The police, local traditional leader and community structures have called for calmness, following a volatile situation at Tshilungoma outside Thohoyandou the past week.
The situation at the village came about after the discovery of a dead child at a nearby rivulet. Some of her body parts were allegedly missing.
Mutshidzi Ramanyimi (9) went missing on 1 March 2013 while playing with other children at a neighbour's house. An intensive search involving the police, the local community and the dog unit of the SAPS yielded no results until Friday, when a passerby spotted the body in some bushes.
Since the discovery of the body, the villagers have gone on the rampage and barricaded roads. The situation has been tense, with community members calling for the eviction of people they suspected to have taken part in the murder from the village.
The little girl’s father, Mr Leonard Ramanyimi, said they became worried when she did not come back home on that particular day. "We enquired from neighbours and searched everywhere, but with no luck. That was when we decided to go and report the matter to the local traditional leader, who gave us permission to go and report it to the police, which we did the following day,” he said.
The dead girl's uncle, Pfuluwani Ramanyimi, said he went to the scene where the body was found. “This is pure ritual murder. The little girl did not have lips, eyes and some flesh was sliced from her hands. She did not have private parts and her intestines were missing," he said. "We are just putting everything in the hands of God and hope and pray that the police will do their job and apprehend the killers and make them answer for their ghastly deeds.”
The grisly find, after the intensive search by the community, sent shockwaves throughout Limpopo, more especially Vhembe, which is known for ritual murders. Vhembe experienced a spate of ritual murders in the year 2006, with Nyelisani Sidimela and Maanda Sendedza being one of the most prominent cases.
Sidimela had her lips sliced off by the knives of ritual murderers but was lucky to survive. Her boyfriend, Maanda Sendedza, was killed by the same people who attempted to kill his girlfriend.
"We can now confirm that the nine-year-old girl who had been missing for almost a week was found murdered at a nearby rivulet,” said Thohoyandou police spokesperson Major Mashudu Malelo. “We have opened a murder docket and our investigations are continuing.”
Malelo said they were awaiting the post mortem results which would shed light on what could have happened before the child died.
“We are appealing for calm; let all the people out there be patient and give the police a chance to investigate the case without hindrance. Let all those who have information make it available, so that we can use it in our investigations,” he said.
No one has been arrested so far.
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Date:18 March 2013 - 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 was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.