Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Foto de arquivo: Crianças albinas em Manica (2017)

Published: February 22, 2018
By: Amnesty International

DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM

An estimated 30,000 people with albinism experienced discrimination and were ostracized; many lived in fear of their lives. Incidents of persecution increased; at least 13 people with albinism were known to have been killed although figures are likely to have been greater. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK). The killings were fuelled by superstition or myths about the magical powers of people with albinism. Most killings took place in the central and northern provinces, the country’s poorest regions.

A seven-year-old boy with albinism was murdered on 31 January by four unidentified men who broke into his house and abducted him while the family slept, in Ngaúma district, Niassa province. On 28 May, a group of unidentified assailants abducted a three-year-old boy from his mother in Angónia district, Tete province. On 13 September, a 17-year-old youth was killed for his body parts and organs in Benga area, Moatize district, in Tete province. The attackers removed his brain, hair, and arm bones. None of those responsible for the killings were arrested or brought to justice by the end of the year.

Despite public outcry, the government did little to address the problem. A strategy was designed to stop the killings; however, this was not implemented, allegedly because of a lack of resources.

Source: Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique

Cite as:Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2017/18 – Mozambique, 22 February 2018, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5a9938aaa.html [accessed 10 May 2019]

Political map of Mozambique

Albino boy abducted from his home in Mozambique (2018 report)

Picture not related to the case reported

Published: July 11, 2018
By: News24

A 10-year-old albino boy was reportedly kidnapped from his home in the early hours of Monday in northern Mozambique.

According to BBC, the boy’s father, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. 

Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted. 

Police said the matter was under investigation.

A report by AFP said that albinos in Mozambique were often hunted for their body parts, which were used as charms and magical potions in the belief that they brought wealth and good luck.

More than 100 attacks against albinos in Mozambique have been reported since 2014, according to the United Nations. (bold letter type and italics added by the webmaster FVDK)

Albino boy, 10, abducted from his home in Mozambique – report

Related article:
How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

DW / Hole made in the bedroom wall where the kidnapped child was sleeping

Published: July 11, 2018
By DW (Deutsche Welle)

A 10-year-old albino child was abducted at dawn on Monday (July 9) at his parents’ residence in the city of Lichinga. This is the first abduction of an albino this year in Niassa. The case is already in the hands of the criminal investigation police SERNIC.

Just after the country had reported a year free of abductions or murder of albinos, kidnappers infiltrated the boy’s home through a hole in the wall of the room where the child slept with his siblings.

Pires Ernesto, father of the minor, who was working on a night shift at the time of the abduction,  sadly told DW :” My brother Carlito called to tell me that my son had disappeared , when I asked him how it happened, he said they had made a hole in the wall and had taken the child out of the room, and said that they were informing the neighbours about what happened, and when I returned to the house at 1 a.m. I did not actually find the child. ”

According to BBC, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted.

The kidnapping of albinos that have occurred in Mozambique are mostly related to superstitious beliefs. It is believed that certain body parts of albinos possess magic powers and, because of this, many end up being killed or mutilated.

Resurgence of abduction causes concern

Trindade Guilherme, a representative of the association ‘Amor à Vida’ [Love of Life] in Niassa province, views the re-occurrence of albino kidnappings as a great concern and calls upon the authorities to be swifter in investigations so that the perpetrators are found and punished.

“It is sad, that there were a lot of kidnappings in the past and suddenly it was over, but this morning in the ‘Niassa I’ neighbourhood there was a kidnapping and we became worried again. We ask the police to re-double their investigative efforts so that we can live with more tranquility, ” he says.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

After the incident was reported to the police by the minor’s relatives, the authorities went to the scene, said Alves Mate, a spokesman for the Niassa corporation. He assured that the police are investigating the matter, but did not give further details.

The spokesman for the police in Niassa said:”As soon as the police received the information about this incident, the utmost attention was paid to the case and it was immediately referred to SERNIC (National Criminal Investigation Service), since this is a matter that is not only for the responsibility of the PRM”,

Investigation

Alves Mate reminded us that “the investigations take a while but, at this moment, our police are already working together with SERNIC to solve this abduction case.”

In Mozambique, there are laws to protect people with albinism. However, authorities often fail to catch the kidnappers. There are few cases reported to the police and, on the other hand, police does not have all the necessary resources to hunt down the criminals.

Source: How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique

Portuguese version:
Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Crianças albinas. Foto simbólica
  • Data 09.07.2018
  • Autoria Manuel David (Lichinga)

Uma criança albina foi raptada na madrugada desta segunda-feira (09.07.) na residência dos seus pais na cidade de Lichinga. Trata-se do primeiro rapto de um albino este ano no Niassa. O caso já está nas mãos do SERNIC.

Pouco depois de o país assinalar um ano sem raptos ou assassinatos de albinos, raptores infiltraram-se na casa dos pais do menino por um buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia juntamente com outros irmãos.

Triste, Pires Ernesto, pai do menor, conta: “Quando cheguei do serviço, por volta de uma hora, o meu irmão Carlito chamou-me para me dizer que o meu filho tinha desaparecido e perguntei-lhe como é que isso tinha acontecido, pelo que me respondeu furaram a parede e tiraram a criança do quarto. Disse ainda que estavam a informar aos vizinhos [sobre o sucedido]. Quando regressei à casa na verdade não encontrei a criança”.

Angriff auf Albinos in Niassa (DW/M. David)
Buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia

De recordar que os raptos de albinos que têm ocorrido em Moçambique estão na sua maioria relacionados com superstições. Acredita-se que determinadas partes do corpo dos albinos possuem poderes mágicos e por causa disso muitos acabam por ser mortos ou mutilados.

Ressurgimento de raptos causa preocupação

Trindade Guilherme, representante da associação Amor à Vida na província do Niassa, encara o ressurgimento dos raptos de albinos com uma grande preocupação e apela as autoridades para serem mais céleres nas investigações para que os autores sejam encontrados e punidos.

“É triste, anteriormente ocorriam muitos raptos e de repente tudo acabou. Já pensávamos que situações do género tinham acabado definitivamente. Mas esta manhã no Bairro de Niassa I houve um rapto e voltamos a ficar preocupados. Pedimos a polícia para que redobre os esforços de investigação para que se possa viver com mais tranquilidade”, lamenta.

Trindade Guilherme (DW/M. David)
Trindade Guilherme

Depois da ocorrência comunicada à polícia pelos familiares do menor, as autoridades deslocaram-se ao local como disse Alves Mate, porta-voz da corporação Niassa. Ele garantiu que a polícia está a investigar o assunto, mas não avançou detalhes.

“Logo que a Polícia recebeu a informação sobre esta ocorrência dedicou a máxima atenção ao caso que foi imediatamente encaminhado para o SERNIC (Serviço Nacional de Investigação Criminal),  visto tratar-se de um assunto que não é da competência da Polícia”, esclarece o porta-voz da Polícia em Niassa.

Investigação

Alves Mate lembra que “a investigação demora um certo tempo, mas neste momento a nossa Polícia já está a trabalhar juntamente com o SERNIC para desvendar mais este rapto.”

Em Moçambique, há leis que protegem as pessoas com albinismo. Mas, muitas vezes, as autoridades não conseguem apanhar os raptores. Por um lado, há poucas denúncias e faltam meios à Polícia.

Shown is a screenshot. The original article contains a video / audio (FVDK)

LEIA MAIS (= Read more)

Moçambique não regista há um ano casos de rapto ou assassinato de albinos

Dia Internacional para a Consciencialização do Albinismo, uma data instituída pelas Nações Unidas, celebrada este ano (13.06) sob o lema “brilhando a nossa luz para o Mundo”. (13.06.2018)   

Moçambique: 4 anos depois, rapto de albino continua por esclarecer

Família de albino raptado há quatro anos queixa-se da inércia das autoridades na resolução do caso. Polícia diz que a investigação está agora nas mãos da Procuradoria. (06.06.2018)   

Albinos beneficiam de consultas oftalmolóicas gratuitas, em Moçambique

Cerca de 100 albinos participaram de uma campanha para melhorar a visão e sensibilizar sobre os cuidados com os olhos. Ação foi encerrada este domingo (10.09), em Maputo. (10.09.2017)   

Anistia Internacional denuncia nova onda de ataques a albinos no Malawi

Malawi registou nova onda de assassinatos e ataques dirigidos a pessoas com albinismo nos últimos meses, apoiados por um sistema judicial deficiente, denunciou a Amnistia Internacional (13.06.2017)   

Source: Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa

Mozambique: Arrests over murder of boy with albinism

People with albinism often face discrimination

Published: May 7, 2019
By: BBC – Jose Tembe – BBC Africa, Maputo

Police in Mozambique say they have arrested two people over the abduction and murder of a 12-year old boy with albinism. 

The suspects confessed to the murder, with one of them saying that they had killed the boy “to extract his bones”. A third suspect is being sought, police said. 

The 12-year-old’s body has been recovered. He was abducted from his home in the Muchelelene locality in northern Nampula province last week.

There has been a spate of killings of people with albinism in parts of southern and East Africa, with their body parts used to make charms and potions by witchdoctors.

In Mozambique, people convicted of kidnapping and killing albinos have been sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Source: Mozambique arrests over murder of boy with albinism
Africa Live 6-7 May, 2019 (7:25) as it happened – BBC News
Jose Tembe – BBC Africa, Maputo

Nigeria, Delta State: Oghara leaders read riot act to ritualists

Published: May 6, 2019
By: Isaac Markson

Leaders in Oghara, the hometown of former Gov. James Ibori has advised criminals and ritual killers to relocate from the kingdom or be ready to face the wrath of security agencies.

The warning was handed down after a strategic meeting held at the residence of Gov. James Ibori on Saturday night which lasted for over two hours.

The decision of the Oghara leaders at the meeting which was held behind closed doors was made known by Kparobo Ehvwubare who briefed journalists at the end of the meeting explained that haven deliberated extensively on the security situation in the kingdom, warned ritualists who go about killing people and removing parts of their body to desist forthwith or be ready to face the wrath of security agencies in the area.

Oghara leaders also among other things appealed to security agents in the area to be alive to their responsibility, praised Ethiopie West Council Chairman, Solomon Golley for vigorously fighting crime in the area.

Earlier, Oghara Leaders under the auspices of Oghara Advancement Foundation, OAF was at the residence of Gov. James Ibori to officially briefed him on the activities and successes of the foundation while he was away.

The Chairman of Oghara Advancement Foundation, Chief Emmanuel Ighomena informed Chief Ibori that following challenges that confronted the kingdom while he was away, the traditional ruler of Oghara kingdom, Orefe 111 set up six member committee to find lasting solution to some of the challenges bedevilling the kingdom.

Chief Ighomena also told the former governor that in a bid to find solution to some of the challenges facing the kingdom, the committee organised a summit tagged “Oghara summit 2016” that brought together Oghara people both at home and abroad, which was held in Asaba, noted that at the end of the summit, resolutions were made, some of them has been achieved while others are still on the pipeline; averted that after the summit, the traditional ruler of Oghara kingdom, Orefe 111 inaugurated a twenty member committee to drive OAF agenda.

He however informed Ibori that during the constitution of the committee, he was made the Grand patron of the group.

While responding, Chief Ibori thanked the body for a job well done while he was away, promised contribute his quota towards the advancement of Oghara, urged all and sundry to also contribute their little quota as he cannot do it alone.

Ibori however lamented the sudden degeneration of traditional norms and values among the people challenged OAF the revive the hitherto traditional norms and values of the kingdom, where Oghara was a reference point to others.

Source: Killings: Oghara leaders read riot act to ritualists, as OAF visit Ibori

Nigeria, Niger State: brothers arrested for alleged ritual killing

The suspects

Published: May 6, 2019
By: Enyioha Opara, Minna – Punch Nigeria 

The Niger State Police Command has apprehended three brothers for ritual killing in the Borgu Local Government Area of the state.

The suspects, Saminu Usman,25; Yusuf Usman,22; and  Muhammadu Usman, 35, all of Janruwa village in the Borgu LGA were reportedly arrested by a team of policemen attached to the New Bussa division after a complaint by the father of their victim, Yakubu Garba.

It was learnt that the suspects abducted one Shehu Garba and whisked him away to an unknown location where they planned to kill him for rituals.

Northern City News gathered on Sunday that the men took their victim to a bush where they killed him and cut off one of his hands.

One of the suspects, Saminu, alleged that his eldest brother, Mohammadu, instructed them to cut off their victim’s hand for ritual to enable them to be rich.

He stated, “It was actually not our intention to kill our victim for rituals. But after killing him, we cut off his hand, which we planned to use for ritual, before we were arrested by the police.

“I don’t know what to say; but we have disappointed our parents and other family members. Imagine three brothers going to jail at the same time; we have ruined our lives.”

The command Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed the incident, saying the suspects had confessed to the crime.

Abubakar said the three brothers killed their victim for ritual purposes, adding that the matter had been charged to court.

Source: We have ruined our lives – Brothers arrested for alleged ritual killing

Liberia: ritualistic killings spark mob action in Maryland County (2005 article)

There are so many reports on ritualistic killings in Liberia, one should almost lose track. Below is another article, dating from 2005, on ritualistic murders in Maryland County, perhaps the most notorious region of Liberia as far as ritual murders are concerned. (webmaster FVDK)

Hanging of Convicted Ritual Killers (‘Harper Seven’) in Harper City, Maryland County (1979) – Picture by FVDK Fred van der Kraaij

Published: January 27, 2005
By Josephus Moses Gray – The Perspective 

Some panic-stricken inhabitants of the southeastern county of Maryland, mainly in Harper city, over the weekend took the law into their hands when they staged a violent protest over the wave of ritualistic killings which has re-surfaced in the area.

The county is noted for ritualistic killings, despite serious actions taken over the years by the Liberian government – by putting perpetrators to death by hanging while giving others lengthy prison sentences.

According to latest report emerging from the county, hundreds of angry residents came out to protest the alleged failure of the appropriate security apparatus to curtail the wave of ritualistic killings in the county.

During the violence demonstration staged by the youth of the county, several persons were victimized while several business houses and private homes were reportedly attacked and looted by the mobs. Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Kabineh Ja’neh told journalists in Monrovia this week that the mobs attacked the National Police Headquarters on Green Street in Harper and released several prisoners sentenced for various crimes.

The Justice Minister explained further that the mobs ransacked the Harper Police headquarters and flogged two detainees severely. The two victims, according to minister, have been accused of being involved in the ritualistic killing in the county.

In order to restore calm in the area, the transitional government has imposed a dust to dawn curfew in the county, while at the same time the government has instituted a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the mob action.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein told journalists in Monrovia that the UN Mission in Liberia is carefully studying the situation in the county.

According to the UN diplomat, UN peacekeepers are on standby to move into the county should the situation continue in an effort to help ensure the safety and security of the people of Maryland. Warning the residents to remain in doors during he curfew which run from 6: PM to 6:AM daily, ambassador Klein said UNMIL will provide full security for the people of the county.

The situation in the past led to severe punishment administered against convicted sons and daughters of the county, with some of them being publicly hanged to death, while others were given long prison sentences. Among those hanged were the former Superintendent of the County, James Anderson, Jr., Allen Yancy, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Oldman Barclay and Madam Wreh Tarnyonoh, just to name few. They were hanged on 17th February 1979 during the regime of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. after a guilty verdict was brought down against them for killing a popular Kru traditional singer Moses Tweh.

Similar situation re-emerged in 1986 and took away the lives of two little kids in the county. Those connected to the act include former NDPL county chairman, David Clark, Alfred Davies, Jasper Bedell, Gbason Toe and one Gardner. They were arrested and brought to Monrovia where they were sentenced to prolong detention while under going investigation.

Another 200 persons were round-up by the former Superintendent of the county now Minister of Internal affairs, Minister H. Dan Morais for the mysterious death of Lt. Alphonso Chalde, former employee of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).

Source: Ritualistic Killings Spark Mob Action in Maryland

Malawi sentences man to death for murder of albino teenager

Published: May 3, 2019
By: Reuters – reporting by Frank Phiri; editing by Alison Williams

BLANTYRE (Reuters) – A man was sentenced to death in Malawi on Friday for killing an albino teenager in a case has become a campaign issue ahead of a national election this month, with the opposition accusing the government of inaction. 

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in rural Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, fuelling ritual killings particularly targeting people with albinism because of the belief that their body parts can increase wealth. 

In the first such punishment for the abduction and killing of people with albinism, Justice Mclean Kamwambe said he wanted to send a stern warning to would-be offenders. 

“The death sentence is appropriate as it reflects a sense of justice in the circumstances,” he said at Malawi’s High Court. 

The judge said the killings and abductions of albinos since 2014 had tainted the international image of Malawi, and had reduced the country to “a state of terror”. 

The focus on albino murders has sparked finger-pointing amongst politicians ahead of the election on May, 21 with the main opposition party, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), accusing government of doing little to stop the killings. 

The government, which formed a judicial inquiry into the killings and abductions, has denied this saying it cannot interfere in work of the police and courts. 

The government has also offered cash rewards for information about the abductions and killings, which have reached at least 150 since 2014 according to the United Nations. 

According to the court’s ruling, the convicted 28-year-old confessed to the murder and said he wanted to use the 19-year-old victims’ body parts to become rich on instructions from a witch-doctor in neighboring Mozambique. 

The superstitions, stigmas and maiming and killing of people with albinism is visible across a number of southern and East African countries with cases reported in Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa with a lucrative market for the trade in albino body parts, in the region and internationally. 

Source: Malawi sentences man to death for murder of albino teenager

Nigeria: residents nab two suspected ritual killers in Ondo

Published: May 1, 2019
By: Channels Television

Two suspected ritualists who allegedly have been killing women in the Akoko area of Ondo state, removing their breasts and other sensitive organs were on Tuesday caught by vigilant residents in Arigidi-Akoko, in Akoko North West Local Government Area of the state.

The suspects were said to have been apprehended following an attempt to kill another woman in the town.

An eyewitness who preferred to speak under anonymity disclosed to Channels Television that “Ritual killings have become very frequent in Arigidi and some other parts of Akoko land. Five women have been killed gruesomely, with their breasts and other private parts removed”.

“Nemesis caught up with two men early this morning at Arigidi when a woman raised alarm that a man came to her room to kill her and ran away when she raised alarm”.

“Immediately the town organised a search team and caught the two men in a bush at the back of Akoko Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi-Akoko. They were taken to the palace of the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Yisa Olanipekun”.

“The Suspects were later handed over to security agents in the area to prevent jungle justice on them,” the eyewitness said.

It would be recalled that a 50-year-old woman, simply called ” Iya Dunsin” and another 80-year-old grandmother, Kojusola Mogaji were brutally killed and their breasts clinically removed within an interval of two weeks in Arigidi Akoko.

Similar incidents had also been recorded in Ikare Akoko and Okeagbe-Akoko last year.

The Public Relations Officer of Ondo State Police Command, SP Femi Joseph confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He, however, said the case is being investigated saying the two men are suspects.

He noted that the Commissioner of Police in the State, Undie Adie has set up a security team that is carrying out 24-hour surveillance in the whole Akoko Area.

He added that the traditional rulers as well as youths, and other Stakeholders in the communities are also working with police to combat the spate of killings and other criminal acts in Akoko land and the entire state.

Source: Residents nab two suspected ritual killers in Ondo community

Two killed, dozens wounded at ritual killing at Kenya-Ethiopian border (2009 article)

Published: June 18, 2009
By: Ezega News

KAKUMA, Kenya, June 18 (Xinhua) — Suspected Ethiopian warriors killed two Kenyans and wounded 14 others on Wednesday night in a ritual killing barely a fortnight when deadly clashes between Merrile and Turkana tribesmen killed dozens others along the common frontier. 

Survivors and officials said on Thursday that hundreds of Merrile youths aged between 13 and 18 are queued for a circumcision ritual between this month and August and cultural dictates that they exhibit braveness by killing an enemy before being circumcised. 

Once they kill, they chop off private parts and other organs oftheir victims, including ears, noses and toes, which they carry away and present as a sign of bravery. 

And on Wednesday night, Merrile initiates from Namurupus area, Southern Zone travelled over 40 km inside Kenya and indiscriminately fired at a dancing crowd during Wednesday night attack at Kokuro village. 

“The Turkana villagers were dancing ‘Edunga’ (a respected and popular traditional dance) when the intruders attacked at 23:00 (2000 GMT) and opened fire killing two and injured several others,” said JacK Obuo, the Turkana North District Commissioner. 

The villagers were caught off guard as they were busy jumped up and danced before they could retire to bed. 

The Edunga dance purposely is used as an occasion for men to lobby and hunt for women to marry and usually is conducted at night due to high heat during the day. 

“We were about 200 people busy dancing and everybody was happy with the occasion when the gun shots were heard from all directions. But I thank God I’m that I’m alive,” narrated a survivor Ekiru Lokale recuperating from bullet wounds at Lodwar District Hospital. 

Lokale said the assailants were repulsed when local Police reservists (home guards) were alerted and challenged them in a gunbattle. 

The assailants were unable to chop off their victim’s organs which they must present no casualty was reported from the attackers’ side during the attack that last few minutes. 

“They Merrile treked over 40 km inside Kenya and ambushed the villagers intentionally to kill and many could have died were not the immediate response from the police reserve,” added the DC. 

Government official and rescue workers evacuated the injured people to Lodwar hospital nearly 400 km away from the attacked remote village. 

Obuo could not confirm the number of the attackers but villagers put at 50 youthful boys who were armed with assault rifles. 

The official said home guards have been supplied with enough ammunition to protect the villagers from ritual attacks. 

Nearly 35 people were killed a fortnight ago in revenge fighting between the two communities over cattle raids and fishing row. 

The clashes were elicited with theft claims of fishing nets by the Turkana fishermen at River Omo and Lake Turkana delta. 

Cattle raids and row over fishing territories are common at Todonyang and hostilities have continued to hamper fishing activity, a major source for living for the two tribes.

Source: Two killed, dozens wounded at ritual killing at Kenya-Ethiopian border

Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear in Togo (2007 articles)

Published: September 21, 2007
By: John Zodzi – Reuters

LOME (Reuters) – Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month. 

The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers. 

The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power. 

Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighboring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy. 

Togo holds legislative elections on October 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. 

In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month’s polls. 

“Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they’re carrying out sacrifices,” said Joel Attigan, a geography student. 

Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement. 

“There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals,” said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome. 

Togo’s media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin. 

“We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things,” the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future. 

The police have been cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis. 

But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation. 

The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.

Source: Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear in Togo

Related article:

‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings

Published: September 28, 2007, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK 
By: BBC

Togolese police say they are probing what could be a cross-border network of killers after six beheadings in Togo and one in Benin earlier this month.

One of four suspects has admitted he belongs to a gang wanted in Benin for similar crimes, Togolese police say.

The victims were all attacked over a two-day period and their decapitated bodies were drained of blood.

A BBC correspondent says there are fears these are ritual murders for witchcraft purposes ahead of Christmas.

In some traditional practices, human body parts are used in the belief that they make charms more powerful.

According to Togo’s police chief Col Damehane Yark, one of the four suspects in custody has also admitted to killing the youngest victim, a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

The BBC’s Edow Godwin in the Togolese capital, Lome, says the killers struck in the southern districts of Vo and Lac, in Maritime province that borders Benin.

At the same time a teenage girl was beheaded in Benin, 65km from the city of Cotonou in similar circumstances.

Source: ‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings