Speaking at a traditional medicine day held in Giyani in 2016, the President of traditional healers association in SADC region, Dr Sylvester Hlathi, urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings. Isn’t this remarkable – and courageous? On the one hand one could argue that apparently his appeal hasn’t prevented muti murderers in the northeastern part of the country to continue their ugly practices, on the other hand it is promising and encouraging to realize that voices are raised against these heinous crimes based on superstition and a repulsive greed for money and/or power.
Dr. Hlathi’s remarks gave me goose pimples, he spoke openly and publicly, and didn’t beat around the bush. “We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” he said.
Kudos for Dr. Hlathi! I wonder what has become of him. (webmaster FVDK).
Traditional leaders urged to stop ritual killings
Published: September 8, 2016 By: Letaba herald – Tony Myambo
The President of traditional healers association in SADC region Dr Sylvester Hlathi has urged local traditional healers to stop ritual killings.
Hlathi was speaking during a traditional medicine day held in cheapside complex outside Giyani on Wednesday.
“We as traditional healers must stop using human parts to make medicine, we must stop ritual killings as we are called to heal people not to kill people,” said Hlathi.
He also urged traditional healers to stop raping patients telling them that they will get healed if they sleep with them.
“We must stop sleeping with our own patients telling them they will be healed only if they sleep with us, this will weaken our traditional medicine not to work as it is not human and ancestors will punish us,” he said.
He also encouraged them to go test for HIV/AIDS. “You must also go get tested, you must stop this thing of saying I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend you must get tested so that you can also encourage your patients to go for tests because using only traditional medicine to cure this disease is not good,” he explained.
He also told them to stop giving medicine to criminals to come out of prison or charms to do crime but work with police in order to fight crime.
He however pleaded with traditional leaders to chase away fake traditional healers in their villages.
“Traditional leaders you must demand certificates of practice from these traditional healers, if they don’t have any – chase them away,” said Hlathi.
Hosi Edward Chauke, Congress of traditional leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) in Malamulele secretary, applauded local traditional healers for coming together to celebrate traditional medicine day and uniting with one another.
“As traditional leaders we would like to acknowledge you for coming together and for celebrating our traditional medicine. I would like to assure you that as traditional leaders, we recognize you.”
The northeastern provinces of South Africa have a bad reputation when it comes to ritualistic activities and murders. Whereas commendable steps have been taken by local authorities to arrest and put on trial those suspected of involvement in these heinous crimes (see my previous postings), still much is left to be desired. This is illustrated by the article reproduced below, dating from 2017, focusing the citizens of Acornhoek in Mpumalanga province. The danger exists that citizens will take the law into their own hand if the authorities fail to react properly. In a country, ruled by the principles of the rule of law, mob justice has no place. Mob justice, however, is an important signal that the legal authorities fall short of the expectations which people justly hold (webmaster FVDK).
Acornhoek community marches against alleged ritual killings
Published: July 11, 2017 By: Letaba Herald – Refiloe Matome
The community of Acornhoek (consisting of Cottondale, Timbavati, RDP and Plaza View) presented a memorandum to the Acornhoek SAPS regarding crime which is happening within their communities on June 28.
The memorandum presented to the station management in order for them to address the cases of ritual practices and child trafficking that is allegedly taking place within the community.
“As the citizens of this country, we no longer feel safe within our communities and the constitution clearly stated that we all have the right to live freely,” said Ndlovu of The Bushbuckridge Residents Association.
Three incidents were clearly highlighted where they believe victims were unfairly treated and justice was not served. The first being Wilson Mokoena’s case who was killed in Plaza View earlier this year and according to information provided to the Hoedspruit Herald, the suspect is a government official and is well known but no arrests have been made thus far.
“Alfred Madalane was found killed and dumped at an Acornhoek scrap yard with body parts missing, three suspects were arrested after confessing to his killing, but they were later released by the court stating that there was not enough evidence while the perpetrators confessed to his death,” added Ndlovu.
The last case that was presented to the SAPS for query was that of Maluleke who was killed and dumped at Pendulane cross with his blood allegedly drained from his body.
“The above mentioned cases need to be considered, we call upon the station commander to urgently intervene in these cases and all suspects need to be rearrested immediately. We expect to get a respond with immediate effect before the community takes the law into their own hands,” concluded Ndlovu.
Yesterday I posted an article on the sentencing to life imprisonment of four people found guilty of ritual murder in Limpopo Province, South Africa. It is not the first time that the rule of law was applied by prosecuting and sentencing a ritual murderer in Limpopo Province, a region which unfortunately is notorious for the occurrence of muti murders. In October 2015, a Mocambican man who had been apprehended in possession of body parts was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Limpopo High Court at Makhado (webmaster FVDK).
Life sentence for ritual murderer
Published: October 29, 2015 By: Letaba Herald, Matome Maila
A Mocambican man who was found in possession of body parts last year was sentenced to life imprisonment during a sitting of the Limpopo High Court at Makhado last Tuesday.
Nkovani Samson Majoko (36), originally from Mocambique, but residing a Xiphuraphuleni Settlement in Malamulele, outside Giyani was arrested in June last year after he was found in possession of a bag containing two hands and male sexual organs
The court heard that he lured the victim, John Miyambo (35), from Mocambique to South Africa with the promise of a job and then killed him and cut off the body parts to sell as muti.
He was arrested after information was received of a man trying to sell body parts in the Malamulele area.
He was found guilty on a charge of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Is it possible to something positive in the area of ritualistic killings? Maybe yes, read the following case, reproduced below. In Limpopo province, South Africa, where ritualistic murders aka muti (muthi) murders are rampant, a court has found four people accused of ritual murder guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the barbaric, gruesome ritual murder of their-in-law, Hlayisani Hlungwani (26), at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago. A fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
I must commend the police department, the investigators, and the court judges for their work and I am happy with the outcome of their work. I will not give my opinion on the sentences, in this case life imprisonment. Judges must work independently and objectively, one must be very prudent to comment or to interfere with their work. However, I am very positive about the fact that the rule of law has been upheld. in South Africa, notably in Limpopo Province, muti murderers terrorize the population and violate people’s human rights, notably the right to live without fear and the right to live. To prosecute and sanction perpetrators of these cruel crimes is a sacred duty of the state which has an obligation to protect its citizens. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential to educate people telling them that killing other people motivated by superstition as a means to become rich or famous is outrageous and not acceptable.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details (FVDK).
Relatives senctenced to life for ritual murder
Published: November 18, 2020 By: Letaba Herald
Four relatives were last Thursday each sentenced to life imprisonment for the ritual murder of their in-law at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago.
Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the murder of Hlayisani Hlungwani (26) in Nsavula village.
The fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
The judge found that the four accused intentionally killed Hlungwani by cutting off her lips, breasts and private parts.
The heinous crime which sent shock waves in the Hlomela and Nsavula villages was found to have been motivated by greed and the love of money. All accused pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse, the judge found.
The court heard that on 17 April 2017, Daniel Dzambukeri lured his sister-in-law to get into Chuma’s Honda Ballade in order to fetch her child from her grandmother. Dzambukeri testified that when the vehicle reached Hlomela village they drove into the bushes where Hlungwani’s legs were tied to a tree.
Later all of the accused went to the scene to perform their rituals before removing some body parts.
During the ritual, the victim’s mother-in-law, Mhlongo, burned herbs naked while calling Hlungwani ancestors to accept her spirit. Dzambukeri told the court that he had committed the crime with all three accused.
He told the court that he and Mahumani held the victim down while Chuma cut the body parts with a knife. Chuma handed the parts to Mhlongo who wrapped it in a red cloth.
The killing angered villagers who vented their anger by burning down three houses and other properties belonging to the convicts.
Other family member fled the area to other provinces. In mitigation of sentence Mhlongo asked the court not to sentence her for a murder she didn’t commit.
“There was no way I could have joined men to commit such crime,” said Mhlongo.
Mahumani and Chuma also asked the court not to sentence them, they accept no responsibility for their action.
In aggravation of sentence the state advocate, Absah Madzhuta, called the elder brother of the deceased, Richard Hlongwani who testified about the impact the killing had on her child and her grandmother.
Hlungwani further said that the family was shocked, in pain and living in fear.
The death of the deceased has affected the child of the deceased in that she failed her grade.
He said that she knows that her mother was killed by a woman and men and she is now afraid of her father and visitors.
The court remarked that the crime was barbaric, where the victim fought for her life with all her energy, screaming and kicking.
She suffered a painful death, with her body parts removed whilst still alive (italics added by the webmaster).
The body parts were destined for sale.
“Although every case is decided according to its merits, this crime is very serious. The family had to bury their loved one with some of her body parts missing. The aggravating circumstances outweigh by far the mitigating factors of the accused. This type of murder is a classical barbaric one without respecting the deceased and her right to life in terms of Section 11 of the Constitution,” remarked Justice Khami Makhafola before sentencing the convicts to life imprisonment.
The director of public prosecutions, Adv Ivy Thenga welcomed the sentence and commended the investigation team together with the state Adv Absa Madzhuta for the work well done.
Below follows the link to another article related to the same barbaric crime. The graphic details of the crime committed being so shocking I have decided not to reproduce the full text here. If readers are still interested, they may click the link below but they are warned that the contents of the article are shocking and repulsive. The article describes in full detail how the victim’s body parts were cut off while she was still alive (webmaster FVDK).
The faces of evil Published: November 20, 2020 By: Zoutnet, South Africa – Andries van Zyl
Whereas the following article on the gruesome murder of a 54-year man cannot be labelled a ‘ritual murder’ before the investigation surrounding his death has ended, some newspapers already call his cruel death a ‘ritual killing’ (see the second article below).
As usual, I wish to plead for prudence. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, I present the case here – with a disclaimer – for reasons which may be clear after reading the report below.
Warning: the following article contains graphic details of a gruesome murder (webmaster FVDK).
Police probing motive of 54-year-old man’s brutal killing
The victim’s body was found in a pool of blood, about 300 metres from his house.
Police believe the elaborate murder was executed between 9pm and 11pm.
Residents of Kambogo village in Murang’a County are yet to come to terms with the horrific murder of Mr Samuel Mungai Gachihi on October 22.
The body of the 54-year-old man had no private parts, tongue, ears, eyes and nose when it was found — a murder that bore the marks of a ritual killing.
“The scene details indicate devilish work of a killer or killers who had all the time with the victim, going to the extent of skinning his head and harvesting all those organs,” said Kigumo police boss Michael Ndegwa.
The post-mortem report indicated that the man first suffered blunt force trauma to the top of his head, which cracked his skull.
The assailant(s) then slit his throat and then “the evil of harvesting the organs was executed”.
Police believe the elaborate murder was executed between 9pm and 11pm, which was corroborated by some neighbours who reported hearing the man scream twice from around 9.30pm.
At the scene was an iron bar, three unused condoms, an empty cigarette packet and snuff wrappings.
Why anyone would want to kill Mungai so cruelly is the puzzle the police are trying to solve.
No suspect has been arrested so far.
When the Nation team visited the village, journalists were shown where the body was found by a man who was taking milk to the dairy co-operative society. The body was found in a pool of blood, about 300 metres from his house.
“The scene was so horrifying that I have been seeing a counsellor weekly. It is a miracle that I’m still sane. It is the most horrible sight I have encountered in my 72 years in this world,” said Mr Moses Njau, who was among the first to arrive at the scene.
Mr Mungai’s niece, Naomi Wanjiru, said he never married and was known for loathing relationships.
Kigumo police boss Ndegwa said the man is confirmed to have arrived home on that fateful night at around 7pm and herded his two goats and five hens into his one-roomed house where they usually slept to avoid being stolen.
However, Mr Ndegwa said the motive was not stealing the animals and that Mr Mungai was most likely lured out of the house by a person known to him.
The police boss said getting the killers hinged on the motive.
“We are working around some possibilities revolving around family feud, business rivalry, occultism and normal crime,” he said.
Person of interest
Mr Mungai was one of three siblings — a brother Harun Muhia and sister, Joyce Nyambura.
Mr Muhia died in 2013, leaving his widow Jane Nduta, 61, and six daughters and one son.
However, Mr Mungai is reported to have expressed a desire to get married.
He was to get part of the family’s 0.7 acres, worth Sh800,000.
Mr Ndegwa said police are also looking into the religious inclination of all of Mr Mungai’s relatives and villagers, looking for evidence of occult practices.
Another theory is that the deceased was embroiled in a business feud.
“There is one specific character being mentioned by the locals as a person of interest owing to macabre statements he was heard uttering at the scene and in the burial.
“We are working on starting an onslaught against the suspects,” said Mr Ndegwa.
THE ‘DEVILISH’ work of a killer is being probed by police after the mutilated body of a man was found with his head skinned and eyes, ears and tongue cut out.
Samuel Mungai Gachihi, 54, was found in a pool of blood just metres from his home in Kenya.
His butchered body was found with his throat slit, his head skinned and his eyes gouged out, reported local media.
Tragic Mr Gachihi’s face had been completely disfigured, with his ears, tongue, nose missing, along with his private parts.
Residents of Kambogo village in Kenya’s central Murang’a County, around 100 miles north east of the capital Nairobi, claim the missing body parts point to a ritual killing.
We are working on possibilities revolving around…occultism
“The scene details indicate devilish work of a killer or killers who had all the time with the victim, going to the extent of skinning his head and harvesting all those organs,” said Kigumo Superintendent of Police Michael Ndegwa.
The post-mortem report indicated Mr Gachihi first suffered blunt force trauma to the top of his head, cracking his skull in the attack earlier this month.
His throat was then slit and “the evil of harvesting the organs was executed” in the elaborate killing, reported the country’s Nation newspaper.
At the crime scene, officers found an iron bar, along with cigarettes, three unused condoms, and snuff wrappings.
Neighbour Moses Njau, 72, was the first to come across the grisly scene and told local media he had been left traumatised by his discovery.
“The scene was so horrifying that I have been seeing a counsellor weekly. It is a miracle that I’m still sane. It is the most horrible sight I have encountered in my 72 years in this world,” he said
The victim’s niece, Naomi Wanjiru, said her uncle had never married and lived alone.
Police said after he arrived home the evening of the attack, he herded his two goats and five hens into his house to avoid them being stolen.
It is believed he was later lured out of his house, around 300m away to the scene of the attack.
“We are working around some possibilities revolving around family feud, business rivalry, occultism and normal crime,” Supt Ndegwa told local media.
Browsing on internet I found this 2011 article written by Fanuel Hadzizi from Zimbabwe. The article could have been written in the year 2000, or much earlier, and even nowadays, in the year 2020 !
I find it encouraging reading this article on a topic which it too often swept under the carpet although its main message is a sad one. The author pleads to break the silence on ritual killings in Africa and points to several cases of ritual killings in Southern Africa to warrant his plea. He concludes “It is time governments turn up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights.”
What else can I say? Highly recommended – read ‘AFRICA: BREAKING THE SILENCE IN RITUAL KILLINGS’ by Fanuel Hadzizi, Gender Links Justice Program Officer of PeaceWomen. Peacewomen is the Women, Peace and Security Program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world.
Warning: The following article contains graphic details of ritual murders (FVDK)
Ritual killings and human sacrifice happen in many, if not all countries in Africa. Cases have been reported in such countries as Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In Zambia, there have been cases whereby people’s heads were found in Asian owned shops whilst in Swaziland, some politicians commissioned ritual killings so that they could win elections. The grossness of the ritual murders is quite scary to imagine as victims’ bodies are mutilated and certain body parts go missing. Needless to mention that in South Africa for instance, body parts can be sold for as little as R3000.
On 24 September, South Africa celebrated Heritage Day under the banner “celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa.” According to the Department of Arts and Culture, the theme allowed the nation to “celebrate the lasting legacy of the national liberation struggle.”
Most importantly, Heritage Day provides an opportunity for South Africans to celebrate their cultural heritage and diversity of beliefs and traditions. As a concerned resident, I also feel that this is an opportunity for us to break the silence around the negative cultural practice of ritual killings that is prevalent in society and yet violates the basic universal human right to life.
During the course of Women’s Month in August, South Africa became the ninth Southern African Development Community (SADC) country to ratify the Protocol on Gender and Development. This brought to two thirds the number of countries that have done so, and means that the Protocol is now in force.
As we also celebrate the coming into force of this crucial instrument, let us ponder what is meant by the provision that all states adopt laws and policies to protect the girl and boy child from “harmful cultural attitudes and practices in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.”
I recall vividly growing up in one township in Zimbabwe. This was just when public transport in the form of the Toyota Hiace taxi had just been introduced in the country. At that tender age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them some sweets.
The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with some body parts missing. Rumours were that business people were taking the children’s heads for instance to Durban in South Africa and were trading them off for the taxis. Weren’t we all scared!
Ritual killings or muti killings are committed for the purpose of taking human body parts which are used to prepare charms and other traditional medicines. These charms are believed to have supernatural powers which are greatly enhanced if the organs are removed whilst the victim is still alive.
In Southern Africa there is a belief that female body parts possess supernatural powers that bring good fortune or make criminals invisible to police and other authorities. Research has shown that in other countries, especially in East Africa, the breast and a woman’s private parts enhance business success, a man’s private parts are believed to increase virility whilst a tongue can smooth one’s path to a lover’s heart.
In fact, ritual killing is perceived as an act of spiritual fortification.
In an article titled New Magic for New Times: Muti Murder in Democratic South Africa, Louise Vincent (2008) says that “the use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its literal consumption by another.” The victim is thus carefully chosen.
The Sowetan reported in July this year that the brother of Gladys Mogaramedi (61) killed her for her body parts. Police discovered the badly mutilated body without the private parts. I felt a very cold chill down my spine as I read through the story with shock and disbelief. Even after reading it twice I still found myself at a loss for words, trying to comprehend how a person could execute such a diabolic act moreover to a sibling without any conscience.
The South African case highlighted above is but the tip of the iceberg to some of the cultural problems that our society is still grappling with in relation to gender based violence. More often than not, these crimes evade the spotlight because they are largely unreported or recorded merely as murder. Ritualists target vulnerable members of society such as the poor, women, children, people with disabilities and albinos whose families often do not have the resources to demand justice.
It is time governments turn up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights. Heavy sentences should be given to those who commission as well as carry out the ritual killings. It is heartening to note that in a July 2010 ruling, the High Court of Mwanza region sentenced 50 year old Kazimiri Mashauri to death. The Tanzanian court convicted him for hacking to death a 5 year old girl for muti-related purposes.
Fanuel Hadzizi is the Gender Links Justice Program Officer of Peace Women,
I have repeatedly said it on these pages: Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country, with about 200 million people. Hence, in a way it is not surprising that reports of ritual murders frequently refer to this West African country. However, this does not make the crime less cruel, senseless, and repulsive. How can we ever stop these gruesome practices, based on superstition and greed?
Another word must be said about the police questioning one of the suspects. As can be read in the article below, the confession of the alleged perpetrator was obtained afterintense pressure. What does this imply? We must realize that confessions extracted under duress are not only illegal but also not reliable. Whether this indeed has been the case cannot be concluded with certainty from the text below, but it is useful to be vigilant, given the reputation of the Nigerian police force.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details of the gruesome murder (webmaster FVDK).
How Ibadan secondary school student was tricked, killed by those he trusted
Quadri Olalekan, a student of Ifesowapo Community Secondary School in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, was looking forward to his 14th birthday before he was cut in his prime. As a result of the closure of schools due to COVID-19 lockdown, his parent allowed him to work under Biodun Owolabi, a bricklayer.
The families of Owolabi and Olalekan reside at Bodmas junction, Iyana Church area of Ibadan. Perhaps it was one of the factors that they considered before allowing Quadri to work under him. But unknowingly, they had signed him up for a journey of no return.
A day to his birthday, the mother asked him to do some chores and it was while doing this that Owolabi came calling. He had followed his boss who reportedly tricked him that there was a job to do. However, when the mother could not find him after several hours, she raised the alarm and a search began.
According to a family source, a resident of Bodmas junction told the search team that Olalekan was last seen with Owolabi. The team was said to have approached Owolabi who initially denied but confessed to killing the missing child after intense pressure (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
Owolabi later took members of the community to the place where Olalekan was buried after life was snuffed out of him. Witnesses said the victim’s arm and his private organ were missing when the corpse was exhumed. He was said to have confessed that a cleric, residing in the community, was the one who orchestrated the murder.
“Owolabi is a son of a landlord in the area and he lives in his father’s house. He is around 21 years. The father is also a bricklayer. Owolabi and Alfa worked together and because schools were closed for a long time, the two engaged Quadri as labourer. Quadri was a student of Ifesowapo Community Secondary School,” said the witness who preferred anonymity.
“When it was discovered that the boy was missing, Owolabi was approached but he said he did not know where the boy was. When members of the community intervened, he said the boy had been killed and buried. He said he and the Alfa killed the boy and took parts of his body for ritual purposes. According to him, a popular baker and another individual in the area paid them to bring the body parts.
“He then took them to the place where the boy was buried. His remains were stuffed in a sack before being buried in a shallow grave. The arms were cut off while part of the buttock was also sliced off. The sack was dripping with blood when it was exhumed.
“When Alfa was apprehended, he denied knowing anything about it. His reaction triggered anger among the youths and members of the community and they set him on fire. When the houses of the killers were searched, we found charms and other dangerous weapons in their rooms. The belongings of the Alfa were also set ablaze.”
When TheCable visited Quadri parents’ house, the mother, Adenike Olalekan, was still in grief, weeping uncontrollably.
A relative of the mother who simply identified herself Bisi said Quadri was to mark his 14th birthday a day after he was killed and his mother had already bought clothes for the occasion.
“Quadri woke up in the morning and his mother asked him to go and wash plates. He was doing that when Owolabi approached him to help them in bricklaying work. They had been working together before,” she said.
“We expected him till evening but he did not return. We called Owolabi’s number several times but he did not pick the call. Then we went to his parents’ house where we saw him. He denied whereabouts of Quadri.
“He later took us to Alfa house. When Alfa saw us, he wanted to run away but he was caught by the people that followed us. He also denied knowing where Quadri. The youths in the area were angry so they forced his door open and searched his house. Charms and other fetish objects were found inside, including women pants.
“Owolabi later told us that Alfa strangulated the boy in a place called Agric bush. When we got there, we saw Quadri’s mutilated body and corpse of another boy there. Our son’s hands, eyes and buttock were cut off.
“His 14th birthday was on Sunday and his mother bought clothes for him to celebrate it. But he was killed a day before his birthday. His father works in Port Harcourt.”
Gbenga Fadeyi, public relations officer of Oyo police command, told TheCable through a text message that the victim’s family did not report the incident.
When reading the article below one needs to bear in mind that nobody is guilty unless he/she has been found guilty by an impartial, independent judge after a transparent, public trial (webmaster FVDK).
Leadership tussle tears Enugu community apart as traditional head is accused of murdering nine persons
Published: November 4, 2020 By: Sahara Reporters, New York
They had in a petition to the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, alleged that Eke was responsible for nine verifiable deaths in their community.
Leaders of Obede Isiugwu in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State have accused their traditional ruler, Fabian Eke, of subjecting their people to a reign of terror since he ascended the throne.
They had in a petition to the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, alleged that Eke was responsible for nine verifiable deaths in their community.
Five of the murders were allegedly linked to persons behind the move of the Obede people to form an autonomous community separate from the umbrella Ugwuoji precinct.
The petitioners, who addressed themselves as members of the Obede General Assembly, said Eke had changed the security architecture of the community and installed Ikechukwu Omeje, a man of questionable character, to oversee the protection of life and property in the enclave.
Omeje had in turn, as they alleged, used his office to serve as a hit squad for the Igwe.
“He single-handedly projected Omeje as the head of security in Obede Isiugwu and as the Igwe’s errand soldier who goes about doing his master’s bidding. Upon the emergence of this new order in our community’s security architecture, strange things began to occur to the extent that people got killed and their bodies dismembered in the most bizarre and questionable circumstances,” an excerpt of the letter sent to Ugwuanyi read (italics added by the webmaster).
“The ritual killing/murders started at Obede Isiugwu in 2016 when four persons were gruesomely murdered, their blood tapped, sucked and collected with some vital organs missing. Their names are: Fidex Idoko, Ikechukwu Idoko, Christiana Amujiri Lydia and the last person was Virgina Ali, who was killed in February 2020.” (italics added by the webmaster).
In an interview with SaharaReporters, Iyida Ejiofor, who would assume Igwe of the Obede community if their desire to break out of Ugwuoji is achieved, said the last victim was killed shortly after she had gone to different places of worship to speak against the activities of Eke and Omeje.
“The woman that died in February, she had gone to one or two churches and was saying that ‘the people that are killing people like these, it won’t be better for them.’ Next thing, they killed her,” Ejiofor said.
According to the general assembly, the secretary of the proposed autonomous community, Cletus Odo, is among five other persons allegedly murdered by Eke and Omeje.
“Besides the death of the afore-mentioned citizens of Obede Isiugwu Community through ritual killings (italics added by the webmaster), no fewer than five other members of the community have died in mysterious circumstances that defied explanation in recent time. These people before the untimely death, were front-liners in the agitation for the creation of the proposed autonomous community particularly Mr. Cletus Odo (a.k.a. Funky) who was acting as the secretary of the proposed autonomous community and Mr. Mathias Ugwuanyi,” the petition to the Enugu state governor wrote.
They said they have tried unsuccessfully to bring these deaths up for investigation.
Their efforts have been thwarted by the same pair, whom they claim have control of the police command in the area.
“Surprisingly when incidents of killing in the case of those who were murdered, were reported to the police, Igwe Fabian Eke would interfere with police investigation by trying to convince the police that such persons died of natural cause and would compel the families of such victims of questionable death to make similar statement to the police that the victims died naturally. How he was able to have his way with the police, each time such an incident of death occurred has remained inexplicable and most worrisome to us as a people,” they said.
Instances of killing and torture aside, the community leaders said that they have been maginalised, accusing the Igwe of sponsoring false claims against them.
In one instance, he reportedly petitioned the Department of State Services that Obede community was planning a tribal war.
“Among the treacherous indulgences of Igwe Fabian Eke was the sponsoring of a trumped up and frivolous petition founded on false information which was forwarded to the Department of State Service (DSS) and Ogunte Police Station, alleging that Obede community stopped Umuopu people from entering their place and that they were organizing a tribal war. The false allegation led to the arrest of four (4) persons at Obede but they were later released when the police and DSS found out that the allegation was false.”
The Obede community leader, Ejiofor, added that Eke rerouted a power project that would have connected the aggrieved area to the national grid.
He claimed that he gave Eke N400,000 for the erection of an electricity pole to rectify the problem and nothing has been done.
SaharaReporters reached out to two family members of some of the slain victims. One of them who responded, Christian Idoko, the brother of Ike Idoko, who was murdered in 2018, said no one in his family could authoritatively say the person that killed his brother.
Christian, who is based in Lagos, said he was not in the village when it happened.
“What I was told is this: he slept in the night, at daybreak no one saw him so they went into his house. They found out that some people attacked him with machetes. They tried to rush him to hospital but he was dead,” he said.
Christian maintained that Ike lived alone and no one saw the assailants come in or go out.
Responding to the allegations of insecurity and killings sponsored by him, Igwe Fabian Eke said via text that the allegations were “totally untrue.”
“Someone who wants to be Igwe in a non-existent community within Ugwuoji community is spreading unfounded rumour against me for no just cause. My community is in peace and the troublemakers are in a civil court in SUIT NO EZ/16/2020. Check out our statement of defence and counter at Enugu Ezike High Court over that matter and your story will be complete. Thank you for hearing from me,” he said.
The reporter tried further to have a conversation with Igwe to ascertain the specific civil case in court but he said he was in a meeting and was unwilling to address a case already undergoing legal proceedings.
SaharaReporters learned that the case in question was related to one of the attacks allegedly linked to Omeje that the community was able to bring to a police station in Abia State.
The Nigerian authorities have been facing nation-wide protests against the human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, intimidation and harassment of citizens, of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Despite its dissolution by the Inspector-General of Police, the protests haven’t waned. On social media the hashtag #EndSARS has become trending. However, on this site we are not dealing with the abuse of power by public authorities, unless it relates to ritualistic acts, muti murder, witchcraft practices, superstition or a cover-up of high-placed individuals implicated in these outdated practices.
Recently, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi challenged the #EndSARS protesters to focus on ritual killing, cultism and other social vices which terrorize the Nigerian people. According to the monarch, ritual killing was deadlier and more devastating to the youth than SARS could be.
The monarch is to be commended for his outspoken position in the fight against ritual killings. Let’s hope that his outspokenness helps in eradicating ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria (webmaster FVDK).
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, speaks out against ritual killings
Despite the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday, protests against the unit for gross human rights abuse, including extrajudicial killings, intimidation and harassment of citizens, have continued.
However, the police authorities also received support from some Nigerians, who kicked against the scrapping of the unit.
Some protesters, on Sunday, stormed the head office of PUNCH Newspaper to demand the scrapping of the unit.
One of the protesters, Damilola Ayanniyi, said it was to demand the scrapping of SARS, adding that the policemen working under the unit had harassed him on three different occasions.
23 Ogun protesters arrested with guns, charms
In Abeokuta, Ogun State, 23 protesters were arrested by the police with guns and assorted charms.
They were arrested on Saturday during a protest that turned violent.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, stated this in a statement on Sunday.
According to him, after the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, and the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, had addressed them, the protesters headed for the palace of the Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, where the Owu Day was ongoing and violently disrupted the ceremony, which had former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Deputy Governor of the state, Noimot Salako, in attendance.
The PPRO added that the protesters damaged the back windshield of the deputy governor’s official car and later went to the SARS office at Magbon, Abeokuta, fired some gunshots at the men and injured one Sergeant Akabudike Augustine.
Oluwo advises protesters
Meanwhile, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, has challenged the #EndSARS protesters to channel their energy into kicking against ritual killing, cultism and other social vices in the land.
The Oluwo spoke on Sunday in response to calls on Instagram that he should lend royal in support of the protests.
The monarch said ritual killing was deadlier and more devastating to the youth than SARS could be.
Oba Akanbi, who lamented the increasing cases of ritual killings, said it was disappointing that despite the high level of crime in the land, Nigerians had not protested against ritual killings.
Campaign’ll ensure respect for human rights – Catholic Secretariat