WATCH: Fear of ritual killers lingers after 9 years

Simo Sendlela narrates how her mother in law was brutally murdered

THERE is nothing that time can’t heal, time is the best healer. Time teaches us to forget and forgive and go beyond the damage that has happened to us.

These words seem to have no meaning for villagers from Stanmore under Chief Masuku in Gwanda who are still living in constant fear as a result of a spate of brutal killings that hit the area nine years ago when four women and a seven-month-old baby were brutally murdered and their private parts removed for suspected ritual purposes.

The victims, Mthombani Moyo (81), Senzokuhle Moyo (44), Melgina Mahlangu (62) and Nothando Siziba (20) and her baby were waylaid by Mncedisi Ndlovu, Nhlanhla Sibanda and Bhekimpilo Mthethwa as they disembarked from public transport vehicles at Stanmore Business Centre before taking them to a nearby bush where they robbed and then killed them.

The trio mutilated their bodies and buried them in shallow graves or dumped them in the bush. The murderers, Ndlovu, Sibanda and Mthethwa were in 2015 sentenced to life imprisonment.

In separate interviews, villagers who spoke to B-Metro said since the murder of the four women and a seven-month-old baby for suspected ritual purposes they were still virtually living under ‘curfew’ and were even afraid to venture out at night.

Mthombani Moyo’s homestead is falling apart after she became a victim of ritual killers

Thabani Moyo (47) from Gumani Village said there was widespread fear in the community as villagers were still grappling with the heinous murder of the four women.

“Everyone is still talking about the ritual killings despite the fact the suspects were arrested and jailed. We are still traumatised and living in fear. We are now afraid of even going out at night and people are now moving in groups in fear of being pounced upon,” said Moyo.

Another villager, who identified herself as Mrs Ndlovu, said she was still shaken by the murder of her neighbours back in 2012.

“We can’t even walk about freely, and we are even afraid to go to the bushes to gather firewood. Since those brutal murders we have since restricted our movements and this is impacting our livelihoods. We always remind our children not to travel alone, and to also take special care at night,” she said.

Another villager who asked to remain anonymous and lives close to where one of the semi-naked bodies was discovered, said she was still anxious and panicking because of the brutal murders.

“We still feel a lot less safe especially considering the fact that some of the people who were suspected to have worked with those killers are still around and roaming the area,” said the villager.

Simo Sendlela (60), who is a relative to one of the victims, Mthombani Moyo, said ever since the cold-blooded murder of her mother-in-law in 2012, life had not been the same for the nine children, who were living under her guardianship.

“The murder of my mother-in-law in 2012 actually dealt a major blow to her nine grandchildren, whom she was taking care of after the death of their parents. Despite the fact that she was a widow and had lost many of her children, she was hard working and making sure that she provided everything that her grandchildren wanted,” she said.

Sendlela said her mother-in-law was murdered while on her way home from Stanmore Business Centre.
“After having disembarked from a lift that was coming from Gwanda town, where she had gone to visit one of her daughters-in-law, who had just lost her husband, she met one of her grandchildren and neighbours who instructed her to wait for them so that they could go together in a scotch cart as they were also waiting for a relative who was coming from Bulawayo.

“She, however, turned down their offer saying they would find her along the way. When her grandson whom she had met at the business centre arrived home around 6pm he was shocked to find his grandmother not at home. So, he immediately came here and informed us and by then my husband was still alive and we told the other villagers about the issue and we immediately went out to search for her. On the first day we could not locate her,” she narrated.

Sendlela said when they continued with the search the following day, her lifeless body was found at around 3pm with visible marks on the forehead indicating that she had been attacked with a blunt object.

“Although justice was done to the murderers, as a family the circumstances surrounding her death are still haunting us. Right now, if you go to her homestead, it now looks desolate and all her grandchildren whom she was looking after are finding it hard to stay there,” said Sendlela.

She further said relatives of the alleged murderers once approached them asking on how best they could resolve the issue but as a family, they turned down their bid to compensate them.

“As a family we agreed that we should not take any form of payment from the three killers’ families as that was not going to bring back our relative,” she said.

Strangely, the parents of all the three men who were involved in the murder of Sendlela’s mother-in-law have also recently died.

Source: B-Metro

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