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Police probe suspected ritual murder

By Tsitsi Matope


MASERU — Police are investigating a suspected case of ritual murder after the body of a 79-year-old man was found with a mutilated face at Koma Koma village in Mapoteng on Monday.

Police suspect the man’s eyes were pulled out of their sockets while the mouth, right cheek and ear and nose were sliced off.

No blood stains were visible at the scene where villagers discovered the body last Monday.

The villagers had launched a search on August 31, a few hours after the man was reported missing.

Police spokesperson Inspector Thato Ramarikhoane said preliminary investigations indicate the man was killed at a different place.

“Currently, our evidence is pointing at a murder perpetrated at another place, possibly by more than one person.

“This is because we found no evidence of blood-stains or struggle at the scene where the body was recovered, or marks of struggle to defend himself on the body.

“This tells us that the body was moved to the cliffs,” he said.

He further explained that the body was dumped a few kilometres from his home, far from a neighbour’s residence where he was last seen drinking beer with other villagers at a traditional ceremony.

“We have ruled out suspicions that dogs or other animals could have mutilated the face because there is no evidence of animal bites.

“We suspect this is a case of ritual murder,” Ramarikhoane said.

Further police investigations have revealed that the man had left his home on Friday (August 30) to join fellow villagers at a traditional ceremony held at a neighbour’s house.

“Some witnesses told us that he left his neighbour’s home at around 2am on Saturday but did not reach his home which is just less than a kilometre away,” Ramarikhoane said.

His worried wife, aged 75, reported her husband missing to the village headman after she could not find him at the neighbour’s home.

“The matter was also brought to our attention and we had already started investigations when the body was found.”

So far, no arrests have been made.

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