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Man held after boy's head hacked off in witchcraft ring
01/07/2010 00:00:00
by Staff Reporters
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Click to see more photos
(CLICK TO SEE MORE PHOTOS link contains a graphic image of a dead child with severed head. Reader discretion advised)

BULAWAYO police arrested a man thought to be part of a witchcraft syndicate after he hacked-off a child's head -- apparently intended for export to South Africa where there is a ready market for children's body parts.

Blessed Goreraza, 21, of Lobengula Extension admitted beheading his one year-old nephew when he appeared in court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody to July 14.

The gory incident occurred last Friday evening and prosecutors said Goreraza had initially tried to stab his grandfather in his bedroom but was overpowered.

Yvonne Gurira, who prosecuted, said after being overpowered and disarmed, Goreraza took another kitchen knife, grabbed the child and dragged him into the second bedroom, all the time threatening those in the house with death if they tried to stop him.

The packed court room heard that Goreraza then forced the child onto a bed in the room and used the knife to sever his head.

He then wrapped the head in a towel, bolted out of the house and jumped into a vehicle from a local funeral home which was packed opposite the property.

Once in the car he allegedly ordered to driver to speed-off but the driver is said to have refused.

Neighbours who had come out of their houses after hearing the child scream then pounced and apprehended him until the police arrived.

Asked by the magistrate whether he admitted the charge, Goreraza said he had not intended to kill the child.

“On the day in question my grandfather asked me to go and buy bread at the shops and I went with the child.

We came back with the bread and tea was prepared but I refused to drink it. I just felt like taking a knife,” he said.

Meanwhile, witnesses said the child cried out loud as his head was chopped off, drawing the attention neighbours.

A huge crowd gathered outside the house and the police reaction team was forced to fire warning shots and use teargas as they tried to control the angry mob.

The incident has precipitated speculation about ritual murders and the possible existence of a Bulawayo-based syndicate trading human body parts to South Africa where a ready market is believed to exist.

“We believe the child was killed for ritual purposes and the suspect could be part of the syndicate which has been killing people and cutting off their heads and private parts,” said a woman from the suburb.


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