TWO elderly women died after drinking an unknown substance during a village witch hunt, police said on Wednesday.
Jersey Mutero, 83, and Erita Bhebhe, 73, both of Mangisi Village under Chief Saiin Gokwe in Midlands Province, had been accused by their families of being witches and possessing goblins.
Midlands police said when a child fell ill, the Mutero and Bhebhe families – who are related – consulted a local self-styled prophet identified as Maxwell Pira who summoned both families to his home for a “cleansing ceremony”.
Midlands police spokesman Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said: “Pira gathered all family members and started praying for them. He also said prayers for a liquid which he called ‘holy water’.
“He instructed all the family members to drink the water which was passed around in a cup, but warned that those responsible for the sickness of the young girl should not drink the concoction as they would die.
“The two elderly women drank the liquid but collapsed almost immediately. They were put on a scotch cart but died on the way to hospital.”
The two women’s bodies were taken to Gokwe Hospital for a post mortem after the incident last Saturday.
Police say Pira has gone on the run and are asking for help from the public to locate him down. He faces murder charges, according to Inspector Mahoko.