Published: January 28, 2019 By: Bukola Adebayo – CNN
Ten children kidnapped in Tanzania have been found dead with their body parts mutilated, authorities told CNN on Monday.
Tanzania’s deputy health minister Faustine Ndugulile said all 10 children had been missing since December in Njombe district, southwest Tanzania. Their bodies were discovered last week after police launched a search operation in the area.
“So far, we have found 10 bodies, and most of their private parts and teeth had been removed,” Ndugulile said. “These murders are linked to witchcraft practices because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get these human parts for money rituals,” he added. The children, some as young as seven, were kidnapped from their homes last month.
Many children have been reported missing by their parents in the community since December, according to Ndugulile, who said the health ministry was also investigating the wave of killings. “We want to identify the perpetrators, but our focus is to educate the traditional practitioners in the area quickly and those in surrounding communities on the need to stop these acts,” Ndugulile told CNN.
The Deputy health minister told CNN that these killings are not linked albino ritual murders which are prevalent in Tanzania and other parts of east Africa. “These murders are not linked to albino killings,” he said. “But it is very sad because they are children and they don’t deserve to be used like this,” Ndugulile said.
Tanzania has one of the highest rates of albinism in the world, at one in 1,500 people.
Despite its prevalence, there’s still a lack of education and tolerance and albinos are regularly killed for their bones and organs, which are sold to witch doctors for “charms and magical potions”, according to Amnesty International.
Residents of Monkey Hill in Sekondi-Takoradi, the Western Regional capital, have been gripped with fear following the mysterious death of a 16-year-old boy in the area.
The lifeless body of Kweku Gyamerah, a final-year student of Bishop Essuah Junior High School (JHS) in Takoradi, was found in a forest reserve at Monkey Hill close to the Paa Grant Roundabout in Takoradi yesterday.
According to some residents, there were some marks on the body, which suggested that his blood might have been drained for ritual purposes.
“We also saw maggots in his nose and mouth. Also, there were bruises all over his body and parts of his body appeared mutilated,” a resident alleged.
According to Fredrick Gyamerah, father of the deceased, his son was staying with his aunt at New Site M35, near Takoradi but was reported missing on Monday, January 21, 2019 at about 8pm.
Distress calls were made to some radio stations in Takoradi about a decomposed body in the forest reserve while the police were informed later.
The police subsequently went to the scene and conveyed the decomposed body to the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital morgue in Sekondi.
Meanwhile, the police have launched investigations into the case.
Nino Mbatha and Lungisani Magubane sentenced to life for murder of woman
Zanele Hlatshwayo said to have been raped and murdered as part of ritual killing
Traditional ‘healer’ Mbatha said cannibalism would bring Magubane good luck
Members of small community of Esigodlweni dug up graves to give to Mbatha
Two cannibals, one of which was found carrying a bag with a human hand and a leg inside, have been jailed for life in South Africa.
One of the cannibals told officers when he turned himself into police that he was ‘tired of eating human flesh’.
Nino Mbatha, 33, and Lungisani Magubane, 32, were jailed for life today for the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo.
Mbatha, said to be a ‘traditional healer’, was arrested after handing himself in at a police station in Estcourt, a town in KwaZulu-Natal province last year.
He was carrying a bag containing a human leg and a hand, telling officers he was ‘tired of eating human flesh’.
Police refused to believe his claims until he took officers to a house where more body parts were found.
Sitting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court, judge Peter Olsen, said the pair were guilty of ‘the most heinous crime’, the Witness newspaper said.
The court heard that Ms Hlatshwayo had been beheaded by Mbatha who, with the help of Magubane, removed her internal organs, hands and feet in order to gain luck through ‘muthi’ – a term for traditional medicine in parts of southern Africa.
Mbatha was said to have instructed Magubane to eat the 24-year-old woman’s flesh for ‘good luck’, before claiming he was forced into cannibalism.
At earlier hearings in Estcourt, angry residents gathered outside the courthouse to protest against the grisly murder.
South Africa has no direct law against cannibalism, but mutilating a corpse and being in possession of human tissue are criminal offences.
A third man was acquitted today, with seven people initially arrested during the investigation.
A fourth man arrested and charged, Sithembiso Sithole, 31, died in prison after apparently killing himself while awaiting trial.
The trio of men were arrested after Mbatha went to police and more remains were found in a nearby house, leading to the discovery of a woman’s mutilated body, who was also said to have been raped.
After a meeting was held in the village of Esigodlweni, home to just 971 people, it emerged almost a third of the population had been digging up graves or eating residents.
In the aftermath of the arrests, villagers gathered in the community hall allegedly admitted tasting human flesh.
Two of the men initially arrested were said to be witch doctors, or traditional healers, and a third was on parole from jail at the time of the killing.
Community members were also said to have dug up graves under the orders of Mbatha to give him the bones.
When police were investigating officers discovered eight ears in a pot, local councillor Mthembeni Majola told the media.
People with albinism in some African countries are particularly at risk of ‘muti’ killings due to the belief held by some that their body parts impart power and health to those who eat them.
A man Durban was found with a human head in his backpack last July, as he was thought to be attempting to sell the head to a witch doctor.
On numerous occasions Liberian leaders have publicly denounced the ritual murders that take place in the country. We can mention President William Tolbert (1971-1980), Gyude Bryant (Chair of the Transitional Government after the Second Civil War, 2003-2006) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006-2018). The fact that the presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor were not so outspoken on this subject, certainly not in public, has special reasons……..
The article below on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s warning and reaction does not constitute the first and only time that she denounced the phenomenon of ritualistic killings in her country. More on it at a later stage. (Webmaster FVDK)
Published: November 20, 2015 By: The Guardian
Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, vowed on Thursday to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the west African country as it seeks to emerge from the shadow of an Ebola epidemic.
In some areas of central Africa, body parts are prized for their supernatural powers and are used in black magic ceremonies. Local media have reported at least 10 related murders in Liberia in the past few months. (Italics added by the webmaster, FVDK).
Johnson Sirleaf said in a speech: “We are witnessing the rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery in the country, thus threatening our security.”
“I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control.”
It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising and Johnson Sirleaf offered no explanation. Some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Johnson Sirleaf when her final term expires in 2017 are using black magic to boost their chances.
Liberia was declared Ebola-free for the second time in September after reporting more than 4,800 deaths but its economy is struggling to recover.
Johnson Sirleaf said in the same speech she would seek to boost power supply and access to electricity and build additional infrastructure in the last two years of her term.
As I continue to say, both on this site and on my website Liberia Past and Present, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. Originally a cultural practice, nowadays it is closely linked to politics, elections and the greed for (more) wealth and power. At this particular moment in time it is not known what the background and linkages are of the ritualistic killings in Sinoe County disclosed here by County Attorney Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah. As soon as we learn more about these cases we will come back with the relevant news. (FVDK)
County Attorney for Sinoe Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah has disclosed that more women have been caught for ritualistic killings in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.
Speaking to a team of journalists at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 24 January, Cllr. Karnuah disclosed that cases of ritualistic killings have topped the docket.
He narrates that six out of 20 women were arrested by police officers, charged and placed behind bars for the alleged crime of ritualistic killings.
Cllr. Karnuah tells the interview that during the police raid, the key perpetrator was arrested, but she was very boastful in her utterances, noting that the matter would end up nowhere.
According to Cllr. Karnuah, the issue of ritualistic killing is said to be taking place in January this year in the district of Numorpor which has its own superintendent and other county officials.
According to him, one of the ritualistic killing incidents took place when the mother of a little boy left him on the farm to go out to fetch some pepper, bitter balls and other food substances for cooking.
He says upon the lady’s arrival, she realized that her son was missing.
Cllr. Karnuah explains that after days of searching without a trace of the missing boy, his father decided to use the help of a herbalist.
The lawyer says upon the father’s return, his wife was said to be part of the crime.
The county attorney says the mother made confession that she was part of the devilish club and it was now time for her to give her own son as a share of her sacrifice. But he says the lady escaped along with three other women who also confessed to be witchcrafts.
He notes that while the women were in the bush, they were pursued by some men in the community who caught and stripped them naked and gang raped them until one of the ladies identified as Wallet Nyenweh was allegedly killed in the process.
The lawyer narrates that during the trial, he ordered the body of the dead woman exhumed in other to prove the alleged gang rape which was said to have caused her death.
Three persons have been arrested for the murder of a taxi driver at Kasoa in the Central Region.
Police officers on night patrol duty first picked up Steven Aidoo alias Kwesi Mensah around 1 am on Tuesday.
Narrating the incident to Citi News, the Central Regional Correspondent Calvis Tetteh, DSP Irene Oppong the Central Regional Police Public Relations Officer explained that upon arresting Steven Aidoo, they found blood spots in the taxicab and confronted him.
He however explained that he had picked up one passenger from Awutu Bereku who had a slaughtered pig.
“He told the Police that he picked up a passenger with a slaughtered pig the reason for the blood stains in the car” DSP Irene Oppong said.
Two wrappers suspected to contain Indian hemp were also found in the car which he claimed ownership of.
“Further interrogation by the Divisional Commander forced the suspect to confess to committing the crime” the Police PRO added.
Steven Aidoo then confessed to killing Richard Ayivi, the owner of the taxi, at Gomoa Kweikrom for ritual purposes and dumping his body in a bush nearby.
The Divisional Commander led a team of investigators together with the suspect to a spot in between Kweikrom and Bonsuoku where he pointed out the crime scene to the Police.
The body of 25-year-old Richard Ayiyi, the taxi owner, was found lying in the bush.
“The body was found in a bad state with both arms and legs tied to a rope” DSP Irene Oppong explained.
The Police PRO added that the suspect mentioned Yaw Obeng and Jackson Kodjo Abeka alias Kodjo as his accomplices.
“They [the accompliceses] were also picked up by Police at Gomoa Budumburam and Senya Bereku.”
The body of the deceased has since been deposited at the Police Hospital morgue pending an autopsy while the suspects are being processed for court.
Osun State Police command has paraded two suspected serial killers, Dauda Amusat and Kabiru Dudupariola, following their arrest on December 28, 2018, in Ifon.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, alleged that the duo murdered a 42-year-old rice seller, Sanusi Isiaka, on May 14, 2017, near Slava Construction Company along Iwo Road, Osogbo and chopped off his head for ritual purpose.
The suspects alleged that another businessman, Yekini Ayinde aka Abija, currently at large, gave them the contract to kill the deceased and paid them N200,000 for the assignment.
Isiaka had supplied bags of rice to Abija, who didn’t want to pay for the goods after selling them, hence his contract to the suspects to kill him.
Recounting how they killed the rice seller, Amusat said: “When we got to the bush, Abija told the driver to stop and he gave us a sign. We quickly overpowered Isiaka and tied him with a rope.
Kabiru wanted to kill him with his gun but we later decided to use a knife to cut his throat. After killing him, I remembered that I needed a human head for money ritual and I quickly removed his head.
I was roasting the head and preparing other items needed for the ritual when some policemen came. I managed to escape that day. I ran away from Ifon but they eventually apprehended me on December 28, 2018.”
David Wroe wrote an astonishing article on child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or Congo-Kinshasa, as it is also called (to distinguish it from its neigbour, Congo-Brazzaville). As the author describes, these youngsters ‘were tricked into fighting, forced to perform brutal rituals, and killed by the thousand in battle.’ Unfortunately, this is not unique for the DRC.
‘Meet the child soldiers who have helped fuel the world’s longest running conflict.’
We will not reproduce here the entire article, which is highly recommended literature, but will just focus on the phenomenon which is the focus of the current website: superstition, ritualistic killings and the absence of the rule of law. (webmaster FVDK)
Magic, murder and the lost boys of Congo’s long war
Published: December 23, 2018 By: David Wroe
At night, the boys of Congo’s children’s militia would take the heads of the soldiers they had killed and place them in a ritual circle around the campfire.
Then they would mock them.
Belittling the heads of their enemies made boys such as 15-year-old Victor* feel powerful and brave.
He was part of a group of youngsters who brought down a government soldier one night in March last year in the city of Kananga in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They let him shoot until his rifle ran out of bullets, then they charged him with machetes, sharpened sticks and garden hoes. Victor says he was given the job of cutting the dead soldier’s head off.
“The commander of the camp said I had caught someone who was very strong. And when we caught him he was no longer very strong and they started laughing at the soldier, saying, ‘Show us now how strong you are,’” Victor recalls.
What they did next cranked up their courage up to a frenzy.
The boys rolled the head into the embers of the “Tshiota”, the holy campfire. After the man’s skull had burned, the commander made Victor collect the ash, grind it into a fine powder and mix it with wine.
“Then they gave it to us to drink,” Victor says. “You become furious and can fight without fear. That is the way it was.”They call it “manga” – the magic that made them invincible.
Victor, whose name has been changed, is one of thousands of children recruited into militias that rose up in the southern DRC region of Kasai in 2016 against a corrupt, neglectful and repressive government.
In a region where families are large and poor, where the social fabric is threadbare and where government services barely exist, it is easy to convince or coerce children to join armed groups. Their recruitment is helped by a widespread belief that arcane rituals – sometimes involving cannibalism – confer magical powers that prevent their being harmed in battle.
As mentioned yesterday (Jan. 21, 2019), technical difficulties prevent me from duplicating here the original article in the Nyasa Times (the webmaster FVDK).
VP Saulos Cilima’s remarks come after unknown assailants (probably on December 31, 2018) killed 54-year old Yassin Kwenda Phiri, a person with albinism who was working as a hospital assistant at Kande Health Center in Nkhata Bay. Chilima’s UTM party has also issued a strongly worded statement condemning the murder. Not surprisingly, Malawi will have elections in the near future, on May 23 of this year. Please also read the related article posted on January 21 on this site: ‘MP Kalindo threatens to reveal syndicate on albino ritual murders’.
Political opponents who throw stones to each other making allegations that have not been proven should be listened to – but they are not necessarily to be believed immediately. One such politician is Mulanje South Member of Parliament Bon Kalindo in Malawi. He was recently arrested in Lilongwe and was charged with two counts of allegedly misconduct and of insulting the president. MP Kalindo alleges his arrest was ‘politically motivated’. A few days after his release from prison – on bail – he was assaulted and severely beaten up.
Kalindo said his arrest has taught him a lot of things including getting to know the syndicate of albino killings. He claims that the albino killings is a syndicate and it involves senior officials with big names hence the need to stop pushing the blame on witch doctors or rituals. “I will come back to reveal everything through this program once my case is settled in court.”, he said. “I have so many revelations to make”, he added. Kalindo made history in Malawi when he led a demonstration in favour of concrete action against perpetrators of attacks on people with albinism, in what was called ‘naked’ march.
We will continue to follow this case (webmaster FVDK).
For technical reasons the original article in the Nyasa Times could not be duplicated. The summary above is based on the Nyasa Times article of January 20 (2019), staying as close as possible to the original text. (Webmaster FVDK)