JOHANNESBURG: In a brutal incident, a young promising South African Indian intellectually-impaired cricketer has been beheaded in a ritual sacrifice, prompting police to start a probe and arrest three persons including his best friend in connection with the murder.
Nawaz Khan, 23, was allegedly lured to a forest near his home by his best friend Thandowakhe Duma, 21 and a traditional healer to a forest near his home, where he was attacked with a bush knife and beheaded, police said.
His friend Duma was charged with murder after he led the police team to the site of the head at the weekend after confessing that a traditional healer had requested him to bring along a human head to address problems that he (the friend) was facing.
Police also lauded the actions of the community at a housing settlement in the coastal town of Umzinto, who helped nab the traditional healer after he went on the run following the investigation.
Two more people were arrested after being found in possession of Khan's mobile phones, which they claimed they had purchased from his alleged killers.
Khan was named Cricket South Africa's award for the intellectually impaired Cricketer of the Year in 2013 and lived for the sport, his mother, Zakia Khan said.
"He was thrilled when he received his award from his ideal, Hashim Amla, calling it the happiest day of his life," said the mother, adding that her son could not read or write but had excelled in sport despite being mocked about his disability.
Albert Warnick, spokesman for the South Africa Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired, told media here that Khan had been looking forward to going overseas with his cricket team.
Winston Stubbs, former national cricket convener and team manager, said Khan was a very disciplined, committed wicketkeeper and batsman who inspired other cricketers with intellectual or physical impairment.