Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A 59-YEAR-OLD horticulture farmer and treasurer at a local community cooperative was on Saturday evening tortured by fire and killed at her homestead in the Mahuhushe area, in Beitbridge by unknown assailant(s).
It is believed the assailants, who are yet to be arrested, were looking for R31 000 that Jane Chauke had reportedly collected from a community-based savings club for safe keeping at her house on Wednesday.
Sources close to the case said Chauke was a member of a community-based savings club known as SILC.
An employee discovered her remains when he reported for duty on the Sunday morning.
The police officer commanding Beitbridge district (Dispol), Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo said the police were investigating a case of murder.
“We are investigating a case of murder that occurred in the Mahuhushe village, Headman Ndou, Chief Matibe Lutumba, Beitbridge on Saturday evening,” he said.
“The now deceased is suspected to have been strangled to death by unknown accused person(s) in her bedroom at her homestead”.
He said the initial investigations revealed that when Chauke’s employee arrived at her homestead on Sunday at around 7am, he found a window to her bedroom open but did not suspect anything.
The man knocked on the main door to register his arrival at work, but there was no response.
He peeped through the bedroom window and saw her lying next to her bed facing upwards and he tried to communicate and noticed she was lifeless.
“He then alerted the now deceased’s relatives and neighbours who then thronged the scene. A report was then made at the ZRP Lutumba Police Base,” said Chief Supt Nyongo.
“The scene was then attended and the body of deceased was found lying facing upwards and she had been tied on both hands to the front with a wrapping cloth (Zambia).
“Her body was inspected and it was observed that the she had bruises on the neck an indication that she was strangled to death using hands. Further there were no signs of sexual abuse.”
He said police also discovered that she bled from the mouth and nose and had burnt plastic residue on the left thigh, an assumption that she was tortured prior to her death.
In addition, it was noticed that her bedroom had been thoroughly ransacked as indicated by clothes which were scattered around the room.
Chief Supt Nyongo said Chauke’s remains were taken to the Beitbridge District Hospital Mortuary pending a post-mortem.
He appealed to anyone with information that could aid police in investigations to contact the nearest police station.