‘Vampire’ kids put in care

2010-01-20 00:00

ARRANGEMENTS are under way to place the 12-year-old Imbali Stage 14 boy who was accused of vampirism in an orphanage.

This was revealed by ward 18 councillor and speaker in the Msunduzi Municipality, Alpha Shelembe, yesterday. The boy was mistaken for a girl who was accused of vampirism by the Edendale Eyethu newspaper last week.

Shelembe was addressing more than 1 000 community members after investigating the accusations which had stemmed from the newspaper article.

The newspaper reported that a 12-year-old girl from the Eastern Cape confessed that she eats and drinks human flesh and blood.

Residents of the area then descended on the home of the boy, threatening to kill him and burn the house if the family did not leave the area.

Police intervened and took the boy away. After an interview with some community members, The Witness learnt that the targeted boy was from the Western Cape and not the Eastern Cape. Attempts by community leaders to address the crowd fell on deaf ears as the mob was baying for the boy’s blood.

At the meeting yesterday, Shelembe told the residents that it was irresponsible journalism that put the life of the boy at risk.

He said he and two other community members went to the newspaper offices yesterday and asked the reporter to reveal her source, who happened to be the girl’s mother.

A meeting between the reporter, the mother of the accused girl and two committee members was then convened. The mother told the committee members that her child did not say that she eats and drinks human flesh and blood.

She said her daughter had told the journalist that she sometimes has bad dreams, including one in which an old woman instructs her to remove unborn babies from their mothers’ wombs.

“The journalist decided to spice up the story, putting the child’s life at risk in the process.

“It is this sensational and irresponsible journa­lism that brought this mayhem. Two children and their families are now traumatised and the community is agitated,” Shelembe said.

MEC for Social Development Meshack Radebe was called and the situation was explained. Shelembe said the MEC has agreed to take both children to an orphanage.

“Their parents will be informed of the developments, and arrangements will be made with their school principals so that they can continue with their schooling.”

The mother of the boy said she has not been contacted either by the police or the Social Development Depar­tment.

“All I know is that my child is under police protection and I have not heard anything from them since Monday evening when they took him away,” said the mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the boy.

Radebe could not be reached for comment.

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