Severed hands belonged to baboon, DNA results show

2016-03-29 11:01
Warrant Officer Karl Gous from the Pietermaritzburg K9 search-and-rescue unit bags the baboon hands found in the Umgeni River in Mpophomeni last year in February. The severed hands were believed to belong to an infant and a young child at the time.

Warrant Officer Karl Gous from the Pietermaritzburg K9 search-and-rescue unit bags the baboon hands found in the Umgeni River in Mpophomeni last year in February. The severed hands were believed to belong to an infant and a young child at the time. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police have concluded that the two severed hands found in Umgeni River in Mpophomeni in February last year are not human.

Last year, workers cleaning the banks of the Umgeni River in Mpophomeni came across a bag filled with herbs and strips of bark along with two small hands, believed at the time to be the hands of a small infant and a four-year-old child.

At the time, the community believed the severed hands belonged to two different children who had been killed for muthi in Mpophomeni.

Police said last year that no missing children cases had been opened over that year except for the disappearance of four-year-old Siyamthanda Gumede, who was allegedly abducted from his mother’s friend’s home in Howick a few weeks earlier.

After over a year, DNA results have concluded that the hands belonged to a baboon.

The search for Siyamthanda is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

In June 2014, the body of 15-year-old Nompula Zuma was found in a river in Mpophomeni with her eyes missing.

It was thought by her family that Zuma had been killed and her eyes taken by a witch doctor and used for muthi.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim, however, said it had been concluded that her eyes “were in fact eaten by the animals in the river, possibly crabs”.

Ebrahim said the investigation into Zuma’s murder and the search for her killer were still ongoing.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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