'Child sacrifice' parents due in court

2015-10-28 18:01
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Mbombela - A Mpumalanga couple accused of making a ring of fire to sacrifice their three-year-old son as a way of becoming rich will appear in court on Thursday.

Cedric Mkhonto, 29, and Nelly Jawuki, 25, from Khutsong near Matsulu outside Mbombela, are facing charges of attempted murder after their son was nearly killed in a fire that left him seriously injured in January this year.

The two were arrested on October 16 after being tracked down to a hideout in Tonga .

"The couple, who are sangomas, are accused of wanting to burn and kill their baby in Matsulu to perform a ritual that they believed may make him rich," Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said on Wednesday.

"They allegedly made a ring of fire... and tied the baby to a plank, using ropes.

"They placed him on top of the fire to sacrifice him and were sitting around the fire naked. A neighbour heard the baby crying and called for help from the community." 

Mohlala said the neighbours rescued the boy from the fire and called police.

"The parents fled after the child was rescued. The boy has since recovered from the injuries that he sustained during the fire. He is living with a relative in KaMhlushwa near Malalane," he said.

Mohlala added that Mkhonto was first hospitalised at Tonga Hospital on October 14 before being arrested along with Jawuki.

'Boy tied with ropes on top of fire'

He could not, however, confirm rumours that Mkhonto was treated for injuries sustained in an assault by community members who had uncovered his hideout.

"We cannot confirm that he was attacked by the community, but he was placed under police guard from 14 October at the Tonga Hospital. He was discharged on 21 October and is currently in police custody in Matsulu," Mohlala said.

According to neighbour Ruby Magagula, 34, the incident had shocked the entire community.

"On that fateful night another community member heard a baby crying in the night. When they went to see what was going on, they found the boy tied with ropes on top of a fire. The couple was sitting naked beside the fire while the baby was burning,” Magagula recalled.

She said other community members were called to assist.

"It was with the help of the community that the baby was saved, but the parents managed to escape into the night. We alerted the police.”

She said there was very little furniture inside the shack, not even a single bed.

"It seems as if they were sleeping on the floor. There were some clothes, a lot of muti bottles, a lamp and a fire pit where the baby was being sacrificed," Magagula said.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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