Eastern Cape police rescued an 81-year-old woman from a mob that had accused her of witchcraft. 

Police have described how an 81-year-old woman was stripped naked, tied with rope and assaulted in an open field in Mount Fletcher in the Eastern Cape last week after being accused of witchcraft.

Police spokesperson Brig Tembinkosi Kinana said six people had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Kinana said police had been summoned to the scene by a concerned community member. Police arrived with municipality officials, traditional leaders and officials from the social development department and tried to rescue the elderly woman from the mob.

“Eventually, the elderly woman was taken away from the mob and to a place of safety. Police opened cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and imputing witchcraft. They arrested six suspects aged between 30 and 40. All six suspects remain in police custody and are expected back in court on June 22 in Mount Fletcher for formal bail applications,” said Kinana.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga expressed concern, saying the youths’ morals had been eroded by social evils and a lack of education into community values.

“Young men such as these are supposed to be the protectors of the elderly rather than being violent against them. They are expected to be more enlightened to know chasing elderly people on untested and unsubstantiated allegations of witchcraft carries with it serious repercussions,” said Ntshinga.

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