Horror as villagers torture suspected donkey thief to death with pliers and scorpion


In a startling incident that has sent shockwaves through the community, it is alleged that nearly 20 residents of Dumba village near Beitbridge kidnapped and brutally tortured a fellow villager, Austin Sibanda (25), accusing him of stealing a neighbour’s donkey. The horrifying details emerged from a police report, revealing a gruesome ordeal resulting in Sibanda’s tragic death.

According to the police report, on January 8 of this year, Sibanda was subjected to a relentless assault. He was repeatedly struck with a hammer, had his genitɑls pinched with pliers, and was mercilessly whipped with switches, causing fatal wounds all over his body. As if the torture wasn’t enough, one of the assailants even threw a scorpion into Sibanda’s shirt, further intensifying his suffering. Sibanda, before his demise, confided in his grandmother, Esnath Moyo, recounting the horrific details of his ordeal.

The officer commanding Beitbridge Police District, Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo, confirmed the incident and stated that Beitbridge Rural Police were actively investigating the case.

Relatives of the deceased have accused the police of negligence and carelessness, asserting that Sibanda was denied medical attention for two days while in police custody. They question why the vigilantes, who had already assaulted Sibanda severely, were not apprehended upon bringing him to the police station for the alleged theft of the donkey. Sibanda, until his last breath, vehemently denied the accusations and named all those who participated in the attack.

Melson Shoko, a distraught relative who called from the United Kingdom, expressed his dismay over the lack of due diligence by the police. Shoko revealed that Sibanda, while on his deathbed, disclosed that he was dying for a crime he did not commit. He recounted how Sibanda was brutally beaten with a hammer and had his genitals pinched with pliers. Furthermore, a scorpion was thrown into his shirt, causing repeated stings. He criticized the police for failing to prioritize Sibanda’s life, as they kept him in custody instead of seeking immediate medical assistance. Tragically, Sibanda passed away at home on January 12, 2024, around 3 pm, four days after the mob assault.

An investigation by NewsDay uncovered that there was no record of the deceased’s assault, despite clear evidence of injuries sustained during the attack. Moreover, Sibanda was reportedly taken to court but was declared unfit for any legal proceedings due to his inability to stand unaided.

“Police handed him over to his family asking them to have him treated before they took him for trial. “He was vomiting blood and screaming that he was losing his breath. Once he asked to have water poured on him which they did. He died a very sad death and no one should ever go through this kind of death. He died at home on Friday January 12, 2024 around 3pm, four days after he was assaulted by the mob,” said Shoko who asked why police did not prioritise life.

After Sibanda’s death, the police launched a manhunt for the vigilantes involved in the crime. Subsequently, four individuals have been arrested out of the mob identified by the deceased. Kudakwashe Masiya (36), Keijiyi Siziba (45), Pine Mukungulushi (28), and Humbulani Mbedzi, all from Mushambe village in Dumba, appeared before Resident Magistrate Takudzwa Gwazemba on murder charges. The accused were not required to enter a plea and were advised to apply for bail at the High Court. The quartet is scheduled to appear in court for further remand in two weeks’ time.

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