Local NGO Champions Fight Against Child Ritual Killings

MWANACHIPO Africa Trust, a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has initiated the Stop Child Sacrifice: 777 campaign  in an effort to curb the surgeing ritual kills that have been on the increase of late.

By Patricia Mashiri

The campaign is in remembrance of Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa who was brutally murdered and decapitated by his uncle and also Delan and Melissa Benza of Mutasa both aged 7 who were also murdered with information pointing to their uncle.

In an interview with HealthTimes, Heaven Munyuki the Executive Board Chairman of Mwanachipo Africa Trust said it was unfortunate that people are being hoodwinked especially by traditional healers into believing that children body parts were get rich quick charms.

“The recent surge in ritual killings and murder cases of children in Zimbabwe is not only worrisome but inhumane and horrifying. Whether by coincident or there is a spiritual meaning of all of them aged 7. These cases should not go unchallenged therefore as Mwanchipo Africa Trust, we have initiated a Stop Child Sacrifice campaign: 777 .These cases are a tip of what is happening mainly in the countryside. It’s so heart-breaking.

“These gruesome murders are targeted mainly at children for ritual purposes. Vulnerable, innocent children are mutilated and murdered by ruthless and criminal people who want to increase their wealth, health, power or reputation – by all means. Like Tapiwa, Delan and Mellisa, a lot of children have fallen victim to murderers and ritual killers. Due to their vulnerability, they are easily abducted on their way to or from school or when conducting their daily home activities such as fetching water and collecting firewood.

“Children are the main victims because they are considered pure or unblemished, easy to lure and their blood sacrifice is considered more powerful than that of adults as children represent new life, prosperity and growth to the one procuring the sacrifice. They are sacrificed by witch doctors to appease ‘the gods’ and bring a myriad of solutions which include wealth, good health and political power among others. Adults drawn to the practice are tricked into believing that the purity of child makes the ritual more powerful,” Munyuki said.

Mostly the ritual killers target some of body parts as in most cases just like the Tapiwa, Mellisa and Delan’s cases some of their body parts were missing.

Munyuki added that they empower communities and families through sensitization and education; they seek justice for children through advocacy. They also provide physical, emotional and spiritual support for the affected families and victims of child sacrifice and lastly we advocate for effective system of criminal prosecution on child sacrifice cases.

Speaking during an interview with the state media Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, the Zimbabwe Republic Police Spokesperson said parents and guardians should keep close eye on their children than ever.

“It is really sad that instead of valuing the lives of minors, people are resorting to killing and maiming them,” Commissioner Nyathi said.

A number of murder cases have been recorded in the country with most of them being kids under the age of ten with the most recent one being the Masvingo Bikita case where a 6 year old girl went missing at Nyika growth point and was found dead dumped in a septic tank.

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