As millions of people around the world are celebrating Christmas, two families whose loved ones’ graves were dug up and body parts stolen have nothing to celebrate.

The graves were allegedly dug up by five men, including two traditional healers, to make muti for ritual purposes.

The two families have been waiting for police to return some of the remains which were left in the graves so that they conduct the reburial and move on with their lives.

Police exhumed the graves to verify allegations that they were tampered with and body parts stolen.

Indeed, police found two graves were dug up and some body parts were harvested.

The Phundulu family is the hardest hit. The grave of Alpheus Phundulu was found empty with the remains stolen while the grave of Alpheus’s mother Grace was found intact with all the remains.

Her remains have since been taken to laboratory for further examination.

Family spokesperson Fhatuwani Phundulu says the family thought by now they would have at least received the remains of their grandmother for reburial but all in vain.

‘We are not satisfied even though it’s Christmas time. Our hope is with government. We are waiting for them to give us the remains. It’s painful but we cannot take the law into our hands , we will wait for them to finalise their investigations.”

Found without a head

The Vhudzikadzika family is still shocked that the body of Alpheus Vhudzikadzika who was buried last year was found without a head.

They too are praying that the head be found and given back to the family for the reburial.

Vhudzikadzika’s widow, Tshinakaho, says it hurts to know that the body of her husband is lying in the mortuary without a head.

“We are still hurt because the skull is not yet found. We thought by Christmas time we would have been given the remains, but we are still waiting. We thought they will give us the remains before Christmas holiday celebrations for us to conduct the reburial even if they are unable to find the head.”

Tshitavha community spokesperson David Legunuba says they are consoled by the fact that five men who were arrested for the alleged crime have been denied bail by the Makuya periodical court.

“We, the community of Tshitavha Sambadou, are still traumatised especially when we visit the cemetery to see that the exhumed graves are still open. We are not celebrating Christmas holidays, but we are pleased that the suspects were denied bail. We are waiting for government to return the remains.”

Police have promised that the remains which are kept at a laboratory will be handed back to the families after investigations have been finalised.

Meanwhile, the case against the suspects arrested for allegedly tampering with the graves will be heard at the Makuya Periodical Magistrate’s court on January 31.