A man walked into a police station last week with body parts saying he was tired of eating human flesh. There is now a desperate attempt to find out how many people were chopped up and eaten.
South African police are desperately trying to determine how many people have been chopped up and eaten in a traditional medicine scandal that has seen four people arrested.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said on Tuesday that his department had appealed to people in the Estcourt area of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to come forward and report missing loved ones.
She said that so far “more than three” people filed missing persons reports with the local police.
DNA samples would be taken and tested against the body parts that a man had walked into the Estcourt police station with on Friday.
Tired of eating human flesh
Mbhele confirmed that the man had walked into the police station on Friday, complaining that he had become “tired of eating human flesh”.
Nino Mbatha, Sthembiso Sithole, Lindokuhle Masondo and Lungisani Magubane, appeared in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and possession of body parts.
ENCA television journalist Dasen Thathiah tweeted the following visuals of the house where the atrocities are alleged to have taken place:
The case against them was adjourned and they were remanded in custody to appear for a formal bail hearing on August 28.
The Witness newspaper reported that after the man handed himself into police, he took them to a house in the nearby Rensburgdrift area where they encountered a foul smell and more human remains.
More body parts
One of the accused men, Mbatha, who is believed to be the traditional healer, commonly known as an nyanga, was arrested in Amangwe area where more body parts were found.
Speaking to TRT World, Mbhele said: “We do not know if it is the parts of one woman or the parts of more than one woman.”
A local councillor from the Inkatha Freedom Party, Mthembeni Majola, told TRT World that he had held a meeting with local residents and it emerged at that meeting of about 700 people that about half of those present had gone to the traditional healer for treatment for various ailments.
He identified Mbatha as the nyanga.
He refuted a news report that claimed that half those who had attended the meeting claimed to have eaten body parts, but confirmed that half of those present at the meeting had visited the nyanga for traditional medicine treatments of various ailments.
He said the three men arrested along with Mbatha were stock thieves, who stole cattle and goats.
“They were told by the nyanga (traditional healer) that [if they ate human flesh] they would become strong. It would stop them from getting shot with guns and get them money.”
There were others
He said he believed that there were other stock thieves who had also visited the nyanga.
He said that one of the locals had told him of body parts being cooked up.
“What I heard was that there were eight ears boiling in the pot. Those ears cannot be for one person.”
He said he had called the community meeting in a bid to stop residents from getting angry and torching the houses of the four arrested men.
“I didn’t want the implicated families to be attacked. That would not be good and it would be bad for the police’s case.”