A Zimbabwean woman was arrested in South Africa last week after she killed her newborn baby by drowning her in a bucket of boiling water.

29-year-old Wendy Tapiwa Chipo, from Rietfonten, committed the dastardly deed after her attempts to abort the pregnancy failed.

When the baby was born alive, Chipo allegedly drowned her in a 20 Litre bucket of boiling water. She then placed the body in a plastic baby and enlisted the help of her friend to dispose of the body.

Chipo and her friend buried the baby in a shallow grave in Sunnyway Village in Rietfontein, near where she stays.

She then swore her friend to secrecy. However, the friend was shaken up by the act and could not keep the incident secret. After battling with her conscience, the friend eventually reported the matter to the police. She took the law enforcement officials to the burial site, where the police managed to recover the body of the deceased baby.

The police subsequently arrested Chipo the next day. She appeared at the Brits Magistrates’ Court facing murder charges. When Chipo appeared in court, she dropped her bail application and was remanded in custody to May 14, after the prosecution asked for more time as they want to conduct further investigations.

Under Zimbabwean law, however, a woman who kills her baby within 6 months of giving birth is charged with infanticide and not murder. The law states that “the balance of her mind is disturbed as a result of giving birth to the child” and prescribes a sentence of nor more than 5 years. However, magistrates frequently give fewer years with some women even getting community service.

Recently, a 33-year-old Mutorashanga woman who made headlines after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy before digging a shallow pit in which she buried him alive, was sentenced to perform 210 hours of community service at a local government school.

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