By Freedom Mupanedemo
A satanism scare has gripped Mkoba suburb in Gweru after a 47-year-old man died, three days after two orphaned children under his custody went hysterical and allegedly foretold his death.
As Benjamin Mandigo’s body lay at Gweru Provincial Hospital Mortuary yesterday, following his death on Sunday, panic-stricken family members took the children — a girl (10) and her brother (13) — for a lengthy cleansing ceremony at a popular faith healer in Mkoba 5.
There, this writer caught up with the proceedings. The cleansing ceremony came after the girl allegedly revealed that she was initiated into Satanism a few years back and said eight more family members would die within a few days.
“I don’t really know what happens to me, but at times we go under the sea and there we discuss our issues under which we agree on who is our next target. So far we have killed over 100 people since we were initiated into Satanism a few years ago. I was made the queen of this area,” narrated the girl.
In an interview, family spokesperson Mr Justice Mandigo said the family was in a panic mode and every member scared of losing his or her own life.
“We have a serious case with us here. The children were under the upkeep of Mandigo following the death of their parents. Recently, they started behaving strangely and the matter got worse on Sunday when they fell into trances and started threatening to kill their uncle.
“We tried to calm them down, but we couldn’t as they would threaten us with death while claiming to be Satanists,” said a dejected Mr Mandigo, the young brother to the deceased.
He said the family had to call some neighbours and pastors from various churches to come and try to help them out when the hysteria struck and that not even the prayers could help calm the situation.
“On Sunday afternoon, as if to confirm the threats, Benjamin started behaving strangely and shouting for help while saying he was being attacked by unseen things.
“While in that state, Benjamin grabbed a kitchen knife and tried to stab himself in the abdomen, but we wrestled it away. He then collapsed and died. But just before he died, he pleaded with the girl, whom he accused of being responsible for his death,” said Mr Mandigo.
He said the girl went on to list eight relatives whom she alleged were on death row.
“This is why you see us here, we are all in panic mode, the children say they are Satanists and every now and then they go to their kingdom to gather and discuss their next meal. There are eight of us who are on the list,” he said.
Meanwhile, witnesses yesterday told chilling incidences of the two “possessed” children being beaten and tortured to confess to witchcraft. This writer noticed visible bruises and scars, especially on the girl’s body. The girl is accused of being the leader.
“I think police and organisations that deal with children’s issues should help these little ones out. Once they get to their normal senses, the relatives take turns to assault them while grilling them as to reveal their source.
“In the end they have said several conflicting statements and I think it’s not fair to do that to them because they don’t do these things in their normal senses,” said a witness who is also a neighbour to the afflicted family members.
Last Tuesday, residents of Mkoba thronged the now deceased’s house when the kids were said to have started manifesting. Police were called to disperse the gathered crowd. The Chronicle