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VILLAGERS in Lambo, Hwange district under chief Nekatambe are  reeling in shock following revelations that the disappearance of a 15-year-old village girl was linked to a suspected case of witchcraft where she was forced to breastfeed a 'frog' by her grandfather.

According to villagers close to the incident the teenager (name supplied) was living with her grandfather in Mansuma village, Cross Dete when she began showing signs of mental illness.

Her 78-year-old grandfather is alleged to have gone to Zambia where he acquired a charm which was supposed to make him rich.

"The charm which was in form of a frog had conditions of service such as finding a teenager to breastfeed it so the grandfather used her granddaughter until she became seriously ill before losing her mind. On hearing what had befallen her daughter, the teen's father, who is working in South Africa, sent word that she should be taken to a traditional healer in Lambo," said one villager who identified herself as MaNdlo.

The traditional healer, Jessy Nyathi was hired to treat the child of the ailment arising from the horrendous experience of suckling a frog.

It is said that sometime last week a self-proclaimed prophet operating in the area summoned the traditional healer and the teenager whom she cautioned for mixing Christianity with traditional healing rituals before telling her that she would get herself in trouble as the child was bewitched.

The prophet is alleged to have told a shocked congregation that the teen's grandfather was in possession of a frog which suckled on the child hence was responsible for the illness. He went on to warn the traditional healer against exorcising the child arguing that her issue of mixing healing methods would render her methods powerless.

"We heard about the missing child and though we are not sure of what caused it is suspected that she was being bewitched by her grandfather. We are surprised as the girl is so innocent and we have been seeing her here at the shops, it's a very unfortunate incident but I hear the matter has been referred to Chief Nekatambe," said a vegetable vendor at Chentali who refused to be named.

A few days after the revelations the girl reportedly disappeared and has not been seen for the past week with efforts to locate her at her grandfather's home in Mansuma Village coming to naught.

When the news crew visited Gogo Nyathi's homestead she was said to have gone looking for the child though no missing person report had been filed with the police yet.

Efforts to get a comment from the village head were fruitless as he was said to have travelled to Hwange. However, chief Nekatambe professed ignorance of the matter saying he was yet to be advised of the incident.

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