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Traditional healer gets 8 yrs IHL for causing bodily injury to babies in witchcraft ritual

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Thyolo Second Grade Magistrate, Lameck Mkwapatira has sentenced a traditional healer to eight years imprisoned with hard labour for grievously wounding two 10-month-old babies on their buttocks when he alleged to have been cleansing them from witchcraft.

Mkwapatira convicted and sentenced Frank Josamu, 35, who was arrested on February 21 for wounding the children in witchcraft cleansing which ended in the babies sustaining second degree burns that covered 18 percent of their total body surface area which includes the entire bums.

Police Prosecutor, Inspector Lloyd Kachotsa told the court that the accused deserved a custodial sentence due to the permanent scars inflicted on the unsuspecting children and for not adhering to messages carried on the extensive advocacy on the issues of witchcraft.

Kachotsa said the culprit deserved a stiffer sentence because the children are in great pain and he also tendered a medical report which disclosed that the children are still suffering in hospital because the wounds are also getting infected with stools when they are defecating.

However, Josamu who pleaded guilty to the offence told the court to be lenient with him claiming he did not choose to cleanse the people, but was forced by their insistence and that he looks after orphans and his children who will suffer if he is imprisoned.

When passing the 8 year sentence, Mkwapatira said the convict should spend time in custody for wounding innocent souls who were not aware of what is happening and did not deny as they cannot make decisions of their own. He added that the wounds have inflicted permanent scars on their bodies and it is not certain if they will be potent in future.

He slapped him with 8 years for causing harm to each child, but the sentences will run concurrently .

In the cleansing, the traditional healer brought the people from Ntholola Village who comprised 10 children aged between 10 months and 4 years to be exorcized by sitting steaming their buttocks.

Josamu hails from Namagoya Village, Sub T/A Nanseta in Thyolo.

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