Hands of two children found floating in river

2015-02-19 00:00

A RIVER worker in Mphophomeni yesterday made a horror find.

Two little severed hands, suspected to be those of children, were found wrapped in ­plastic floating in the Umgeni River.

Mpophomeni residents crowded around the yellow police cordon tape at the scene, gasping as police pulled the hands from a mass of herbs and bark and hastily tipped them into a body bag.

The hands were found yesterday morning when a group of Umgeni Water workers were cleaning up the litter from the river as part of a new project.

One of the contract workers, Sabelo Sibiya, said he had been picking up litter from the river when he made the gruesome discovery in a floating red plastic packet.

“When I grabbed the plastic bag using a panga, a left hand fell out of the plastic packet.

“I was in shock and I quickly rushed to called my other colleagues who were wearing gloves to see what else was inside.”

He said when his colleagues grabbed the plastic bag, a smaller hand popped out from the plastic together with a mass of bark and damp herbs.

A local Mpophomeni sangoma and muthi expert, Paulos Manana, arrived at the scene and inspected the herbs and bark found with the severed hands from behind the yellow ­cordon tape. He said the sticks were used as muthi known as amakhubalo and can only be found deep in the mountains.

Umgeni deputy mayor Scelo Majozi urged the community to report missing children as soon as they disappeared and not to take their absence lightly. He said too often people who realised their children were nowhere to be found, assumed their children were out playing and that they would wander back home.

Majozi added that this gruesome discovery was absolutely unacceptable and that the community needed to unite to prevent this happening to any more children.

A police source, who could not be named, said although it had not been confirmed through forensics that the hands were human, they definitely looked human and appeared to belong to a four- to five-year-old child and a one-year-old infant.

The source said the hands looked as if they had been detached from the body for over a week. One of the little hands appeared to be slightly burnt.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

siso.naile@witness.co.za

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