“Kwano ba a go nyumba,”say residents about ritual murders
Talk to anyone in Rakops or nearby villages such as Mopipi and Toromoja, the response is the same.
Mo Rakops ba a go nyumba. (Loosely translated to mean in Rakops they kill you for rituals).
The term “nyumba’ describes the act of harvesting parts of a dead animal or cow, and is popular amongst herdboys.
In a village where for many years has been the epicentre of suspected ritual killings, the phenomenon reached its peak on 15th August 2019 when 96-year-old village royal, Lepang Segaise went missing only to be found 40 days later burnt to ashes in his car.
The chiefs’ family were adamant that the royal was abducted and shot before being set on fire.
The family believed well resourced high ranking officials with the means to keep hostage a person for a month and their car away from the public eye were behind Segaise’s abduction and subsequent murder.
Now two years since the death of Kgosi Segaise, Rakops is back in the news following the disappearance of 43-year-old Moses Mosarwa who was last seen on August, 28th.
According to his younger brother Opelo Hyancith Moswara, 38, Moses arrived in Rakops on Thursday 26th, for his uncle’s burial on Saturday.
He proceeded to his brother’s place where he spent two nights (Thursday and Friday).
“I last saw him on Saturday during the day, and when he didn’t show up at the house that evening I wasn’t worried. I simply thought he spent the night at our mother’s place,” said a distraught Mosarwa.
The grief stricken brother said it was only the next morning that he began to worry when Moses did not show up to prepare for the family meeting planned for that morning.
“His luggage was in my house so I expected him to show up as we had a planned meeting,” he said.
Worried, Mosarwa called his brother only to be met by a voice mail. He then walked a few meters across the road to his mother house to further inquire about his brother’s whereabouts.
It was here that he learnt from one of his uncles that Moses’ mobile phone has been off since Saturday.
“Neighbours say they last saw him walking towards the river on Saturday,” said Mosarwa.
Now 20 days later after police raked the river bank using a chopper and scuba divers, Moswara has simply vanished without a trace.
“We’ve cults in this village who believe human flesh gives them certain powers. I’d not be surprised if my brother turns out to be another victim of a ritual murder. This is what the village has become popular for,” Mosarwa said in resignation.
“People have been mysteriously disappearing and some later found with their body parts missing,” he said.
Mosarwa’s is the third person to go missing this year. In January this year, a Human Resource Manager at Rakops Hospital Obakeng Badubi also mysteriously disappeared.
The Thabala native is yet to be found.
“Another person was found dumped in a ditch with body parts missing, and luckily for this murder one suspect was arrested,” he said.
Rakops Police Station Commander Superintendent, Thito Freeman said in the last six years (2015-2021) 15 people were reported missing in Rakops,
“12 people were found, with one death while three are still missing,” he said.
In spite of these reassuring figures from the police, the belief by residents is that ritual killings are rife Rakops.