Witchcraft Accusation, Hat Repossession, Murder – A Swaziland Story
NGUDZENI, SWAZILAND – The small community of Ngudzeni (KaMkhaya) yesterday woke up to the most horrific crime to have ever been perpetrated in the vicinity.
A 41-year-old security guard, stationed at Ngudzeni Constituency Centre, had allegedly horribly killed a man, chopped his body into several pieces, before stuffing the remains into a bucket and a yoghurt container.
Ngudzeni is located about 35 kilometres to the South-East of Hlatikhulu town.
The matter came to light when the suspect was intercepted on his way to buy petrol, which it is believed he was going to use to douse the severed human body.
Witnesses said it all started when the pair met next to the security guard’s residence, shortly after 5pm on Monday. It is understood that as the victim passed by the homestead, the security guard teased him before taking off the victims hat, accusing him of witchcraft.
In an ensuing brawl, the victim is said to have tried to repossess the security guard of his hat, but there was a communication breakdown as a result of the former’s partial hearing impairment.
A witness said the aggressor then walked towards his homestead, thinking that the other man would give up but he pursued him up until he reached his premises. An eyewitness described what followed thereafter as horrific.
The security guard allegedly took out a knife and stabbed the victim, who was identified as Andile Masuku. Masuku is said to have tried to run away but his assailant brought an axe, a hammer and a bush knife which, it is alleged, he subsequently used to chop his Masuku’s body into several pieces.
This was after he had allegedly killed him.
Those who witnessed the scene said Masuku was beheaded, had his eyes removed from sockets while certain parts of his upper body were also chopped off.
He then allegedly loaded some of the pieces, which included the skull, into a bucket, while the deceased’s eyeballs were found in a yoghurt container about 50 metres away from the rest of the body, which had been covered with tree branches.
A neighbour who heard the commotion tried to raise the alarm, but a group of males who were busy working at a distance took the matter lightly, thinking it was just another irresponsible fight between two grown-ups.
They only took the matter seriously when they saw the assailant attempting to purchase petrol at a nearby filling station.
A swift call brought police officers to the scene. A search for the body of the victim, which ended shortly after 7pm, presented a horrible sight. A member of the local community policing forum said when they eventually found the body, they discovered that the entire head was gone, and so were some parts from the upper body.
He said the chest area was also cut open, probably with a powerful thrust from the axe, which divided the upper body into two open pieces. The axe had also cut a terrible gash across the forehead, sinking into the brain which resulted in brain matter and the eyes spewing out.
Besides these wounds, there were others that were made by a knife during the initial stabbing. They were also located on the upper part of the body, according to witnesses.
The skull was, however, nowhere near the rest of the body.
As a result, the search party had to comb the area again in order to find it. It was eventually found stuffed into a bucket that was tucked under vegetation nearby. The eyeballs were also located in another area, in the alleged assailant’s garden to be precise, where they were dumped while stuffed into a yoghurt container.
The area was cordoned off as a crime scene.
Information gathered was that after conducting their preliminary investigations, detectives left the area with a promise to return the following morning.
They requested the area’s community police to keep a vigil at the crime scene, where they were expected to watch over the corpse, which was later taken to a morgue in Hlatikhulu.
A relative to the suspect gave some of the information relating to the murder.
“People can become so brutal. We were all shocked by the incident, and we hope such will never happen in the area again,” he said.
It is understood that formal identification of the victim’s body has already been made. This was reportedly after the police informed his relatives at Ntjanini, a nearby community, where the death is said to have sparked a lot of grief and anger.
Police have arrested the 41-year-old man in relation to the murder.
Yesterday, the suspect took detectives through the scene of the crime, where the murder tools which included an axe, a hammer, knife and as well as a bush knife were retrieved.
The suspect was detained at the Hlatikhulu Police Station, where he was subsequently charged with murder.
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, confirmed the gruesome incident, when contacted yesterday.
She indicated that arraignment at the suspect was expected soon.