A BULAWAYO woman kidnapped a five-year-old girl at Renkini Long Distance Bus Terminus and held her hostage for 10 days at her Mahatshula residence where she beat the toddler daily for refusing to call her “mama” and rejecting a new name.
The toddler, who stays with her grandparents at Nguboyenja suburb, was lured by her kidnapper who promised her money once they got to Mahatshula, while she was left unattended at the terminus.
This came to light when Lethu Nkomo from Mahatshula suburb appeared in court facing a charge of kidnaping. She was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail.
Nkomo told the court that she kidnapped the girl so that she could play with her 10-month-old baby. However, it was established that she does not have any children of her own.
She appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Mark Dzira.
In an interview, the girl’s grandfather, Mr Ephraim Mukanga, said they consulted about eight prophets when their grandchild disappeared. He also revealed that when the girl was found, she had bruises on her arms.
“When our girl disappeared we reported the matter to Mzilikazi Police Station and they told us to come back after 24 hours. We went around the whole of Nguboyenja and Renkini looking for her. After a day we went back to the police and they told us to come back after 48 hours; we could not wait for that so we reported the matter to Drill Hall, Central and Nguboyenja police stations.
“The police told us the same thing so we decided to consult prophets, the white garments from the apostolic sect.
About eight of them told us the same thing that our child was alive and we will find her soon. We then decided to visit one of the prophets at Ntabazinduna whom I believe is the one who made us find our girl; we spent the whole day at his house doing apostolic rituals and praying. The prophet told us that our child was far but we will find her by Sunday,” he said.
Mr Mukanga said after almost giving up on the search, they were approached by a Good Samaritan who claimed he knew where their grandchild was.
“After that we continued to search for our child everywhere and asking people. Then around 3pm we went back to our house and a man suddenly appeared from Renkini. The man said he heard that our child is missing and he had once seen a girl who looks like her at his friend’s place. I was shocked and could not believe my ears. The man recognised the girl from the newspaper.
He then took us to Mahatshula where the girl was and we set a plan on how to get in the house. We sent our young boy who pretended to be thirsty and asked for water.
“As he was drinking water it started raining and Nkomo sent the girl to get the blankets on the washing line. We saw our girl but she was naked and we immediately called the police to intervene.
Nkomo and her husband were alerted by the young girl that she knew the boy who had asked for water to drink so they made her wear a big hat which covered her face and they ran away. We found them by the taxi rank about to board and they were arrested,” he said.
The grandfather said the girl had bruises on her hands and she was beaten because she refused to change her name and to call Nkomo “mama” (mother). He also said the girl was locked up in a room where she stayed all day long and could only use a bucket to relieve herself.
Prosecuting, Mr Tinashe Dzipe said on 27 November 2015 between 9am and 1pm the victim was picking up empty drink plastic containers with two others.