THE STAR, Johannesburg, Thursday, 26 June 2008.

Eight initiates taken to hospital

26 June 2008, 13:13

Eight initiates have been taken to Mthatha General Hospital after they were found trapped in a shack in the Qokolweni Village outside Mthatha, the Eastern Cape health department said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said police and health officials had raided the initiation school in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"They found 76 boys trapped in crowded and unhealthy conditions in a shack and two small rondavels. Eight of the boys have been taken to hospital," said Kupelo.

One of the boys was in a critical condition with sceptic wounds and was dehydrated, said Kupelo.

"Another boy's private parts did not have blood and the six others are being treated for sceptic wounds," he said.

He said the traditional surgeon was warned to improve the living conditions of the initiates.

Kupelo said a raid was currently being conducted in the Libode area, following reports of an illegal initiation school operating there.

Several traditional surgeons were being sought by police for operating illegally.

At least nine initiates have died since the beginning of the annual winter circumcision season.

Police were not immediately available for comment. - Sapa

(File created 18 July 2008)