Men kill circumcision nurse

News  Australian (Sydney). Thursday, 12 January 2006.

A GROUP of young South African men taking part in coming of age rituals due to include circumcision turned on their male nurse and killed him, an official said today.

Sizwe Kupelo of the Eastern Cape provincial health department said the men aged 18 to 25 beat the man to death with sticks at the site of their initiation ceremonies in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

He was attacked by about 20 initiates who assaulted him, and he later died, Mr Kupelo said.

He said the attack followed complaints by the men that they were not being properly looked after during their initiation ceremonies, but did not elaborate.

The nurse had been in charge of caring for the men ahead of their circumcision.

No arrests had been made yet, Mr Kupelo said.

A number of South African tribes including the Ndebele, Sotho and Xhosa send teenaged boys and young men into the bush for up to eight weeks to learn their tribe's cultural and moral values and undergo coming of age ceremonies including circumcision.

In recent years the practice of circumcision has come under scrutiny as dozens of boys have been accidentally killed or mutilated by amateur elders who have seized on the tradition as a way to make money.

Mr Kupelo said in the Eastern Cape at least 10 young men had died during the current initiation period, which began in December.

Chairman of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, condemned the attack, which he said showed there were serious problems around initiations.

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