Initiation school horror spreads: Child feared dead in new case

News  Natal Witness (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa). Monday, 1 July 2002.


Boy feared dead in circumcision horror


Initiation school horror spreads

Spokeswoman Annaline Prinsloo said a 17-year-old escaped from the school because he discovered that the boy sleeping next to him was dead.

The boy claimed he had been kidnapped, assaulted and held at the school against his will.

Police and emergency services officials visited the school to investigate and found 16 initiates. Two of them had septic circumcision wounds while several others had pneumonia.

The escapee told the police that there were 18 boys at the school, including himself. Prinsloo said the police believe that one boy is missing. The dog unit will search the area today.

The children were treated by emergency services at the scene but the teachers denied the police permission to remove the initiates. The children also refused to leave.

Prinsloo said the school will be closed today and the children sent home.

The 17-year-old was taken to Heidelberg hospital and treated for light injuries before being sent home to Vereeniging.

Meanwhile, a sixth person has been arrested in connection with last week's deaths at two initiation schools in Ratanda in the Heidelberg area. Prinsloo said a sangoma was arrested on Friday while he was trying to flee to Newcastle.

He will appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate's Court today while five teachers, arrested last week, will appear in court for the second time on Wednesday. The five are charged with murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The two initiation schools were closed down after five boys died of double pneumonia, multiple injuries sustained from a blunt instrument and septic circumcisions. More than 50 boys were admitted to hospital.

By yesterday most of the boys had been released. Two initiates remained at the Heidelberg Hospital. One initiate was discharged from the Kopanong hospital and two remain there. Three initiates were still at Pholosong hospital.

All of them are expected to be discharged in the next couple of days.

In  External link Limpopo province, eight initiation schools were closed on Friday and a school owner was arrested in connection with the death of a boy. More than 70 children were also hospitalised.

Publish Date: 1 July 2002

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