THREE men from Binga were last week arrested for masquerading as human slayers (omabhinya) although their mission was to rob members of the public.
In the past few weeks, the country has been gripped with speculation and fear over the issue of obhinya with reports mainly on social media alleging that there is a group of criminals kidnapping and beheading people, especially children.
That put members of the public into panic mode. Khumbulani Mpande (18), Ronald Nkomezya (17) both of Siamunsaka Village and Ability Munsaka (19) of Chasamba Village, all under Chief Saba were arrested on Tuesday for masquerading as mabhinya.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the arrest of the trio saying investigations were underway. Chief Saba confirmed the incident saying the three were allegedly drunk when they decided to commit the crime.
He, however, said villagers in his community were still shaken and very worried because they believe the human slayers’ issue is true although there were no reported missing persons.
“On Monday, at around 7pm, the three young men who were coming from a beer drink came across Chief Dobola’s messenger, Servious Similonga Mumpande of Sichitumba Village and they allegedly introduced themselves as human slayers and demanded that he surrenders his bag.
“Mumpande fled from the trio and was rescued by a bus crew along the main road which stopped for him and took him aboard to safety. The matter was reported to the police and he managed to identify them after members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee hunted them down,” he said.
Chief Saba said villagers had informed him that there were three other suspicious strangers in Siachilaba which villagers suspect could be obhinya. He said the matter had been reported to the police and investigations were underway.
Chief Saba said: “Since the beginning of this month, social media within Binga WhatsApp groups was awash with circulating messages alleging that there were human slayers associated with murdering, rape and kidnapping, armed with knives and knobkerries were on the loose within Siachilaba and Bunsiwa villages. Fear for this has resulted in parents stopping their children from attending school.”
However, National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi urged members of the public to ignore messages circulating on social media alleging that there is a group of criminals kidnapping and beheading people, especially children.
He warned people against causing unnecessary panic by circulating such messages on WhatsApp.
“We encourage members of the public to ignore messages circulating on social media which cause alarm and despondency,” he said.
Chief Supt Nyathi said they were aware that messages were being circulated to the effect that in places such as Zvishavane, Binga, Masvingo, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo children had been kidnapped and beheaded.
“This is totally false information and we urge members of the public to verify any information or approach any nearest police station if they are suspicious of any such messages.
“As security services we are conducting investigations and anyone caught circulating messages that will cause panic, alarm and despondency among members of the public will be dealt with in terms of the law,” he said.
According to the hoax messages, the suspects were taking the heads to South Africa.