By Leonard Ncube
Form 2 boys who were allegedly severely tortured by Form Four pupils at Marist Brothers’ Secondary School in Dete were allegedly forced to drink water from the toilet bowl by their drunk attackers.
It has emerged that more than 30 Form Two boys were beaten up on Friday last week by 16 Form Four bullies who accused them of stealing their foodstuffs.
The alleged torture at a Form Four hostel referred to by students as the ‘Palace’, lasted for about five hours between 10PM and 2AM.
The Chronicle established that 23 of the victims sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Two boys were reportedly operated on the groin and abdomen, while some had neck, arm, fingers and rib fractures after being kicked and hit with an assortment of weapons.
One boy was injured on an eye while another lost front teeth as a result of the assault.
The boys were also allegedly forced to eat bath soap and bark like dogs as well as pull trunks.
The school’s headmaster, Brother Jacob, yesterday confirmed that the disciplinary hearings took place on Thursday but referred questions to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
Matabeleland North acting Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said the action to be taken would be known after full investigations.
“We advised the school to carry out investigations. They brought parents for hearings on Thursday and we are waiting for the report for a way forward. The action to be taken will depend on the gravity of individual cases. Then the school will apply whether to have them excluded or expelled depending on findings and gravity which is why disciplinary hearings are done,” he said.
The Chronicle is reliably informed that the 16 boys were further suspended for eight days pending medical reports on the victims. They were allegedly drunk after consuming a fermented powdered cereal when they committed the offences last week.
Pupils reportedly mix the cereals with brown sugar and yeast and leave the mixture to ferment in the sun, creating a potent alcoholic brew which the pupils drink right under the noses of school authorities.
Fourteen of the victims were yesterday accompanied by their parents to St Patrick’s Hospital in Hwange and six to a private hospital in Victoria Falls for medical check-ups.
Some parents who spoke to The Chronicle in separate interviews said the boys were traumatised and not willing to go back to school.
“Our children were forced to drink water mixed with urine which was fetched from the toilet bowls. We don’t know if that’s just urine or our children have been initiated into Satanism,” said an angry parent.
Another parent said: “If those bullies are allowed back to the school, I will withdraw my child because I can’t pay $460 to have him killed. We can’t allow those bullies back to the school because our children are traumatised and can’t face their attackers again. The school should be answerable because we are even bearing costs of medication.”
It is alleged that the bullies rounded up the Form Two boys and dragged them to the ‘Palace’. They would switch off the lights and torture them in darkness allegedly using belts, fists and sticks.
“They would switch on the lights and release those who would be bleeding while the torture continued on the rest until they also bled. The last victim was released at around 2AM after he collapsed and they dumped him on his bed until he was helped to get up in the morning.
“The boys were rammed onto the walls, kicked, punched and hit with sticks. They were also yoked together like a span of oxen while others were whipped with waist belts and forced to wash clothes. One boy was choked until he fainted. People might think we are exaggerating but this is what happened,” added another parent.
The Chronicle heard that the Form Four boys have pending disciplinary cases at the school after they allegedly sneaked out of school to go on a beer binge last year before entering a girls’ hostel at night where they stole an assortment of underwear.
They also allegedly once attacked a boarding master and a teacher while some prefects were threatened with death last week when they tried to rescue the victims. The Chronicle