Spiritual leader drowns in Lepelle river, allegedly trying to retrieve follower’s body

Spiritual leader drowns while apparently trying to retrieve follower’s body

A 30-year-old spiritual healer Mopipi Abraham Phiri drowned in the Lepelle river while apparently trying to retrieve the body of a 12-year-old boy who was swept away by the same river over the festive season.

Mopipi Abraham Phiri
Image courtesy: SAPS

It is alleged Phiri told the community of Machakaneng village that the boy was still alive and that he needed R13 000 to retrieve him from the river.


Limpopo police spokesperson, Motlafela Mojapelo says the community allegedly agreed to give him R10 000, but only after he brought back the child.


Mojapelo adds that on Friday afternoon, Phiri got into the river and was presumed drowned as he never resurfaced.


“The police were then called, and the search-and-rescue team was activated. 


“His body was today recovered when it emerged from the shallow waters on the riverbanks, several kilometres from where he got into the water,” he said. 


Mojapelo adds the search for the 12-year-old boy is continuing.


“The human remains that were found by a fisherman in the same river on Sunday 29 December 2019 are still the subject of DNA examination.”


The police have opened an inquest docket and investigations are continuing.

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