Mkhululi Ncube, Chronicle Reporter
A 33-year-old man from Entumbane suburb in Bulawayo who went missing for a week in Shangani was found dead with some body parts missing in what his family suspects was a ritual murder.
Philani Dube (33) who was at a mine located at plot number 13 Albany farm in Shangani went missing on Independence Day only for his decomposed body to be found a week later.
The deceased’s brother, Mr Khumbulani Ziyeza Dube said the family is grief-stricken following what happened to his brother.
“He was employed at a mine in Shangani and he is someone who always phoned and sent money back home to assist. We never feared anything because he was not an illegal gold miner as he was working at a proper place where even fights are unheard off. So, we were shocked to get a message from the farm owner that he had been missing for three days,” said Mr Dube.
He said the news troubled the family and they went to the mine to search for him.
Mr Dube said when they got to the mine, his brother’s workmates told them that on the day he disappeared he had gone to a place where they normally drink beer at around 8AM carrying US$10.
They joined him at 3PM.
“His workmates said when they got at the drinking spot, they found him still drinking. They told us that they bought their own beer but my brother somehow took it all and left for the mine. Someone is said to have seen him sleeping on the road to the mine in the evening in a drunken stupor,” he said.
He also said the workmates said the following morning they looked for him and even went to where he was last seen sleeping but they did not locate him.
Mr Dube said they reported the matter to the police.
“His decomposed body was located by the owner of the drinking spot on his plot but deep in the bush on the 25th of April and he informed the police. The police took the body to United Bulawayo Hospitals Mortuary. Later that day, his employer came to inform us of the developments,” he said.
Mr Dube said they were shocked to learn that his body was found with some body parts missing.
He said when they went to UBH mortuary they discovered that a hand and lower jaw were missing.
Mr Dube said the owner of the place where they had been drinking from told them that there had been a fight amongst imbibers on the day his brother disappeared.
“We really do not know what happened because the statements are not adding up. Am in deep pain with the callous manner my brother died,” said Mr Dube as he broke down in tears.
He said the family strongly feels that the death of his brother was planned by people who wanted to do rituals with his body parts.
“At the spot where his body was found there was a bunch of fire wood while his T-shirt was found on the tree. People who did this wanted to burn his body so that we never locate him. We picked some small pieces of his body parts which were left by the police when they collected him but we could not get water to wash his blood from the ground,” he said.
“We just buried his bones and the maggots that were feasting on what remained of his body on Friday. It was a terrible site when we collected it from the mortuary and that will never be erased in our minds. We plead with police to help us find who killed our brother and why they killed him.”
The farm owner where the mine is located Retired Lieutenant Colonel Elias Moyo said the body was discovered by his neighbor at his plot.
Matabeleland South Police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said police were treating the matter as a sudden death while they continue with investigations.
“The scene was attended to by Fort Rixon police after the body was discovered by a man who was rounding up his cattle. There were missing parts of his body and police found some struggle marks of wild animals at the scene. Investigation are in progress,” said Insp Mangena. – @themkhust