Pastor, relatives arrested after girls beaten to death in exorcism ritual
Durban –Police on Thursday arrested a pastor and two relatives after two nine-year-old girls were beaten to death in an attempt to cast out "evil spirits".
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Nkandla police arrested three suspects aged between 31 and 35 at Ezimambeni, including the mother of one of the dead girls. The three face two counts of murder and will appear at the Nkandla Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Mbele said police received an anonymous call on March 24, asking them to go to a house in Ezimambeni because they suspected something sinister was going on. "Upon arrival, the police were greeted with hostility by the family members before they encountered a gruesome scene. Two nine-year-old girls lay on the floor with bruises all over their bodies," she said.
Mbele said one of the girls had already died and the other was unconscious. Police called for an ambulance and the second girl was rushed to hospital but died of her injuries a few days later.
"Upon questioning the family members on the girl’s injuries, they alleged that the girls were attacked by evil spirits," Mbele said. "The family alleged that the young girls had been complaining that evil spirits were beating them up and instructing them to drink blood. In response, the family also beat up the girls as a form of exorcism. A local pastor was called to pray for the girls and he also allegedly joined in the beating of the girls."
Mbele said that it had emerged during the investigation that before the arrival of the police, the family had taken the dead girl to the traditional healer. "The traditional healer could not do anything for her because she was already dead and her body was brought back to the family," she said.
Medical reports said the young girls were subject to severe beatings which was the cause of their death. Further investigations also revealed that during 2015 another girl from the family died under mysterious circumstances and was buried a day after her death without the family informing the authorities. Mbele said it was suspected the same was going to happen to these young girls.
Investigations are still ongoing as detectives probe the 2015 death of the girl.The Independent on Saturday