In Ghana, superstition is widespread, and its not the only SSA country where people believe in the power of witches, witchdoctors, and witchcraft. The fear which people have for those perceived to be witches may lead to abnormal reactions, as the case below illustrates. A woman was beaten to death just because she was thought to be a witch and accused of irregular rain.
Education is the only means to fight superstition. Meanwhile the rule f law must apply. A government and society cannot tolerate mob justice. (Webmaster FVDK)
Ghana Pentecostals Come to the Defense of Accused Witches
Published: November 23, 2020 By: Christianity Today, Ghana – Daniel Silliman and Griffin Paul Jackson
An old woman was killed when she refused to confess to causing irregular rain. Christians had to speak up.
Pentecostals everywhere sing about the power of Jesus’ name. But in Ghana, they sing specifically that his name is powerful against witches.
More than 90 percent of Ghanaian Christians believe witchcraft is a problem in the country, and more than half have visited a Pentecostal prayer camp to ask for deliverance from witches and demons, according to a study by Opoku Onyinah, theologian and past president of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). The Spirit-empowered churches in the West African country don’t take the issue of witches lightly.
But this summer, the GPCC decided to speak up for the women who are accused of witchcraft. The Pentecostal group, an umbrella organization of 200 denominations and parachurches, called for new laws and a national conversation about how to better take care of the more than 2,000 widows who have been exiled over allegations of working with demons.
The churches decided to make a statement after an elderly Muslim woman in a rural village was beaten to death when she refused to confess to witchcraft. Akua Denteh was accused of causing irregular rain, starting fires, and killing children with supernatural powers. A video of her violent death—as a crowd stood watching—was shared widely around the country, and Christian leaders decided they could no longer be silent.
“The elderly, weak and vulnerable must be targeted for the care and protection of our society,” the GPCC statement said. “We must, at all cost, seek justice for this 90-year-old woman and all those who have suffered such atrocities in the past.”
Onyinah, speaking on a popular radio program, called for laws controlling witch hunts and witch identifications. He added a specific ….. the rest of the article is available for ‘members-only’ (follow the link below)
On November 22, Blessing Mandabva, from Zimbabwe, shared with us his view on the history of human sacrifices as well as present-day practices of this age-old ritual. His contribution was published in The Standard, a Zimbabwean Sunday newspaper. Recently, I posted other articles with African voices protesting against this phenomenon of ritualistic murders, commonly called muti murders in Southern Africa. See the Op-Ed article in the online Namibian newspaper New Era Live, entitled: ‘Ritual killings: Cry my beloved humankind’, posted on October 27, 2020 and an older article, dating from 2011, ‘Africa: Breaking the silence in ritual killings‘, written by Fanuel Hadzizi, also from Zimbabwe and posted on November 14, 2020.
The recent turmoil in Zimbabwe, following the death of a 7-year old boy, Tawire Makore, who was murdered for muti purposes, clearly shows that the gruesome practice of human sacrifices has not disappeared. See my October 26 posting on this ritual murder that shocked Zimbabwe.
As Blessing Mandabva describes, more people have raised their voices against muti murders including Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president George Kandiero who distanced his association and all members from all acts of ritual killings. George Kandieo, who also mentioned the ritual murder of Tawire Makore, confirmed what I have stated repeatedly on these pages: “These ritual killings are just a tip of the iceberg (…)“.
Also the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has denounced ritually-motivated killings and issued the following statement: “The ZHRC has noted with concern the alarming rise and high frequency of ritually-motivated killings in Zimbabwe, specifically targeted at children and young people.”
What else can I add?? Read the following contribution and join the struggle against ritualistic murders and other acts based on superstition and motivated by the greed for power and/or wealth.
Warning: the following article contains graphic details of ritual murders (webmaster FVDK).
Human sacrifices, myth or reallity?
Published: November 22, 2020 By: The Standard, Zimbabwe – Blessing Mandabva
Since time immemorial, human beings the world over have pursued answers to the puzzling questions of their origins, sickness, death and after death, poverty, power, the meaning of natural phenomena such as earthquakes, diseases and accidents, among others. They have also inquired on how to protect themselves from such mysterious events. Invention of personified deities, gods and the occult sciences, witchcraft, divination and soothsaying in order to seek the protection of supernatural powers has been the order of the day. Individuals used them for protection from their enemies, to dominate others in societies be it in business, politics, churches and other religious circles to gain power and to accumulate wealth. Human sacrifice has been a phenomenon which has been passed from generation to generation albeit it appearing in various forms.
Human sacrifice is defined as the ritualised, devotedly motivated killing of human beings. It is a fundamental which is not endorsed by any state, but was once practiced by societies across the globe in the past. In this landlocked country of Zimbabwe, there is a misconception on many deaths of humans, children, women and albinos being attributed to human sacrificial rituals which are said to bring quick wealth and fortunes. Human sacrifice, especially of children, occurs frequently despite the government’s efforts to stop it. Times are tough in Zimbabwe, and people are looking for sacrifices to improve their fortunes. Hunger and starvation coupled with the purported economic meltdown which has been attributed to the economic sanctions by the ruling elite whilst those in the opposition blame the ruling elite for poor governance.
Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) president George Kandiero distanced his association and all members from all heinous acts of ritual killings.
He, however, said those ritual killings are mainly done by witches and witchdoctors. According to Kandiero, Zinatha has some specialists who could have been involved in the case of Tapiwa Makore to give guidance in finding a lasting solution.
“It’s rather unfortunate Tapiwa is no more, but we believe the full wrath of the law will take its course. The perpetrators must be brought to book even if they are members of our associations,” said Kandiero.
”These ritual killings are just a tip of the iceberg since a lot of sacrifices in various forms are happening in the underworld.
“Those who do such are everywhere including churches, homes and workplaces and this has to be addressed for people to live in harmony.”
Reverend John Makaniko, a United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe pastor, said: “Human sacrifice is a reality though in this contemporary world it’s now rare.
“The law has abolished human sacrifice and it’s now treated as murder.” According to him, in Christianity, only Jesus Christ was sacrificed for sins of all humanity. He becomes a sacrifice once and for all [Hebrew 10:10].
“Jesus Christ becomes a sacrificial lamb for salvation of all humanity. The human sacrifice done by individuals is for selfish reasons like riches and fame. “This human sacrifice that is shedding blood of other people for selfish ends is evil, sinful and a serious crime.”
“As Christians, we are guided by the scripture’s teachings and commandments like: ‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Exodus 20:13) and our social principles say, ‘life is a sacred gift’; therefore, every human life should be treated with dignity and shouldn’t be sacrificed.
“In short, human sacrifice is a devilish act that has no place in Christianity and progressive society.”
Rev Makaniko added: “In contemporary society, faith in God and appreciating the dignity of hard work will result in success and prosperity.
“The core values of the United Methodist Church clearly state that, ‘we do good, do no harm and stay in love with God’; thus human sacrifice isn’t good because it brings harm to other people and breaks relationships with God.”
According to some South African media reports, body parts can be sold for as little as R3 000 in that country.
I recall vividly growing up in a township when public transport in the form of the commuter omnibuses had just been introduced. At that 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 sweets.
The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with body parts missing. Rumours were that businesspeople were taking the children’s heads to Durban and were trading them off for taxis, kombis and grinding mills. Another unfortunate case is that of Given Flint Matapure who disappeared at Harare Exhibition Park in August 2011. The case took ages to be finalised.
Ritual killings, or human sacrifices, are committed for the purpose of taking human body parts which are said to be used to prepare charms and other traditional medicines for spiritual fortification. In some instances, ritualists and occults target vulnerable members of society such as the poor, women, children and albinos whose families often do not have the resources to demand justice.
In some African countries there is a belief that female body parts possess supernatural powers that bring good fortune or make criminals invisible to police and other authorities. Children and young people are mostly preferred since they will be having a whole lot of life to live than the elderly.
All the success which could have happened to them will now be transferred to the ritualist as the children continue to live in the underworld. It is time governments turned up the heat on culprits and put an end to this violation of human rights.
Heavy sentences should be given to those who commission and carry out the ritual killings.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) denounced ritually-motivated killings.
“The ZHRC has noted with concern the alarming rise and high frequency of ritually-motivated killings in Zimbabwe, specifically targeted at children and young people,” the ZHRC statement read.
“The heinous murder and mutilation of innocent people is disheartening and should be denounced in the strongest terms by our society and nation as a whole.”
ZHRC also stated that participation in ritual killings violates Sections 48 (1), the universal human right to life, of the Constitution and other sections of international agreements on rights to human life, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The rights body called for a collective effort among authorities to end the ritual killings and urged police to undergo further training to adequately deal with issues of human rights violations.
In July 2015, a four-year old pupil from St Lucy Primary School in the Kombo area of Insiza district in Matabeleland South province was found dead with her lips, liver and other body parts missing in a suspected case of ritual murder. Her body was found mutilated in a pond. The incident struck fear into villagers who indicated that they suspected the child was killed for ritual purposes. They started escorting their children to and from school.
Legislator Pupurai Togarepi has moved a motion on the proliferation of chilling incidents of murder indicating that victims of such heinous crimes are the vulnerable and unsuspecting members of society, mostly women and children.
In another bizarre suspected ritual killing in June 2020, a 25-year-old woman, Thabelo Mazolo, had her body mutilated and stashed into a drum filled with acid in Bulawayo. Part of the body, from the waist going down, was missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off. The ritualist murder had message from a sangoma with instructions to perform on the body, it reads “you must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror. Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches.”
The practice of ritual killing and human sacrifice continues to take place in several African countries in contravention of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and other human rights instruments. In this 21st century, human beings are still being hunted down, mutilated, murdered or sacrificed for ritual purposes across the region.
Several cases of kidnapping and disappearance of persons are traced to the vicious schemes and activities of ritualists. Ritualists hunt for blood and harvest human body parts to prepare charms and magical concoctions. In some cases desperate ritualists invade cemeteries and exhume dead bodies to extract body parts, said one anonymous source.
Many cases of ritual sacrifice take place in secret locations. They are largely unreported, not investigated and go unpunished. The perpetrators and their collaborators capitalise on the prevalent irrational fear of the supernatural among Africans, and the poor and corrupt policing and justice system, to get away with these egregious violations.
Victims of ritual sacrifice are mostly minors nd vulnerable individuals who do not live to seek justice or redress or who lack the resources to seek redress if ever they survive the ordeal.
Human sacrifice is real, it is neither fallacious, frivolous nor fiction. It is a cancer which needs urgent attention and collective efforts by all stakeholders from grassroots level before it is normalised by satanic and evil forces in our societies.
The ritual murder case reported in the article below is the first one related to Angola posted on this site. This is not to say that in Angola no or only a few ritual murders are committed. In fact, little is known about the frequency of ritual or muti murders in this country. The reason for it’s under-reporting is most probably linguistic. In general, events in lusophone countries are only occasionally covered by anglophone and francophone press agencies. This does not mean that nothing noteworthy happens in these countries, on the contrary – as the case below illustrates.
The ritualistic killing took place in the nation’s capital. As described in the article below, in July 2019, a mother (32) killed her 11- year old daughter in a gruesome ritualistic act. I must apologize for presenting the article in Portuguese. Unfortunately, no translation is available though the essential message of the article is clear: a ritual murder was committed. More details will be published on this site as soon as they become available (webmaster FVDK).
Uma criança de 11 anos morreu, na terça-feira, depois de ter sido queimada por uma mulher, de 32 anos, que praticava um ritual de ocultismo, no município de Belas, em Luanda.
Em ritual de ocultismo mulher mata criança de 11 anos em Luanda
Published: July 24, 2019 By: Angola 24 horas
Uma criança de 11 anos morreu, na terça-feira, depois de ter sido queimada por uma mulher, de 32 anos, que praticava um ritual de ocultismo, no município de Belas, em Luanda.
O oficial de informação do comando provincial da Polícia Nacional, inspector Euler Matari, disse à Angop que a mulher levou o menino até a sua residência, por volta das 10 horas da manhã, no distrito da Vila Verde, bairro das Tendas, onde cometeu o homicídio.
Euler Matari disse que a criança ficou queimada quando a mulher acendeu velas vermelhas e brancas e com um liquido inflamável, ainda por se identificar, atirou para o corpo do menino, resultando em morte imediata.
“Momentos depois tentou desfazer-se do cadáver, depositando-o num contentor de lixo, mas fruto de denúncia pública e do trabalho de investigação policial foi possível a identificação e detenção da mulher”, disse Euler Matari.
A vítima não tinha qualquer grau de parentesco com a mulher e a polícia desconhece ainda se a criança morava nos arredores ou não.
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.