Initiation hell: 5 dead, 18 live to tell tale

News  South African Press Association (Johannesburg). Tuesday, 25 June 2002.


Circumcision Hell, 5 dead, 18 live to tell the tale

Five boys aged between 13 and 18 were believed to have been murdered during a traditional initiation process near Heidelberg, Gauteng's East Rand police said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Annaline Prinsloo said four teachers at the initiation school were taken in for questioning on Tuesday afternoon.

Another 18 boys were admitted to hospital after suffering from complications as a result of botched circumcisions. They had also been beaten up.

Prinsloo said two of the boys were in serious conditions while the others were stable.


These children are in severe shock

These children are in severe shock, their genital areas are infected, they have bruises all over their bodies and have been out in the cold without any clothes, Prinsloo said.

The first boy, found in the mountainous Ratanda area on Monday evening, died on his way to hospital. On Tuesday morning, local residents informed the police of four more bodies in the area.

A police helicopter collected the bodies and it was established that about 20 more boys who participated in the ceremony had gone missing. They later found the 18 boys hiding in the area.

The group of Sotho boys were from Orange Grove, north-eastern Johannesburg, and had been in Ratanda since the beginning of June.

Post mortems would be conducted to establish the cause of death of the five boys. The results are expected to be available before Friday.

Asked whether the police were still investigating the possibility that the children had been murdered, Prinsloo said: Definitely.

She said health authorities indicated that the initiation school would be closed down.

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