesh.

The two traditional healers’ “order” for women’s genitals is thought to have prompted a killing spree in Mzamba village, Bizana, that resulted in 18 people being murdered in the past five months.

A 24-year-old man appeared yesterday in the Bizana Magistrate’s Court to answer to three charges of murder, one of rape and one of attempted murder.

In a case like this, "traditional healers" seems to be a misnomer. It would be more accurate to call them sorcerers, or even witches, because the muti is probably used to make someone's business prosper, or to harm a rival's business. Healing has nothing to do with it.

But 18 murders in five months in a single village is quite mind-boggling.

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