Friday 12 April 2024


The body of a man from Bulawayo’s Emakhandeni suburb who was murdered allegedly for ritual purposes has been stuck at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) mortuary for a month as the family is demanding the deceased’s missing body parts before burying him.

Freeman Moyo (41) was allegedly murdered by Lethukuthula Maphosa (25), Nomsa Ncube (44) and Catherine Gumbo (57) on March 12 in Mbalabala. The trio allegedly severed the deceased’s hands. The deceased’s aunt Mrs Zhuwana Ncube, said Moyo left his home in Binga district several years ago to look for employment in farms around Esigodini and Mbalabala.

“We were told by the police that Freeman met one of the suspects at Mbalabala Business Centre and the two agreed to spend a night at his house. The following morning she demanded US$20 for the sexual services rendered to the deceased, but he offered her R20 and $400 in local currency,” she said.

Mrs Ncube said the suspect got angry and informed her older sister who in turn alerted her boyfriend from Nkayi and the three ganged up and confronted the now-deceased.

“They confronted the deceased and demanded the money from Freeman who indicated that he would collect it from a relative in Esigodini. Along the way, Freeman tried to run away, but he was struck with a stone and collapsed,” she said.

“We were informed by the police three days later that a decomposed body had been found in a bush between Mbalabala and Esigodini. We identified the body as that of my nephew and it was in a bad state and both his hands had been cut off.”

Maphosa, Ncube and Gumbo have since appeared at the Gwanda Magistrates Court charged with murder.

“We have tried asking the three accused what they did with the missing body parts, but they are adamant. We now strongly suspect that they killed the deceased for ritual purposes,” said Mrs Ncube.

A detective close to the investigations told Chronicle that one of the murder suspects was a neighbourhood watch committee member who had access to handcuffs that were used on the deceased.

“After the deceased failed to pay the US$20 that he promised to give one of the accused persons for sexual services rendered to him, the three ganged and demanded the money. He led them to his homestead in Esigodini where he claimed the money was,” said the detective.

“It’s not clear what happened along the way, but the accused persons handcuffed the deceased and there was a scuffle during which he was struck with a stone by one of the accused persons.”

The detective said the trio hatched a plan to chop off the deceased’s hands with a machete.

“They also tried hanging the body from a tree branch but abandoned the plan and left the body in the bush,” he said.

Mrs Ncube said police have since advised them to bury the deceased after failing to locate the missing body parts.

“We will not bury him as long as the body parts are still missing. We want the people who killed him to tell us where they put the deceased’s hands. His body is still at the mortuary and we will sit down as a family to find the way forward,” she said.

According to court papers, a machete with a wooden handle, which was used by the accused persons, was found in Maphosa’s bedroom. A stone, which used to strike the deceased on the forehead was also recovered from the crime scene.

The trio was remanded in custody pending further investigations. The State opposed bail, arguing that the three were likely to abscond due to the gravity of the alleged offence. Herald



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