Police officers arrive at the scene where the body was found at Maungani.
Fear and shock have gripped the peaceful village of Maungani outside Thohoyandou. This follows the discovery of a mutilated body with body parts such as the face, eyes and the oesophagus missing.
The deceased was on Tuesday identified as Ms Mothivha Khobani (26) from Muledani village. Her body was found on the road right inside the village by a passerby in the early hours of Saturday.
The person notified neighbours and within a short space of time, word had spread all over the village and surrounding areas.
The body was partly dressed and seemed to have been killed somewhere else and dumped on the street next to the entrance of a yard. Close to her body was a pool of blood and little stones.
Residents who stay not far from the scene spoke in low tones and said they had heard a vehicle at around two in the morning, but had not suspected anything, thinking that they had been revellers from taverns. The latest killing adds to the ever-increasing number of people killed for ritual purposes in the province.
Not long ago, the body of a man with some parts missing was found at a playground at Muledane. Recently, bodies that were found burnt at different areas in the Vhembe area were raising fears that body-parts merchants who were active around 2006 are once again on the loose.
Despite the calls made by leaders, the scourge continues unabated.
Questions are being raised as to who might be behind the scourge. Dr Alunamutwe Randitsheni, who has done research on ritual murders, said at the scene that it was saddening to find that, despite the campaigns conducted from time to time, the number of incidents increased. "We are doing what we can to make the community aware that body parts will in no way enhance power or bring wealth to anybody.”
He added that only hard work would make people prosper. According to his research, he found out that traditional leaders, healers, politicians and business people are among those involved in these cruel killings in search of wealth and power.
Thulamela Ward 22 councillor Thembani Tshitivha expressed shock about the incident. "We used to hear it from afar, not thinking that one day we will experience this first-hand. We are in shock and fear that women are targeted for abuse and killings. This should come to an end; enough is enough," she said.
Meanwhile, a provincial tracking team led by the Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Detective Maj-Gen Bafana Linda, together with the Crime Intelligence Unit, launched a massive manhunt for the suspects in this incident.
Limpopo police commissioner General Nneke has noted the incident with shock but called on residents to remain calm and allow the police to do their own work.
Limpopo police spokesperson Lt Col Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed the incident, saying the motive behind this incident was suspected to be ritually related, but that the police were investigating. "We have not made any arrest and we are appealing to anyone who can assist in the identification of the deceased and who can assist with information about the suspects involved in this matter to come forward."
He also appealed to families whose next of kin could be missing to contact the police.
All information can be presented to Brig James Espach at 0825760743 or the nearest police station, or call the crime stop number 0860 010 111 or the crime line SMS 32211.
Date:16 June 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.