Traditional medicine widely used
The Mozambican Human Rights League, which initiated the report, said these stories and more are contained in their horror report about the widespread trafficking of human body parts in Mozambique and South Africa, which has unveiled a scary reality: body parts are frequently used in traditional medicine and there is a commonly held belief that such medicine is very powerful.
"Ritual killings are common here; it's like daily bread. We do not even get shocked when a person is found dead with body parts removed," said one of the South Africans interviewed.
No law that prohibits us from going around with a human finger'
This report was published from a seminar last year, when 413 Mozambicans and South Africans attended open workshops and 139 went on to be interviewed. Twenty-two percent of these interviewees had first-hand experience of seeing a mutilated body or separate body parts.
Arrests for killing - but not for owning body parts:
The South African Police Service reports noted in August 20 2008 that three men were arrested for selling traditional medicine in Bushbuckridge, Limpopo province - and jailed.
SA Police captain L Hlati reported that on 15 August 2008, three suspects were arrested by his team for a case related to a 'muti'-murder (human body-parts harvested for 'traditional medicine') and that they were charged in the Bushbuckridge Magistrates' Court. Businessman Patrick Floyd Mokoena (58), his son, Sydney Toto Mokoena (33) and his son's friend Mjojo Justice Ndubane (28).
They admitted that they had brutally murdered Floyd's nephew Clarence Brown (25) on 23 February 2008, and were jailed.
Desperately needed body parts:
Their testimony was that Floyd told his son that he desperately needed human body parts 'to make his four businesses quickly churn big bucks'
. The suspected businessman owns the Lebohang Bar Lounge, a restaurant in Tekamahala Trust, another in Oakley near Hazyview as well as a liquor-outlet in Oakley.
Body parts from a family member said the witch doctor:
His son Toto asked his friends -- Mjojo Justice Ndubane and another unidentified suspect -- to help. They went in search for Floyd's nephew Clarence Brown -- as the witchdoctor's advice was that the body parts needed to be of a family member. The victim was found drinking at the Sizanani 2 Bar Lounge in Oakley with his friends. The suspects waited at a bridge where the nephew was supposed to pass when going home - and offered him a lift.
The suspects made formal admissions to the arresting police that they 'cut his body parts while he was still alive' - while seated inside a blue Venture kombi belonging to Floyd.
They then threw the victim's lifeless body in the middle of the road in Oakley, under the false pretense that the victim had been involved in a hit-and-run accident.
The three suspects were arrested by the Organised Crime Unit between 13 and 14 August 2008 while sitting relaxed at their homes, thinking that their evil deeds had gone unnoticed, Captain Hlathi wrote in his police report. see
However, according to the Mozambican Human Rights League
(LDH), which initiated the research, there is no legislation - local or international - that criminalizes the carrying of a body part without evidence linking the suspect to the actual murder.
"We need more legislation. There is no law that prohibits us from going around with a human finger. The law is against cutting it, but not carrying it," said LDH chairman Alice Mabota. A total of 93 percent of the interviewees believed 'medicine containing body parts was more powerful'.
From the belt hung the fingers and penises of children
One of the researchers, Matshidisho Ntsiuoa, from Child Welfare in Bloemfontein, South Africa
, said she had spoken to a woman who had gone to a sangoma for help to fall pregnant. The sangoma gave her a belt to wear. From the belt hung the fingers and penises of children.
Although the woman felt uncomfortable about the belt, she wore it. She paid R4,000 for the consultation.
FIFA WORLD CUP 2010
Most of the medicine is aimed at making businesses more successful, and the researchers are worried that with the Fifa World Cup 2010 football tournaments
approaching in South Africa, body parts will be in higher demand as people try to capitalize on increased business opportunities.
One of the aims of the report is to make it easier for people to talk about what's happening. The interviewees were afraid to be identified and said they'd be killed if anyone found out.
Traditional healers who attended Tuesday's release of the report said they immediately wanted to distance themselves from such "wrongdoings", and were worried that people needing help were not approaching them because they'd heard stories about the use of body parts. see