At first sight this looks as ‘an ordinary or common’ murder case. So, no reason to include the crime on this website. However, upon further investigation there seems to be a ritualistic aspect. Apparently, preliminary reports indicate that the victim, the suspect’s daughter, had been murdered by her own father for ritual purposes and upon directives from an unnamed ritualist.
If future disclosures confirm or contradict the suspicion of a ritualistic act I will report it here. After all, the focus of this website is on ritual murders, i.e. murders committed for ritualistic purposes, based on superstition, and with the objective to increase the wealth, health, status, career or reputation of the perpetrator or an associate, a client or a relative. (webmaster FVDK).
UPDATE: Pastor killed daughter to fulfill ‘ritual obligations’ for power – Report
Published: January 18, 2021 By: GhanaWeb
Personnel of the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service has exhumed the body of the 9-year-old girl who was gruesomely murdered by her father who is a pastor.
Even before the suspect Pastor Boakye Gideon of the Heavens Kingdom Palace Ministry International in Accra is arraigned before court and provisionally charged for murder, preliminary reports suggest the girl was murdered for ritual purposes.
The pastor at the centre of the crime claims that he beat the poor girl for committing an offense and she collapsed and died but evidence from the scene of the crime MyNewsGh.com has been told, suggests the deceased was gruesomely murdered by her biological father upon directives from an unnamed ritualist.
Though police investigators are tight-lipped over details as they conduct a DNA analysis on the skeletal remains of the exhumed body to establish if indeed it is the body of the girl, close family members including an uncle disclosed to this portal they suspect she was deliberately murdered.
Pastor Gideon Boakye who is currently in the custody of Nkoranza Police Command in the Bono East Region upon his arrest on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, confessed that he killed his daughter and secretly buried her at Nkoranza cemetery. (NB The original article stated erroneously January 13, 2020 – italics FVDK)
He later led the police and the family members to Nkoranza cemetery where he showed them where he buried his daughter after the dastardly act.
Nyarfo Samuel, Uncle of the deceased speaking in an interview with an investigative team comprising Pure FM’s Osei Kwadwo and MyNewsGh.com’s reporters said, Boakye Queenster known popularly among relations as Maame Ama has been staying with her mother’s family in Nkoranza since she was born until recently when the man came for her.
Suspects in Tharaka Nithi ritual sacrifice remanded 7 days
Published: January 19, 2021 By: Nation, Kenya – Alex Njeru
What you need to know:
The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32.
Police in Tharaka Nithi County have seven days to conclude investigations into the gruesome murder of a nine-year-old girl from Mpingu village in Maara Sub-county.
The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighboring Ganga Ward.
In their application, police said they needed enough time to thoroughly probe the shocking incident believed to have been a ritual killing.
They further argued that the two should remain in police custody because their security is not guaranteed.
Before Senior Resident Magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team also said the first suspect, Mr Riungu, is a flight risk.
“Police are seeking seven days to conclude the investigation before preferring charges,” said the prosecution.
In their affidavit, police also told the court that Mr Riungu, who had visited Mr Mukira for his services, beheaded the Grade Two child of his neighbour.
Asked whether he was against the police request for him to remain in custody for the seven days, Mr Riungu did not object.
Mr Mukira requested to be released on bond arguing that he is old and sickly and that since the incident happened, he has been suffering from depression. He also cited a urinary tract infection.
The court remanded the two, nothing the need for them to undergo mental checks before standing trial.
• Court orders suspected witchdoctor and client detained for seven days for investigation and psychiatric assessment in connection with an apparent ritual beheading.
• When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.
An elderly man and his ‘client’ accused of beheading a nine-year-old girl will be detained for seven days on suspicion of witchcraft ritual murder.
The killer or killers ripped out the heart of the victim, Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni, who regularly delivered milk. She was brilliant, cheerful and talkative, a Chuka High Court was told on Tuesday.
The girl’s father, Ignasius Mutunga, who spoke at their home said his daughter was attending church when she was summoned to his home by the elderly traditional healer. She went willingly because she often delivered milk to him.
The girl’s brother, Evans Mawira, said he had asked the old man where his sister was. He said the old man told him to take his cows in exchange for her, the court heard.
Police in Tharaka Nithi county were allowed by a Chuka High Court on Tuesday to detain Suleiman Mati Mukira of Mpingu village in Mwimbi whom the police described as a “witchdoctor”.
Also ordered detained was his accused ‘client’, Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighbouring Ganga ward.
In an affidavit, police told the court Riungu had visited Mukira for “spiritual treatment” and beheaded the Grade 2 neighbour girl.
When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.
The detention is to allow for investigations. The two men have not been charged in connection with the Sunday afternoon murder and suspected witchcraft.
They will undergo a psychiatric assessment before being charged and entering a plea.
It is against the law to practice witchcraft and sentences can be as long as 10 years. Murder carries a life sentence.
Police told senior resident magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team considers Riungu a flight risk. They said both men’s lives were in danger from an enraged public if they are released.
Congregants at the nearby Ambassador for Christ Fellowship heard the girl’s screams, called police and rushed to the scene.
The body was found hidden in a gunny in a goat shed. The head was found in the compound.
The four-year old toddler whose body had been found in the Thuci river ten days ago has been laid to rest. The bereaved parents can only hope that there is justice, but they depend on action of the authorities. It is not the first murder case in the area. Three months ago a little girl was also found dead in a nearby water. What happens in Kenya these days? (webmaster FVDK)
A cry for justice: murdered boy buried in Embu County; Brayden Mutwiri murder linked to ritual killing
Published: January 23, 2021 By: KTN news, from The Standard – video
A somber mood engulfed the burial ceremony of Brayden Mutwiri, a four year old boy whose body was found decomposing at river Thuci last week in Embu County. The boy whose death is suspected to have been linked to a ritual killing was today laid to rest in Kanyuambora, Mbeere North Sub-County, Embu County.
It’s not the first time that Kenyans take the law into their own hands – and it won’t be the last time either. Of course, this is wrong. The rue of the law must apply. People who are suspected of committing a crime should be apprehended, put on trial, and an impartial judge should find them guilty or not-guilty. However, the anger of local residents sometimes unlashes forces which result in mob justice. It happened in Kavengero village, in Embu County, after the mutilated, dead body of a four-year old toddler had been found in a nearby river.
An autopsy must confirm whether this was a case of ritual murder. Meanwhile the local population has no doubts. Their anger was fed by the fact that three months ago, a little girl was also found dead and floating in the water.
The obligation of the state is to protect its citizens and to arrest, try and sentence people who break the law (webmaster FVDK).
Angry Residents Burn Down 4 Houses Belonging to Trader
Angry residents on Wednesday, January 13, descended on the homestead of a trader in Embu burning down four houses, whom they believed was behind the kidnapping and eventual murder of boy in the area.
Confirming the incident, Mbeere North Sub-County Police Commander Kilonzo Kivinda stated that the residents went on a rampage after police discovered the body of a four-year-old boy dumped in the Thuci river.
“The mob became violent and destroyed property owned by the trader over the death of the boy but we are investigating the matter,” he stated.
According to the security official, the residents raided the man’s shop setting it ablaze using petrol before heading to his homestead where they burnt down all the buildings there.
The mob also uprooted his Muguka crop in their outrage.
The police commander warned the residents against taking the law into their own hands adding that they had arrested the trader for questioning.
We have picked up the trader and he is assisting us with investigations,” he stated.
The body of the boy who had gone missing in December 2020, was discovered by criminal investigation officers in between rocks in the river with the tongue missing.
The body was taken to Siakago Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem.
Area chief Charles Njeru noted that the residents launched a search for the boy when he had gone missing.
He added that the boy was the second child from the area to be retrieved from the river.
“Three months ago, a little girl was also found dead and floating in the water,” he added.
Recently, there has been an upsurge in ritualistic murders or allegations of ritual killings in the country. See my previous postings (January 2021, December 2020, November 2020) on suspected and reported cases – although we always have to bear in mind that very likely the number of suspected and discovered ritual murders are only the tip of the iceberg.
The reason for this apparent increase in the number of ritual murders is not known.
The case reported below has all the characteristics of a ritual murder. However, since the body found had decomposed beyond recognition after remaining in water for weeks, an autopsy will be needed the determine the cause of the victim’s death.
It was reported that three months ago another child had been found dead in the river. (webmaster FVDK).
Ritual killing? Embu pupil says he slaughtered cousin, drank blood
• Mutwiri went missing in late December from his home in Kavengero, Mbeere North.
• The suspect and his accomplices lured him as he played at home and took him to the river.
A Embu boy, 16, led police in the search and recovery of the body of his four-year-old cousin he allegedly murdered and drank his blood in a suspected ritual sacrifice.
The Standard 8 pupil on Wednesday led detectives to River Thuci where they recovered the body of Brayden Mutwiri. It had decomposed beyond recognition after remaining in water for weeks. Mutwiri went missing in late December from his home in Kavengero, Mbeere North.
The suspect and one of his accomplices were arrested on Monday and held at Siakago police station. He directed the police to the river where the body was found stuck between two rocks.
Speaking to the press at the scene, their uncle Nephat Nyaga said the suspect narrated how he and his accomplices murdered the boy, drank his blood, then threw his body into the river.
The suspect and his accomplices lured the boy as he played at home and took him to the river.
Area chief Charles Njeru told the press that the boy mysteriously disappeared from home in late December and residents had been searching for him since.
Njeru said the bereaved family will have to wait for the postmortem result to ascertain that the body is Mutwiri’s.
The local administrator said this was the second incident of a missing child being found dead in the river. The first was a girl who went missing and her body retrieved from the river three months ago.
Njeru cautioned residents against settling their family grudges by attacking and killing children, urging them instead to follow the legal procedures of resolving disputes.
Residents condemned the killing and called for quick investigations so the killers are brought to book.
Purity Muringo said parents from the area now live in fear for the security of their schoolchildren. She said lives are at stake. Muringo called for thorough investigations to unravel the mysterious killings of innocent children.
Warning: the graphic contents of the following articles may shock readers. (webmaster FVDK).
Girl’s severed head found in ‘witch doctor’s’ house
Published: January 19, 2021 By: The Star, Kenya – By Cyrus Ombati and Gerald Mutehia
•Residents at a church at Magutuni said they heard screams from the girl, so they rushed to the scene, a so-called ‘witch doctor’s’ house.
• She had been slaughtered, and so had a goat. The men were feasting on meat – whose?
Police are holding a suspected witch doctor and his client after a nine-year-old girl was beheaded and her heart cut out in a ritual murder in Tharaka Nithi.
When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his client – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose hearts had been ripped out.
The girl was a milkmaid who regularly delivered milk and was seeking payment.
Congregants from a nearby church said they had reprimanded Suleiman Mati Mukira 94, from Mpingu village, Kiroo sub-location and his client. The police report also named Mukira.
Congregants heard the girls’ screams, raised the alarm and rushed to the scene.
The body in a gunny bag and the severed head were recovered from the witch doctor’s home on Sunday afternoon.
Police said they demanded to be shown the girl who screamed and was shown a girl’s headless torso.
The homeowner told police his client had slaughtered the girl as a sacrifice.
Police identified the girl as Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni who had delivered milk to the homestead.
The men turned violent when police were called to the scene and conducted a search leading to more discoveries.
The body of the child was found hidden in a goat shed. The head was found nearby.
Police said they also found slaughtered chickens whose hearts had been ripped out.
Eastern head of DCI Jeremiah Ikiao said they are trying to establish if the murder was isolated or part of serial ritual murders.
“It looks like a ritual but we will know more as investigators work on the incident,” he said. The remains of the girl were moved to the mortuary.
Police plan to produce the two in court and seek time to hold them while they conduct investigations.
“OCS Magutuni, DCI officers and SCPC Maara rushed to the scene and found the child having been killed. Her body was concealed in a goat shed, her head was cut off and placed outside the goat shed.
“Outside the compound was a slaughtered goat. Inside Mukira’s house was a slaughtered chicken and witchcraft items,” a police report seen by the Star reads.
Preliminary observation has shown that the girl’s heart was missing, police said. Witchcraft paraphernalia were found nearby. Police collected two blood-stained pangas.
Police at Ntumu station are holding the suspects as they investigate.
The body was taken to Chuka Hospital morgue for a postmortem.
Kenya: Murdered Tharaka Nithi Girl Victim of Ritual Sacrifice
Published: January 19, 2021 By: Nation Media Group, Kenya – Alex Njeru
A key suspect in Sunday’s bizarre murder of a nine-year-old girl from Mpingu village in Maara Sub-county, Tharaka Nithi County, has claimed that he was offering a sacrifice to a witchdoctor.
In a shocking revelation to the parents of the murdered girl at Chogoria Police Station where the 32-year-old man is in custody, he said he had been directed to sacrifice a girl, goat and a chicken and surrender the hearts so that he could be protected from his relatives “who were planning to kill him”.
The suspect is being held together with the alleged 94-year-old witchdoctor. The suspect from Kariakomo village in Ganda ward, and who is a frequent visitor of the old man according to villagers, confessed that he killed a white chicken, a goat and the girl; whom the old man called from a nearby church.
Addressing the media, Maara Sub-county Police Commander Mohammed Jarso said the hearts of the slaughtered goat and chicken were missing but that of the girl was intact.
“The girl was beheaded but no part of the body was missing,” said Mr Jarso.
Police said the suspected witchdoctor claimed that his client turned violent and killed the goat and chicken before turning on the girl, who was picking some passion fruits at his farm.
Pick a bottle
He claimed that he had called the girl to pick a bottle that she had used to deliver some milk to him in the morning.
Mr Jarso said the matter is still under investigation, but added that the key suspect could be suffering from mental illness.
According to police, the old man reported the murder.
The villagers, among them worshippers at the Full Gospel Church led by Ms Josephine Mpuria, however claim that he rushed to the police after sensing danger from the residents who were threatening to lynch the two.
Ms Mpuria said the old man has been suspected of practicing witchcraft for a long time, but most of his customers come from far-off places.
“Everybody in the village knows the old man as a witch-doctor and it has never been a secret,” said Ms Mpuria. She added that they suspect the old man has been demanding human sacrifices from his clients, and asked the police to conduct thorough investigations including searching his houses and farm.
Mr Evans Mawira, the girl’s brother, said that, when asked what had happened, the old man told him that he was ready to give him his only dairy cow in exchange for the girl.
“When I pushed the old man from where he was sitting down, I discovered the head of my sister and screamed in shock,” said Mawira.
Mr Ignatius Mutunga, the girl’s father, who received news of the heinous act while in Nairobi where he works, pleaded for justice to be done noting that the old man should not try to exonerate himself from the crime.
He said that, although he had been hearing that the old man is a witchdoctor, he has been selling milk to him and his children delivered it when they were not in school.
“I have lost my loving daughter and I am pleading for justice,” said Mr Mutunga.
The incident has left the villagers in shocked.
The two are expected to be arraigned in Chuka today (Tuesday).
The story presented below is not about ritual killing, or muti murders, as these crimes based on superstition and witchcraft are called in Southern Africa. It’s about the violent death of children including muti murder, however.
As stated in the article below, “According to official figures, around 1,000 children are murdered every year in South Africa, nearly three a day. But that statistic, horrific as it may be, may be an undercount.”.
The same applies for muti murders. The muti cases known are just the top of the iceberg.
For this reason I have decided to include the following article which was originally published by Associated Press (webmaster FVDK).
In South Africa, child homicides show violence ‘entrenched’
Published: December 22, 2020 By: KSAT.com / Associated Press – Gerald Imray And Bram Janssen
CAPE TOWN – At night, Amanda Zitho worries her little boy is shivering and cold in his coffin and yearns to take him a blanket. She knows Wandi’s dead and gone and it’s senseless, but that doesn’t stop the ache.
Wandi was 5 when he was killed in April, allegedly strangled with a rope by a Johannesburg neighbor — another dead child in a land where there are too many.
According to official figures, around 1,000 children are murdered every year in South Africa, nearly three a day. But that statistic, horrific as it is, may be an undercount.
Shanaaz Mathews thinks many more children are victims of homicides that are not investigated properly, not prosecuted or completely missed by authorities. The official figures are “just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mathews, the director of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town and probably the country’s leading expert on child homicides.
In a country where more than 50 people are murdered every day, children are not special and are not spared.
“Violence has become entrenched” in the psyche of South Africa, Mathews said.
“How do we break that cycle?” she asked.
In 2014, she embarked on a research project to uncover the real extent of those child deaths. She did it by getting forensic pathologists to put the dead bodies of hundreds of newborn babies, infants, toddlers and teenagers on examination tables to determine exactly how they died.
Child death reviews are common in developed countries but had never been done in South Africa before Mathews’ project. As she feared, the findings were grim.
Over a year, the pathologists examined the corpses of 711 children at two mortuaries in Cape Town and Durban and concluded that more than 15% of them died as a result of homicides. For context, Britain’s official child death review last year found 1% of its child deaths were homicides. Mathews’ research showed homicide was the second most common cause of death for children in those two precincts.
“And the numbers are not going down,” she said. “If anything, they are going up.”
There are two patterns in South Africa. Teenagers are being swallowed up in the country’s desperately high rate of violent street crime. But also, large numbers of young children aged 5 and under are victims of deadly violence meted out not by an offender with a gun or a knife on a street corner, but by mothers and fathers, relatives and friends, in kitchens and living rooms, around dinner tables and in front of TVs.
Fatal child abuse is where the justice system often fails and cases are “falling through the cracks,” Mathews said.
There was, she says, the case of a 9-month-old child who had seizures after being dropped off at day care. Though rushed to the hospital, the child died.
Doctors found severe head injuries and told the mother to go to the police, but no one followed up. The mother never reported the death. When investigators tried to revive the case nearly two years later, the baby had long been buried and the evidence was cold.
Joan van Niekerk, a child protection expert, recounts numerous cases tainted by police ineptitude and corruption.
“I sometimes go through stages when I am more angry with the system than I am with the perpetrators and that’s not good,” she said. She said justice for children in South Africa is unacceptably “hard to achieve.”
And failures of justice sometimes lead to more deaths.
The neighbor originally charged with killing Wandi Zitho was released and the case provisionally dropped because the police didn’t deliver enough evidence, possibly because of a backlog in analyzing forensic evidence, according to one policeman working the case. Months later, the woman was arrested again and charged with murdering two other children.
Then there was the case of Tazne van Wyk.
Tazne was 8 when her body was found in February dumped in a drain near a highway nearly two weeks after she disappeared. She had been abducted, raped and murdered, police said.
Tazne’s parents blame the correctional system for paroling the man charged with their daughter’s murder despite a history of violent offenses against children. He’d already violated his parole once. They also fault police for failing to act on a tip that might have saved Tazne in the hours after her disappearance.
The case was high profile. The Minister of Police spoke at Tazne’s funeral and admitted errors. “We have failed this child,” he conceded, pointing at Tazne’s small white coffin, trimmed in gold. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the van Wyk home and promised meaningful action.
Nine months later, Tazne’s parents feel it was all lip service.
“How many children after Tazne have already passed away? Have been kidnapped? Have been murdered? Still nothing is happening,” said her mother, Carmen van Wyk.
She sheds no tears. Instead, anger bubbles inside her and her community. Houses connected with the suspect and members of his family were set on fire in the wake of Tazne’s killing.
It’s not just on the police to stop the abuse, said Marc Hardwick, who was a policeman for 15 years, 10 of them as a detective in a child protection unit.
He recalls one case, from 20 years ago. A 6-year-old girl was beaten to death by her father because she was watching cartoons and, distracted as any 6-year-old would be, wasn’t listening to him.
When they arrested the father and took him away — he was later sentenced to life in prison — the victim’s 9-year-old cousin approached Hardwick and said: “I think you stopped my bad dreams today.”
Clearly, children in that household had been living a nightmare, and the other adults had remained silent, said Hardwick: “The reality is that child abuse is not a topic people want to talk about.”
Allegedly, another case of ritual murder in Zimbabwe. A 6-year-old girl brutally murdered in Mwenezi, for apparent superstitious reasons. Zimbabwe has not yet recovered from one of its most notorious ritual murder cases in its recent history – the murder of 7-year-old Tapiwa Makore, in Murehwa village, in September 2020, extensively covered on this site – and of the cruel murder of a juvenile in Gokomere, Masvingo last month.
It is difficult to say whether there is in increase in ritualistic activities and murders in Zimbabwe or – also a likely explanation – there is an increased attention of local and regional authorities as well as the press – for this type of crimes and to report actual or suspected incidents. (Webmaster FVDK)
Mwenezi girl (6) killed in suspected ritual murder
In a yet another case of ritual murder, two men from Mwenezi allegedly murdered a six-year-old girl and burnt her body after removing her private parts.
This comes after the dust has hardly settled following the murder of a 7-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, which was followed by another gruesome murder of a juvenile in Gokomere, Masvingo last month, yet another murder case of a minor has been recorded in Mwenezi.
The suspects, Taruziva Sithole (37) and Shackmore Dube (26), have since appeared in court to answer to murder charges following an incident which happened on the 29th of December, 2020.
The deceased, Irene Sithole, allegedly died after being assaulted by her uncle, Taruziva Sithole, who is said to have carried the body to a nearby bush where Shackmore Dube allegedly cut off the deceased’s private parts.
The two accused allegedly burnt the deceased’s body using firewood and were arrested after villagers reported the matter to Mwenezi police.
Police officers found the deceased’s burnt skull, teeth and ribs at the crime scene.
The two accused persons were remanded in custody to the 14th of January 2021.
Allegedly, five girls have been murdered for ritualistic purposes in the past two years. Are these murders linked? Is a serial murderer responsible for these heinous crimes? Or have all five girls been lost to ritual killings?
Unfortunately, information is lacking wether anyone has been caught in relation to these murders. But the residents of the area are outspoken: “These senseless killings have to be stopped by the government.”
Indeed, the government must protect its citizens and arrest and bring to trial perpetrators of ugly crimes such as kidnapping, rape, torture and murder. (Webmaster FVDK)
Mutilated body of girl, 14, discovered in thicket
Published: December 17, 2020 By: The Standard, Kenya – Osinde Obare
Residents of Moi’s Bridge Township are mourning the death of a 14- year-old girl in a suspected ritual killing.
The mutilated body of Mary Erwusa, a pupil at Nabiswa primary school, was discovered in a sack dumped at Baharani forest near the township.
Erwasu had been sent by her parents to a local shop on Tuesday at around 9am to buy sacks to store maize when she was waylaid by unknown assailants.
After the disappearance of the girl, residents formed four groups and embarked on a search mission up to midnight.
On Wednesday morning the group discovered the body in a nearby forest.
George Omenga, the girl’s father, strongly condemned the attack that took away his daughter’s life.
“I had sent my daughter to buy some sacks to store maize…It is a beastly act and it has left us with a big mark,” said Omenge.
Maurice Odour, a resident, said they suspected that the deceased was gang-raped before she was killed.
He said Erwusa’s killing brings to five the number of minors killed in the past two years under similar circumstances.
Odour linked the killing to a ritual owing to the state of the body.
“We have lost five girls to ritual killings. These senseless killings have to be stopped by the government,” he said.
Late last year, Stacy Nasibo, 10, disappeared before her body was discovered at a thicket near Moi’s bridge.
On February 15 this year, Lucy Wanjiku, 13, was murdered and her body dumped at the same thicket.
The trial wil start tomorrow, on December 29, 2020 (webmaster FVDK).
Suspect tells court police offered K300,000, a house for him to implicate 2 soldiers indicted for murder of 7 Lusaka men
Published: December 23, 2020 By: The Mast On Line, Mwaka Ndawa – Zambia
A WITCH doctor has told the Lusaka High Court that senior investigation officers at Lusaka Central Police offered him a house and K300,000 to frame two soldiers, Lucky Siame and Elvis Nyanga, in the murder of seven men in Lusaka.
Lewis Chishimba Bwalya of Kalundu, Lusaka West, told justice Florence Lengalenga that the police charged him with seven counts of murder because he refused to connive with them in framing Siame and Nyanga for the ritual killings that hit Lusaka in 2016.
In this matter, Bwalya is jointly charged with Siame, Christopher Kasapo, a Zambia Air Force office assistant and Elvis Nyanga, for the alleged murder of seven men between March 5 and April 17, 2016 by removing their hearts and mutilating their ears, and male organs.
In his defence, Bwalya narrated that on April 17, whilst he was sleeping at his home, he heard a knock on the door to which he asked who it was and someone responded they were police officers.
“I dressed up and went to check who was at the door and indeed I noticed it was the police. They asked if I was Lewis Chishimba Bwalya and I confirmed and they told me they had come to pick me up. I accompanied them to Matero Police Station where I was detained for 30 minutes and later taken to Northmead Police,” Bwalya narrated.
He told court that at 10:00 hours on a Sunday, he was taken to Lusaka Central Police Station where police officers requested him to assist them.
“They started telling me that ‘we want you to help us as police, we should work together and put our minds together. We want you to assist us. There are suspects we have apprehended, we will show you these suspects so that you know them and you should assist us at court’. They also told me that because I’m a witch doctor, I should tell the court that I gave the suspects charms for cleansing evil spirits. I told them that my job as a witch doctor was that of selling charms and not for cleansing,” Bwalya narrated.
“I told them that I can’t stand as a witness against people I don’t know. They got me and put me in a cell. After 10 minutes, they called the captain of the cells. They brought another person and I heard them say this person should not mix with me. The person was badly beaten and was handcuffed and limping. I only came to know this person at court as Lwambazi Mumbo.”
Bwalya said on May 9, 2016, he was taken to Woodlands Police Station where the police officers read a statement to him in English and asked him to sign it.
Bwalya said he told the police officers that he could not sign the statement because he does not understand English.
“They told me it was for the record’s sake that I sign the documents to which I complied as I had the thought of going home,” Bwalya said.
He recounted that on May 29, the police officers picked him up from the cells and took him to force headquarters for interrogations.
“The boss offered some chips and a drink (Fanta) and asked me to be calm. After I finished eating, they (police) asked me to be a state witness and testify against the two soldiers, Siame and Nyanga and frame them for murdering people in Lusaka’s Zingalume area,” Bwalya said.
“They offered to buy me a house in Kasama and a K300,000. I refused to be a false witness because I am a Christian but the police officers insisted that I testify against the soldiers and they would tell me what to say before court. They said that I should tell the court that Siame and Nyanga came to me for exorcism but I refused because I didn’t want to sin in the eyes of God as it was a heavy burden.”
Bwalya said the police officers decided to give him three days to think about their proposal and after three days they asked him if he had made a decision but one of the officers said he was a fool and was wasting their time to which he was later detained.
He said before he was apprehended, Jabes told him that information had circulated that people were being murdered and their body parts were being sold to Indians and Chinese in exchange for dollars.
Bwalya said he decided to inform his neighbour Kasapo about what was going on.
“Kasapo was my neighbour in Zingalume. We used to live in the same yard while I knew Siame and Nyanga when we were jointly charged. I am asking this court to consider my evidence,” said Bwalya.
In cross-examination by state advocate Frank Sikazwe, Bwalya denied selling male organs saying Jabe was the one who informed him about the killings and he informed the police.
He denied being cautioned by Lwambazi Mumbo, a witch doctor, against killing his uncle in case they met him anywhere.