South African boy attacked for body parts

A South African boy has died more than a week after assailants hacked off his hand, ear and penis in a savage attack police suspect may be linked to the "muti" trade in body parts for witchcraft.

Ten-year-old Sello Chokoe was searching for stray livestock in hills near his home in the northern Limpopo province when his attackers struck, hitting him over the head with a blunt weapon, slashing off parts of his body and leaving him for dead, police said after the attack in late July.

Chokoe survived and spent more than a week in hospital in critical condition before he died, SABC national television reported yesterday.

The head teacher at Chokoe's school told the station fellow pupils were preparing to hold a prayer session for his recovery when they heard of his death.

"Muti" murders, to obtain body parts for supposedly potent traditional cures and spells, happen on a regular basis in post-apartheid South Africa and often go unreported, police say.

Often killings are carried out to order to obtain specific body parts required for particular spells.