A BIRD in Kapiri Mposhi on Sunday attempted to snatch a three-month-old baby from an eight-year-old boy who was left to take care of it.
The incident happened around 14:00 hours in Luchi North at the house of 94-year-old Jessy Nalungwe, the baby’s grandmother.
Central Province Commissioner of Police Joel Njase and father of the child, Collins Sikasote, confirmed the incident in separate interviews yesterday.
Mr Sikasote said he did not know whether the bird which looked like an owl was a natural one or it was being used for witchcraft. “Right now I am shaken and confused. I don’t know what to say on this issue. Otherwise it’s only God who knows what is happening to my family,” he said. And Lawrence Sichimba, the community chairman in TAZARA township who witnessed the incident, said Sara Namfukwe left her baby with her nephew as she took clothes into the house.
Mr Sichimba said while he was going for burial with other mourners, he saw a crowd of people at Ms Nalungwe’s house, where Ms Namfukwe went after delivering the baby. “When we rushed there to see what was happening, we found her holding the bird by the neck and crying that ‘this bird wanted to take my son away’,” he said.
Mr Sichimba said according to the boy who was with the baby, there was a hen near where the two sat. He said when the boy saw the bird getting closer to them, he abandoned the baby and ran into the house.
Mr Sichimba said when Ms Namfukwe got out of the house, she found the bird on top of the baby and quickly grabbed it by its neck.
And as people were arguing about what to do with the bird, Ms Nalungwe got anointing oil and sprinkled it on the bird but some people got suspicious, accused her of being a witch and started beating her.
The old woman was only rescued by ‘Good Samaritans’. Suspicious residents later hit the bird with hoes and burnt it. And Mr Njase said Ms Namfukwe reported to police that the bird attempted to snatch her son. “Her son was left with scratches on the face,” he said. Mr Njase said the baby was taken to hospital for medical examination