Man Beheads Own Brother In Suspected Ritual Murder

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Man Beheads Own Brother In Suspected Ritual Murder

IN a suspected case of ritual killing, a 22-year-old man from Esihlengeni in Umzingwane District allegedly confessed to killing his six-year-old brother in 2015, before leading his family to the missing child’s headless remains.

After watching his family toil for over two years in search of his brother, Mr Shepherd Gumbo (22) of Chief Sigola, Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South province allegedly cracked and took responsibility for the death of Ntuthuko Ngulube who disappeared on 7 December 2015.

When Sunday News visited the area yesterday, police and villagers were in search of the missing child’s skull, as that was believed to be the only part that was missing after Gumbo led members of his family and other village elders to where he claimed to have buried the body.

According to villagers on the scene, when Gumbo made his confession, he claimed to have been working with six other people.

As the boy’s disappearance and subsequent discovery seemed to take a supernatural twist, tensions were running high in the village, with one villager prevented from taking part in the search as villagers alleged that he was part of the group of six that Gumbo claimed to have been working with.

The missing child’s mother, Ms Anna Sibanda, narrated how the family’s desperate search had begun at the end of

December in 2015 before coming to a heartbreaking end in a hilly, bushy area deep in Esihlengeni.

“I had left the children with Shepherd and his siblings while I went to my husband in Filabusi because it was month end and we needed money. I then decided to spend the night there but I got a phone call at 9pm telling me that my son was missing.

We immediately came back and started a search with other villagers and members of the police,” she said.

According to Ms Sibanda, although her son was last seen with Gumbo, they never suspected that he was the one responsible for the child’s disappearance, as he had seemed as heartbroken as all other family members.

“He said they had gone to the bush to look for idelele (okra) because the family didn’t have relish for that night. When he came back later, he asked them where Ntuthuko was because he claimed he had let him run ahead of him after they had harvested some okra. We really never suspected anything because he seemed to be genuinely hurt, like the rest of us, about what had transpired,” she said.

Ms Sibanda said despite keeping a cool exterior since the child’s disappearance over two years and a half ago, Gumbo’s behaviour had increasingly become erratic in the last few weeks.

“Last week he walked from our village all the way to Cowdray Park in Bulawayo on foot. He went to his cousin’s place who then called us and said that he was behaving like a mentally ill person. We were surprised because he had no history of mental illness and had been acting fine before last week. We told him to take him to the police because if a person is mentally ill it is better to alert the police and then send him to hospital. He was in a bad state so the police released him to us,” she said.

According to Mr Kenias Ngulube, the missing boy’s father, Gumbo had been claiming that he craved the taste of blood to his younger brother, Ronaldo Gumbo (20).

“He was saying that he misses the taste of blood so his brother came to me and said that he was worried because the family had never found out how Ntuthuko met his end,” he said.

As his strange behaviour continued, the family decided to seek divine intervention and sent him to a local faith healer only identified as Prophet Tshuma.

“After the prophet prayed for him he seemed to get better but after everyone had left his condition got worse. We prayed the whole night for him as a family and that is when he broke down and confessed. We could not sleep that night because we knew we had a murderer among us,” said Ms Sibanda.

After the family consulted with village elders, Gumbo then led them deep into the bush where he showed them what he claimed to be the remains of the missing child.

“We never thought anyone could have hidden the body that deep within the bush,” said Mr Ngulube.

The missing boy’s father said they suspected that it was a ritual killing, with Gumbo working in cahoots with others. He claimed that one of the villagers had told them they would find their son’s body as mere bones.

“When the child disappeared we called some tsikamutandas who we were convinced had taken us close to the vicinity of where the body was hidden.

However, we were then arrested and those tsikamutandas went away but we never stopped our search,” he said.

Police could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.

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