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Not only in Liberia
Ritual Killing Swaziland (12 cases reported here)

Freedom of fear is a human right
Rule of law an obligation of the state


  1. School girl’s life under threat new
    A Form Two pupil of Ebenezer High School had to be under police surveillance after it emerged that her life was under threat. The girl, it was suspected, was being targeted by ritual killers.
    The school is situated under Mtsambama Inkhundla. The girl’s family were alarmed (....). They were alarmed after a young albino girl was killed in what was suspected to be a ritual killing in the Shiselweni region.

    Mtsambama Member of Parliament Bheki ‘No Problem’ Mkhonta, speaking during the crime prevention campaign held at the school sports grounds (.....) said they were facing a rise in ritual killings in the constituency.
    MP Mkhonta in a interview yesterday (....) said it was appalling that there were still people who believed there were magical powers in human body parts especially those of albinos.
    July 19, 2011

  2. Tinyanga condemn ritual killing of albinos  Tinyanga from Shiselweni region have condemned the involvement of some of them in acts of ritual murder. They have vowed to co-operate with police to have tinyanga engaged in ritual murder exposed. The shiselweni region hogged newspapers’ headlines last year when two albinos were killed for ritual purposes.
    At a meeting in Nhlangano this week, one speaker Sabelo Mdluli said it was unfortunate that people now had nasty things to say about tinyanga’s alleged involvement in ritual killings. “If a person is found dead and body parts missing, the first person to be blamed is an inyanga,” he said.
    Mdluli explained that there is a difference between traditional healers who use their muti to heal people and wizards who use their muti to kill people.
    March 17, 2001

  3. Man kills wife and surrenders to cops - family desperate to have missing parts back  new
    MAMBANE - A man walked into a police post and narrated how he had brutally killed his wife and allegedly dumped her body in the sugar cane fields at Majombe near Big Bend.

    The condition in which the body of Hlobsile Gamedze (nee Mamba) was found has created an impression that the murder was ritually motivated because she was mutilated.

    The deceased’s family have alleged that when they assessed the body, they discovered that eyes had been gorged out, the tongue had been cut off and private parts were missing.
    However, the story told by the deceased’s mother Zincane Dlamini suggests that the killing may have been premeditated and had all the attributes of a ritual murder.

    Family desperate to have parts back

    MAMBANE – The family of the late Hlobsile Gamedze (nee Mamba) is desperate to have her body parts returned.

    "We want to bury them decently as we have done with the rest of her body. We are certain that the parts are somewhere and the one who killed my daughter should bring them back," said the deceased’s mother Zincane Dlamini.
    Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed the matter.
    March 5, 2011

  4. NHLANGANO - Sipho Tsabedze, a man living with albinism, is appealing for support to stage a national educational campaign against the ritual killing of albinos.

    Tsabedze (27) of Mangwaneni Township said following the recent gruesome killing of two albinos in the Shiselweni region supposedly for ritual purposes, it had been his wish to go around the country educating people to desist from portraying albinos as creatures whose body parts could make one rich or lucky. Tsabedze said this during the Mangwaneni Township residents’ meeting held yesterday under a Jacaranda tree.
    October 11, 2010

  5. 11 year old Albino girl killed and mutilated Another brutal killing of a innocent child because she is born a albino. (...)

    Banele Nxumalo, a 11 year old girl, was fetching water for her family with a group of friends, when a car stopped and two hooded gunmen (...) told the girls to run and as Banele's friends started running one of the men shot her. He then proceeded to chop of her head and right hand. This all happened in the day at a river in Sigudvuma in front of children. They left her severed body only taking her hand and severed head, got in the car and drove off.
    Police spokesperson, superintendent Wendy Hleta has condemned the killing of Banele and noted that Shiselweni region has become a hunting ground where albino children are the targets.
    August 23, 2010

    Albino girl shot, mutilated
    An albino girl has been brutally killed at Ondiyaneni in Shiselweni.
    The girl, 11-year-old Banele Nxumalo’s murder is the latest chilling ritual killing of albinos, an obsession that has gripped many parts of Africa, especially the east where it is believed the blood of an albino makes strong muti.
    Superintendent Wendy Hleta also condemned the killing of the girl (...). She recalled that not so long ago, an albino teenager was killed in the same brutal manner and mutilated.
    August 20, 2010
  6. We're not ritual killers - Tinyanga
    TINYANGA have taken exception to allegations that they are behind the recent spate of ritual murders ahead of the national elections.
    He was responding to recent developments in which people have been killed and their bodies mutilated allegedly to be used in abracadabra to enhance candidates to win the national election.
    July 8, 2008
  7. Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamini has issued a warning to aspiring members of parliament against committing ritual murders to win the vote. Speaking during the Ascension prayer service held at Embangweni Royal Residence yesterday, the PM said it was very disturbing that, already, there were reported incidents of people disappearing under a cloud of controversy as the elections dates draw closer.
    He said His Majesty issued a similar warning.
    May 5, 2008
  8. Ritual muderder at Hluthi
    A 65-year-old man from Hluthi has been killed and some of his body parts were missing, in what relatives say was a ritual killing by someone aspiring to be a Member of Parliament.
    May 5, 2008
  9. "Ritual murder is a fact in Swaziland"
    "Ritual murder is a fact in Swaziland (...)," says Robert Dube, a businessperson in the capital city, Mbabane.
    "Ritual murder" has allegedly long been a dark and secret part of politics in Swaziland, a conservative kingdom where traditions good and bad, including some destructive superstitions, are a key part of life.
    Last week, the most disturbing case yet was reported in the Swazi press, when the dismembered bodies of a two-year-old boy was found at the edge of the family homestead. The toddler's own relatives are implicated in the murder.
    February 17, 2004
  10. Swazi ritual killing warning
    King Mswati III has urged Swaziland's politicians not to engage in ritual killings to boost their chances in October's elections.
    The BBC's Tom Holloway in the capital, Mbabane, says that the number of ritual murders increases at election time.
    June 2, 2003
  11. Child murders on Swazi campaign trail
    Three children, whose mutilated bodies were found buried in isolated areas of Swaziland, are believed to have been killed as part of traditional rituals to bring luck to election candidates.

    Elections, held every five years, are due early next year (...) With less than nine months to go before the next poll, this trend is already evident. Over the past four weeks, bodies of children with several parts missing have been discovered by cattle herders.

    The latest body to be discovered was that of a girl, believed to be 16 years old, missing (...)  The way the body parts had been sliced off was similar to two earlier discoveries. The first one, (...) had some of the body parts missing (...)
    All the limbs were missing from the body of a pre-school child, discovered several days after he disappeared. (...) several strategic wounds also suggested that blood had been drained from the body.

    During the last poll, several mutilated bodies of children, apparently killed for ritual purposes, were found dumped in isolated areas. The general belief was that these murders were either committed by parliamentary aspirants or their agents.
    Meanwhile further ritual murders are expected as the election countdown starts in earnest.
    August 26, 2002 
  12. Swaziland Executes 8
    A woman convicted of the ritual killing of a child was hanged in Swaziland early today along with seven other convicted murderers, the Justice Minister announced.
    July 13, 1983



















Reason and Superstition in Swaziland by Leo Igwe

Recently I attended a human rights meeting in Swaziland.
No matter the religion or belief they may profess, no matter the level of education they may attain, most Swazis believe in charms popularly known as muti. The belief is so prevalent that Swaziland can rightly be called the Land of Muti.

Muti is a magical potion prepared by local witchdoctors called sangomas. Sangomas are believed to have supernatural powers which they use to produce this substance.
In Swaziland, people attribute everything - good or bad - that happens to muti. (...) Because of the high demand for muti in Swaziland, ritual killing is common in the country.

Ritual murder especially of children is a common experience in Swaziland. During the human rights meeting, there were several reported cases of ritual murder and sacrifice. And many Swazis I spoke to said they were expecting more ritual killings to occur as the country prepares for elections in November. Politicians would be looking for human body parts to prepare the muti which they believe would help them win elections. In May, the media reported a very pathetic and horrifying case of ritual sacrifice. (...)
August 25, 2008

Government bans national march against ritual killings
Richard Rooney, Associate Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Swaziland, commenting the Swazi government's decision to ban a march in protest against ritual murders in the country (July 2008):

"In Swaziland, I suspect, the Prime Minister and his Government did not want to bring attention to the ritual murders because they have no solution for them. (...) I'll leave aside for now rumours sweeping Swaziland that the real reason why the government is scared of the publicity over ritual murders is that many of those in government were themselves elected with a little 'help' from 'muti murders'..."

Visit Rooney's independent blog Swazi Media Commentary. This blog contains information and commentary about human rights in Swaziland.


"Ritual murder is a fact in Swaziland"  -  and has allegedly long been a secret part of politics in the country

"Ritual murder is a fact in Swaziland," says Robert Dube in the capital city, Mbabane.
Dube, a businesperson, says his views are shared by most of his country's people.
"The victim is usually easily overpowered -- a child, or a widow -- and killed usually by hired killers," says Vusie Masuku, spokesperson for the Royal Swaziland Police Force. Body parts of the murder victims are then "harvested". Taken are bits of flesh from under the armpits, a finger and some internal organs. Legend says the most potent parts are cut from a still-living person.

The Swaziland police report about six findings of mutilated bodies annually. The number increased twofold in 1998, which was a year of parliamentary elections, and were up slightly last year, which also saw the most recent parliamentary elections. Some suspects were caught and tried for a few of the killings that year, but none were involved in the elections. This did not keep the Swazi press from linking the upswing in "ritual murders" with electioneering.

"Ritual murder" has allegedly long been a dark and secret part of politics in Swaziland (...)

Worries over ritual murders have taken on a new urgency in anticipation of the trial of Swaziland's first mass murderer. David Simelane confessed to police nearly three years ago that he kidnapped and killed more than 60 women and children. The victims were buried in shallow graves in the commercial timber forests of Malkerns, 50km south of Mbabane. (...)

"The Swazi people want to know who is behind this," submitted Senator Abednego Dlamini during parliamentary debates last year.

But little action has followed. No trial date has been set for Simelane, and a conspiracy theory swirls around Simelane and this country's first case of serial killings.
The suspicion has increased the public's desire to see a trial, and with no trial forthcoming, has raised fears that a powerful cabal of authorities is keeping Simelane out of view, lest he implicate others.
The reality of "ritual murder" in Swaziland has convinced people that the 63 alleged victims of Simelane were killed for their body parts.


Last week, the most disturbing case yet was reported in the Swazi press, when the dismembered bodies of a two-year-old boy was found at the edge of the family homestead. The toddler's own relatives are implicated in the murder.
February 17, 2004




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