The young man, who hailed from Inshala village, Lwindi ward in Mbeya region, was hacked to death by unknown people and had his facial skin removed.
Mbeya Regional Police Commander (RPC) Urlich Matei confirmed the incident, saying already a number of people were in police hands for interrogation.
According to eyes witness reports, the heart was also removed from the body and left behind a bridge in a plastic bag.
An eye witness, John Igambe, a resident of the village said this was a second incident to have taken place in the family of the deceased, which was being associated with witchcraft.
“Most residents in the village are now planning to relocate from the village for fear of being the next victims,” he said.
Ayoub Ngonepo, the chairman of Inshala village, said the mother of the deceased known as Lydia Solomon rushed to him to inform him about the whereabouts of his son on January 6, this month, only to discover later that her son had been killed by unknown people.
He said the police in the region later informed them about the body of an unknown young man, which they when to identify and discovered it to be the woman’s son.
“The body had already started to decompose by the time we found and some body parts were missing,” he said.
At least 6 people are being held by the police in connection with the killing, according to the village chairman.
The deceased’s grandfather, Joseph Mwashiwawa, said after he returned home from the police station for interrogation he found his wife had also passed away due to shock.
The village chief executive officer Alex Chawe said this was the second incident to happen in the family after the first one in 2017 in which the young brother of the deceased, Farao Wilson (13), was also got killed by unknown people before burying the body in the sand.
Yohana Mbwafu, a councilor in the area, said such incidents were giving the village a bad image, requesting elders to sit together and stop the incidents.
In February, last year, an old woman (75), Tuntinala Tunyepa, was killed and her body skinned by an unknown assailant in Mbozi district in the region.
Human skin appears to be a most sought after item by ritual killers in the region as in the early 2000s, there were widespread cases of people being killed and skinned in Mbeya Region.
Investigation by the media and police revealed that there was high demand for human skin in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa where it fetched from $2,400 to $9,600, depending on the age of the victim.