Mali: another ritual murder in Fana

The town of Fana has a bad reputation. Reportedly, in less than four years, eight ritual murders have been committed in this small town, located some 80 miles (125 km) from the nation’s capital Bamako. This time the victim was a retired soldier, who was brutally murdered. In the night of June 9 to 10 (Tuesday – Wednesday), the murderer or murderers attacked him in his house and sliced his throat savagely. Bakary Sagaré was 50+ years old when he died. 

Was it really a ritual murder? The authorities have not disclosed any details on his untimely and cruel death. Hence, no motive is known. But the inhabitants of Fana are fed up with these cruel murders. They point at certain well-known witch doctors (féticheurs) who are suspected of being involved in these atrocious acts which claim the lives of innocent people, sometimes small children. Like little Djeneba Diarra, a 5-year old albino girl who was snatched from her mother and brutally killed for ritualistic purposes in 2018.

If the authorities fail to apprehend the killers, the danger exists that the population will take the law into their own hands, but mob justice may aggravate Mali’s numerous problems. In the north and centre of the country, terrorists and Tuareg separatists have been challenging the authority of the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) since the disastrous military coup of captain Sanogo in 2012. Recently, a huge manifestation in Bamako showed the dissatisfaction and anger of the population, tired of the growing insecurity in the country. The growing unpopularity of the once very popular Keita may even further endanger Mali’s political stability. Rumors about an intervention of the military have already started to circulate. Certainly interesting developments which merit to be monitored closely. in the meantime, the inhabitants of Fana hope that the criminals responsible for the murder of Bakary Sagaré will be arrested and put on trial.

The original articles are in French and are shown below (webmaster FVDK). 

Crime rituel : une pratique à la vie dure à Fana
Ritual murder: a persistent phenomenon in Fana
Published: June 11, 2020
By: Bamada.net – Le Mali dans le Web

Les habitants de la ville de Fana se sont encore réveillés avec un crime devant leur porte, l’assassinat Bakary Sangaré âgé de plus de 50 ans. C’est un militaire à la retraite, dit-on. Il a été égorgé chez lui dans la nuit de ce mardi au mercredi 10 juin. C’est le 8e crime du genre dans cette ville où la petite albinos a été également tuée. Pour l’instant, aucune information officielle n’est donnée sur les raisons de ce crime, sur son ou ses auteurs. En attendant sur Facebook, la nouvelle endeuille et les messages de compassion et de condoléances pleuvent.

Pour d’autres, c’est l’occasion d’en finir définitivement avec cette pratique. Et pour cela, l’État doit s’assurer en prenant en main la sécurité de la population. Ces actes montrent combien, les populations sont exposées face à des bandits, à des auteurs de crimes rituels. Pour eux, c’est un signe de la faillite de l’Etat face à sa responsabilité de protéger les populations et de leurs biens. Encore, c’est la faute aux autorités incompétentes et corrompues, pestent de nombreux internautes.

En revanche, d’autres estiment que c’est un travail qui doit se faire en synergie entre la population et les autorités pour venir à bout de ces actes cruels dans cette ville. Parce qu’ils accusent que ce sont des charlatans connus de tous dans la ville qui sont à la base de ce crime.

(….)

Comments of readers / Commentaires des lecteurs :

Konimba Sidibé : Fana dans le cercle de Dioila au Mali en deuil à nouveau : les coupeurs de têtes ont encore sévi hier soir pour la huitième fois en moins de 4 ans (dont le cas de Ramata la petite albinos arrachée des mains de sa maman à leur domicile). Bakary Sangare est leur nouvelle victime.
Peu de progrès ont été faits dans l’identification et le châtiment des criminels et leurs complices : les populations doutent fortement que l’Etat ait pris le problème au sérieux et se sentent abandonnées à leur triste sort. Cri de cœur pour libérer Fana de cette insécurité morbide !!! Que l’âme des victimes repose en paix.

Yacouba Aliou Toure : C’est une honte pour le monde du troisième millénaire. Dans la loi islamique, la sentence pour le magicien de couper sa tête à l’épée. Il ne sera pas enseveli, il n’est pas aussi enterré dans le cimetière des musulmans. La magie est la chose la plus horrible sur la Terre. Qu’Allah nous en garde. Amine.

LASSINA DEMBELE ALÉAS TEACHER : une situation séculaire insaisissable depuis la nuit des temps à Fana et environnants… Ce crime crapuleux perpétré hier à Fana le 09/06/2020 ; le corps d’un homme sans vie a été retrouvé décapité par des personnes non identifiées. Ce n’est pas une première fois que ces genres de scènes scandaleuses et hystériques se passent encore à fana semant la panique et de la désolation à la population civile de fana et environnant. Cette situation reste sans solution depuis des décennies à Fana. Les autorités compétentes judiciaires et la population civile de la ville doivent conjuguer leurs forces afin de mettre la lumière sur les Criminels auteurs de ces crimes crapuleux de Coupeurs des têtes.

Zanze Bouare : triste comme nouvelle, on doit sévir contre ces criminels. Il n’y a pas d’autorité au Mali.

Dramane Kélépily : l’arrivée de la police n’a rien servi à Fana que Dieu bénisse la ville et qu’il fasse démasquer les coupables, Paix à l’âme du disparu. Honte aux autorités incompétentes et corrompues !!

Bourama Keita : Sans la collaboration de la population, les autorités ne peuvent rien faire. Tous unis, nous pourrons mettre fin à ça. Mes sincères condoléances aux familles des disparus.

Mamadou Barry : Tout le monde sait que ce n’est pas un terroriste qui a commis le forfait. C’est bien un charlatan. Ils sont connus de tous à Fana. Paix à son âme.

Bafing Sangaré : la question que je voulais savoir, c’est pourquoi toujours à Fana ? La situation est de plus en plus inquiétante vraiment…

Awa Sidibé : Il y a certainement à Fana des tueurs protégés qui ne craignent rien d’où ces crimes à répétitions.

Abdoul Karim Niambélé : C’est triste. Je compatis à la douleur des parents des victimes. Que le Tout Puissant les accueille parmi ses Élus dans son paradis. Et pendant ce temps, on crie sous tous les toits que nous sommes en sécurité. Que Dieu sauve le Mali.

Thomas Seydou Doumbia : Allah akbar, paix a son âme. Je remarque à chaque fois qu’il y a un événement politique, il aboutit à un crime à Fana à nous de chercher la vraie raison.

Molière Sidibé : Vraiment, c’est dépassé, il est temps qu’il y ait une implication avec rigueur pour mettre fin à ces drames.

Tidiani Konate : En réalité, le Mali vit actuellement dans une situation d’impasse. Notre sort dépend de notre visibilité, notre mobilité, car les membres de ce gouvernement ne se soucient plus des peuples, mais seulement de leurs places. Que Dieu libère Banico en particulier et le Mali en général.

Dioba Dembélé : vraiment, on va de mal en pis, il faut que la population s’implique davantage au côté des autorités pour la sécurité définitive de la zone.

Abdoulaye S. Dembele : Dioba Dembélé, penses-tu que la population ainsi que les autorités veulent la fin de cette barbarie ? J’en doute. Sinon, on n’allait pas arriver là.

Another article on the same murder:

Crime odieux à Fana (Cercle de Diola) : Un ancien militaire décapité dans son domicile
A heinous crime in Fana, Diola Cercle: a retired soldier beheaded in his residence
Published: June 11, 2020
By: Bamada.net – Le Mali dans le Web – Abdoul Karim Sanogo

Au Mali, principalement dans les localités de Fana (cercle de Diola), les coupeurs de tête pour des rituels humains ne cessent de surprendre la paisible population par ces actes démoniaques. Cette fois, c’est un homme d’âge avancé du nom de Bakary Sangaré, (ancien militaire) qui a été décapité dans son domicile. Cet acte barbare et lâche s’est passé dans la nuit du mardi 10 juin au 11 juin dernier dans la même localité de Fana dans le cercle de Diola.

En effet, la population de la ville de Fana s’est réveillée avec une mauvaise nouvelle. Suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. Les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps. Selon les témoignages des habitants, le défunt Bakary, ancien militaire qui vivait seul chez lui a été froidement tué par des hommes inconnus. (Huitième fois en moins de 4 ans dont le cas de Ramata la petite albinos arrachée des mains de sa maman à leur domicile).

Une enquête est ouverte par les forces locales en collaboration avec le juge d’instruction de Fana pour traquer les malfrats et leurs complices continuent à semer la terreur et la psychose dans la ville de Fana. Face à cette situation (…)

The same article, by the same author Abdul Karim Sanogo, was published by the Malian daily MaliKonokow. The link follows here (webmaster FVDK). 

Mali:
Crime odieux à Fana (Cercle de Diola) un ancien militaire décapité dans son domicile !
A heinous crime in Fana, Diola Cercle: a retired soldier beheaded in his residence!
Published: June 11, 2020
By: MaliKonokow – Abdul Karim Sanogo

Au Mali, principalement dans les localités de Fana (cercle de Diola), les coupeurs de tête pour des rituels humains ne cessent de surprendre la paisible population par ces actes démoniaques. Cette fois, c’est un homme d’âge avancé du nom de Bakary Sangaré, (ancien militaire) qui a été décapité dans son domicile. Cet acte barbare et lâche s’est passé dans la nuit du mardi 10 juin au 11 juin dernier dans la même localité de Fana dans le cercle de Diola.

(Etc)

Another article on the same murder, dated June 10, 2020:

Crime odieux à Fana : Un ancien militaire égorgé chez lui
Heinous crime in Fana: a retired soldier brutally killed at his home
Published: June 10, 2020
By: Mali Jet – Gaoussou Kanté

Les populations de la paisible ville de Fana ont eu un réveil brutal. Ce matin, suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. En effet, les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps.

D’après les témoignages des habitants, le défunt Bakary, ancien militaire qui vivait seul chez lui a été froidement tué par des hommes inconnus.

Quant à la gendarmerie de Fana, les responsables ont affirmé ne vouloir rien dire avant la fin des enquêtes.

«Pour l’instant, nous ne pouvons rien dire à qui que ce soit avant la fin des enquêtes. Nous sommes sur les enquêtes en collaboration avec le juge d’instruction de Fana. Nous attendons que tous les éléments soient réunis pour nous prononcer sur cette affaire. Tout ce que je peux vous dire, c’est que nous avons constaté le cadavre d’un homme comme vous le voyez sur les réseaux sociaux et les enquêtes sont en cours», a déclaré le Capitaine de la Brigade gendarmerie à Fana.

A suivre !

The Malian daily Mali Actu published the same text. It is not known which article appeared first, maybe Mali Jet’s article, which has been reproduced above, signed with the author’s name, Gaoussou Kanté (webmaster FVDK).

Crime odieux à Fana : un ancien militaire égorgé chez lui
Heinous crime in Fana: a retired soldier brutally killed at his home
Published: June 10, 2020
By: Mali Actu

Les populations de la paisible ville de Fana ont eu un réveil brutal. Ce matin, suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. En effet, les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps.

(Etc)

The town of Fana has a special, bad reputation in Mali. In less than four years, eight suspected cases of ritual murders occurred in this small town, located half-way between the nation’s capital Bamako and Ségou.

Upsurge in ritualistic crimes in Benin (2018 article)

A few days ago I posted an article on the ritual murder of Gracia Prunelle, a young girl in Benin. Knowing that it was not the first ritualistic murder in Benin’s contemporary history (see my previous postings on this site), I went browsing on the internet and came across this article describing an upsurge in ritual killing and ritualistic acts in this West Africa in 2018. The author concludes her article with an alarming cry: despite the increase of these heinous acts, inspired by superstition, the authorities remain silent…. One wonders why….

For the convenience of readers who do not understand Frenchch, a brief summary in English follows here. The translation is the sole responsibility of this site’s webmaster who does not claim to present an exact and precise translation of the VOA article which is subsequently presented in is original version.

Summary:

“An increase in the number of ritual murders terrifies Benin. Missing people have been found in deserted houses and in the forest, sometimes they have vanished, ‘never heard of again’. Behind this phenomenon are witch doctors, people whisper. 

A few days ago, a young girl was raped and almost murdered but she was rescued by the police. It happened near Porto Novo, the country’s capital.

The suspect’s house was searched, and police found a human skill as well as organs of some of the victims.  

Joël Akondé, a journalist testifies. His brother was the victim of a ritual murder. “He was murdered in a savage and cruel way”, he stated on VOA radio (Afrique radio services). His brother was found back with his throat cut and his blood taken by his murderers.

These ritualistic crimes are committed by internet-criminals, nicknamed ‘gaymen’, who want to impress girls who subsequently become the victim of their unscrupulous assailants.  

Some allege these crimes are caused by the widespread unemployment and social pressure. 

The ‘keepers of tradition’ have been accused of complicity since they are the ones who teach the youth the secrets of their convent.  David Coffi Aza, a well-known keeper of the tradition and Fa priest defends himself. “Voodoo cannot cure, it does not harm” he says, “it’s a neutral force.” 

In view of the large scale of these atrocities the silence of the authorities is very worrisome.”, Ginette Fleure Adandé reports from Benin.

Translation by the webmaster (FVDK)

Upsurge in ritualistic crimes in Benin

Recrudescence des crimes rituels au Bénin

The community of keepers of tradition and indigenous religion in Benin (translation FVDK)
La communauté des gardiens de la tradition et de la religion endogène au Bénin, le 22 février 2018. (VOA/Ginette Fleure Adande)

Published: February 22, 2018
Publié: le 22 février 2018 
By: VOA – Ginette Fleure Adandé
Par: VOA – Ginette Fleure Adandé

Recrudescence des crimes rituels au Bénin

Le Bénin connaît une montée des crimes “rituels”. Des êtres humains portés disparus sont retrouvés sans vie dans des maisons inhabitées ou dans la brousse.Parfois, ils ne réapparaissent jamais. Ce phénomène serait l’œuvre des nombreux féticheurs autoproclamés qui passent par ces sacrifices pour asseoir leur hégémonie.

Il y a quelques jours, une jeune fille violée et sur le point d’être sacrifiée a été sauvée de la mort par les forces de l’ordre. Cela s’est passé à quelques kilomètres de Porto Novo, la capitale.

“Vers 3 heures du matin, le conseil de sécurité m’a expliqué qu’une fille de 12 ans a été violée”, raconte Michel Bahou, maire de la commune.

Il a ôté la vie à bien de personnes. Au cours de la perquisition à son domicile, des crânes humains et autres organes ont été retrouvés. 

Lors de son audition, il a fait des révélations comme l’explique Joël Akondé, un journaliste dont le son jeune frère a été égorgé et vidé de son sang. 

“Il a été sauvagement assassiné, égorgé”, confie-t-il à VOA Afrique.

Ces crimes rituels seraient l’œuvre de cybercriminels communément appelés “gaymen”; les nouveaux modèles de réussite sociale qui se servent de leurs richesses pour attirer les jeunes filles, souvent victimes de ces morts violentes. 

Le phénomène serait aussi causé par l’inégalité sociale et un chômage accru.

Devant la barbarie des meurtres, les gardiens de la tradition sont souvent montrés du doigt comme étant complices de ce dérapage; pour avoir mis dans les mains des jeunes sans scrupules les secrets de leurs couvents.

Sur la question David Coffi Aza, gardien de la tradition et prêtre du Fâ connu sous le nom géomancie, se défend. 

“Aucun vaudou ne peut faire du bien ou du mal, c’est une énergie neutre”, soutient-il.

Face à l’ampleur du phénomène, le silence des autorités est inquiétant.

David Coffi Aza, keeper of tradition and Fâ priest, Benin, February 22, 2018 (translation FVDK)
David Coffi Aza, gardien de la tradition et prêtre du Fâ, Bénin, 22 février 2018. (VOA/Ginette Fleure Adande)

Source: Recrudescence des crimes rituels au Bénin

Nigeria: police arrest pastor, 2 others over alleged ritual killing of 19-year old girl in Kogi State (2018 article)

Below follows an older article, dating from 2018, showing that the awful practice of ritual murder for money ritual purposes is not a recent phenomenon (webmaster FVDK). 

Police arrest pastor, 2 others over alleged ritual killing of 19-year old girl in Kogi

Published: June 22, 2018
By: Sundiata Post

Lokoja –   Police in Kogi State have arrested a cleric, Oluwasegun Aturu and two others over the suspected ritual killing of a 19-year-old commercial sex worker, Miss Mercy Moses.

The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP William Aya confirmed the arrest of the suspects to newsmen in Lokoja on Friday.

He said that Aturu who claimed to be the shepherd in charge of Voice of Canaan Temple, Cherubim and Seraphim Aladura Church, Ozuri, in Adavi Local Government Area of the state was arrested on June 19.

He was arrested alongside Samuel Oluwasegun and Abdulmumini Yakubu, all of Ozuri area in the local government, he said.

According to the police, both Oluwasegun and Yakubu were said to have at about 10 pm on June 11 gone to a popular brothel in the council area to pick the late girl to an unknown place.

They were said to have conveyed the deceased out of the brothel on a motorcycle after exchanging pleasantries with the manager of the brothel simply identified as Mohammed.

“The two men then approached one Mercy Moses, one of the commercial sex workers’ residents in the brothel. After discussing with Mercy, she was seen being taken away by the men on a motorcycle.

“When after two days she did not return, the brothel manager, Mohammed reported at a nearby Police Station at Adavi from where the case was taken up by the State Criminal Investigation Department, Lokoja,” the statement said.

He said that police investigation later led to the arrest of Pastor Otaru, Oluwasegun and Yakubu but they all denied the knowledge of Mercy’s whereabouts.

“However, following diligent interrogation by the Homicide Detectives of the State CID, both Oluwasegun and Yakubu opened up to the gory details of how they were hired by the pastor to bring a female for him.

“They confessed that Otaru hired them to bring a female for ritual purposes, promising them N700,000.

“The arrested suspects thereafter led the investigators to an area called Uhodo in Ogaminana area of Adavi where the torso of the remains of Mercy Moses was dug out from a shallow grave,” he said.

According to him, police in a well scripted move was able to track and arrest Pastor Otaru who had since the arrest of his accomplices, fled the neighborhood.

He said that the exhumed remains of the victim were deposited at Okene General Hospital mortuary for autopsy.

Source: Police arrest pastor, 2 others over alleged ritual killing of 19-year old girl in Kogi

Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is).
However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.

The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued  by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Published: April 13, 2020
By: Global Sisters report – Doreen Ajiambo

GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.

“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.

One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.

The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.

Screenshot of the GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana (credit: Doreen Ajiambo). Click on the picture in the original article (see source below) to watch the video.

The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.

“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”

Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”

Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.

“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”

Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.

“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”

The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.

“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”

Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.

“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.

“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”

However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.

“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”

A child stands outside her mother’s hut house at Gushegu camp. Her mother was accused of killing her husband. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Source: Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Districts in Northern Ghana (in the northeast: Gushiegu District)

Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice (Uganda)

Incredible news comes to us from Uganda and – maybe even worse – it is not even NEW news. This has been going on for years. According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week. A human sacrifice! 

Recently, we have noted a surge in the frequency of ritual murders in Uganda. Read the article below. One wonders why the Ugandan law enforcement authorities do not step up efforts to wage war on the traditional healers who are allegedly implicated in this repulsive practice which thrives where ignorance and superstition rule (webmaster FVDK).

Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders

Police at the demolished shrine where bodies were recovered in Kisoga Village, Kayunga District in September 2018. PHOTO BY FRED MUZAALE 

Published: March 26, 2020
By: Daily Monitor – Fred Muzaale

Residents of Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-County, Kayunga District are recovering from shock they suffered after one of their own was beheaded last week.

Tarsis Mutesasira, 60, was beheaded on March 17 and his head taken by unknown assailants.

Residents discovered Mutesasira’s torso lying in a pool of blood in the bedroom. 
A week later, police are still hunting his killers.

On the fateful day, neighbours say the deceased, who lived alone in his small house, spent the entire day in his garden tending to his crops.

Preliminary police investigations indicate that Mutesasira murder was an act of human sacrifice and two traditional healers have since been arrested to help police with investigations. 

Both suspects practise their trade in Kitimbwa Sub-county.

Mutesasira’s murder is one of the several acts of human sacrifice cases that have occurred in r Kayunga District about 60kms from Kampala city.

Mr Isaac Mugera, the officer in-charge of the criminal investigations in Kayunga District, says they do not know why Kayunga continues to register many cases of murders linked to human sacrifice.

He, however, says the big concentration of traditional healers in the district could be the cause of such increasing acts.

“There are more than 200 traditional healers in this district and our preliminary investigations revealed that many are fake, which could be the reason they engage in unlawful acts,” Mr Mugera says.

He adds: “We have tried to register all the native doctors in the district with a view of weeding out the fake ones but it seems we have not yet succeeded.”

Similar incident
Mr Mugera cites a September 2018 incident when traditional healer Owen Ssebuyungo, 27, a resident of Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county, Kayunga District was arrested on charges of human sacrifice.

Security operatives recovered five bodies from his shrine. The bodies were recovered from shallow graves each containing a Shs5,000 note. 

The suspect is on remand at Luzira prison and hearing of the case at Mukono High Court is ongoing.

Mr Mugera adds that given the strategic location of the district, wrongdoers from Nakasongola, Kamuli, Luweero, Mukono and other neighbouring districts find it easy to hide in the area and commit such heinous acts.

“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by medical personnel,” he says.

Mr Mugera reveals that since this year began, police have recorded a total of nine murder cases. 

He, however, explains that two of these are suspected to have been acts of human sacrifice.

Last year, a total of 35 murder cases were registered in the area while 29 murder cases were recorded in 2018.

“As police, we have been successful in prosecuting the suspects in most of these cases because there is overwhelming evidence to pin them,” Mr Mugera notes.

Mr Tom Sserwanga, the Kayunga District chairperson, says acts of human sacrifice are rampant in the greater Mukono area that includes Buikwe, Mukono, and Buvuma districts.

“Many people in these districts believe in witchcraft and when they fall sick, they go to witch doctors for treatment,” Mr Sserwanga says.

According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week compared to the seven cases of child sacrifice reported to Uganda Police in 2011. The report adds that people carry out human sacrifice seeking wealth and fortune, among others.

The Kayunga District traditional healers’ association chairperson, Mr Badru Ssemisambwa, however, dismisses the claims that traditional healers are involving in acts of human sacrifice.

“No genuine traditional healer can kill a person. Those who murder people are fake and only masquerade as healers to make money,” Mr Ssemisambwa says. 

He says they have in the past three years cooperated well with police to arrest and prosecute quack traditional healers but many others keep joining the trade.

“We are planning a fresh registration of all traditional healers and those without proper documents will be arrested and prosecuted,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.

Way forward
The Kayunga Resident District Commissioner, Ms Kikomeko Mwanamoiza, says they are working with local leaders and security organs to wipe out the vice.

Ms Mwanamoiza expressed concern over the rampant acts of human sacrifice in the area, adding that there is need to sensitise residents.

“ It is a pity that a big number of people spend most of their time visiting shrines and some are forced to part with their hard-earned money in the name of pleasing their gods,” she says.

Background
Call for regulation. The number of traditional healers who engage in criminal acts are increasing by the day, not only in Kayunga but in other districts too.

Several local leaders in many districts in central region have on several occasions urged Parliament to regulate activities of traditional healers, accusing many of duping their gullible clients.

Jailed. The High Court sitting in Mukono in 2018 handed a 40-year jail term to a man and his daughter-in-law after finding them guilty of human sacrifice.

In February last year, police in Luweero District with the help of residents stormed shrines belonging to a prominent traditional healer in Butiikwa Village, Kikyusa Sub-county in Luweero District and set nine of the ablaze, after he was accused of killing a resident in a suspected ritual murder.

When police confronted the traditional healer in a bid to search his shrines, he put up strong resistance but was overpowered. 

Police found a mutilated human body and hundreds of human bones from eight shallow graves.

During interrogation at police , the suspect said his accomplices took a adult male to his shrine for ritual sacrifice.

In March 2018, police recovered a headless body dumped at Kalongo Miti Cell, Kizito Zone in Luweero Town Council.

Source: Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders

South Africa: Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

The following case may not refer to a ritualistic murder though there are strong indications that a ritual murder has indeed been committed. Moreover, the article refers to previous ritual killings that have taken place as “There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.”, see below (webmaster FVDK).

Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

Published: December 15, 2019
By: The South African – Thabo Baloyi

A passer-by made the gruesome discovery of a mutilated body near the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo are on the search for the perpetrators behind the horrific discovery of a badly mutilated body in Polokwane on Thursday 12 December 2019.

The body was found dumped in the bushes along the N1 bypass, near the Peter Mokaba Stadium. A passer-by, who came across the body, noticed some limbs were missing and called the police who then rushed to the scene.

“Upon arrival at the scene, the police were met by the gruesome scene of the badly mutilated body of a man who is estimated to be in his forties, wearing grey trousers, a blue T-shirt and black shoes”, police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba strongly condemned the attack and called for those responsible to face the full might of the law

“The commissioner has noted the incident with shock, especially the brutality that characterised this murder and has ordered an intensive manhunt for the suspects,” the statement read.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that can assist in the arrest of the suspect(s) and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, to contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or the nearest police station.

Ritual murder not ruled out as motive

While Mojapelo did note that the motive was unknown at this stage, they were not ruling out the likelihood of a ritual killing and investigations into the murder are ongoing.

There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.

Earlier in 2019, Giyani villagers discovered that the private parts of a 69-year-old Giyani man, who had been killed after being hit by a car, were missing. His family believes that he had actually been murdered as part of a ritual act.

In 2018, the headless body of a woman was found in Lulekani, outside Phalaborwa, insider her bedroom. In the same year, the Polokwane High Court sentenced two men to life in prison for the murder of a 17-year-old girl. They were reportedly arrested while trying to sell her head to a local businessman.

The dark practice of ritual murders, motivated by cultural beliefs, is usually carried out by traditional leaders and involves the removal of body parts, whether for self-enrichment or to appease ancestors.

Source: Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

Polokwane – previously called Pietersburg – is the capital of Limpopo province

Nigeria: Hunchback hunters

Read this “chilling story of how a prison warden, moviemaker and con-herbalists abduct, butcher 30-year-old hunchback in Osun State, Nigeria, for money ritual.” The cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual occurred in September last year and the article was published in December.” Warning: the article contains graphic details of the heinous crime the accused allegedly committed (webmaster FVDK).

Reporters of the Saturday Sun were able to interview some of the suspects in police custody – which his amazing and raises several questions. Who authorized these interviews and why? Is this in conformity with the defendants’ rights, despite the horrible accusation against them and their alleged responsibility and guilt? What is the added value of interviewing people in detention who have not yet been tried by an impartial court?

The following article is a sad story. We sympathize with the victim and his dear ones. Once more, it is demonstrated that the belief in the power and juju obtained through ‘money ritual’ in Nigeria is widespread. We must fight against ignorance and superstition and compliment the Nigerian authorities for all efforts to help eradicating this evil from Nigerian society (webmaster FVDK).

Nigeria: Hunchback hunters

Published: December 21, 2019
By: The Sun, Voice of the Nation – Chioma Okezie-Okeh

On September 15, 2019, a 30-year-old hunchback, Olusegun Fasakin, was abducted from his home at Igangan-Ijesa, Atakunmosa East Local Government Area of Osun State. All efforts by the police, his family and friends to locate him did not yield any result. His abductors never called to demand a ransom. 

The truth of what became of him recently resurfaced. It was an accidental discovery by law enforcement agents tracking a suspect of a robbery case.

Since then, detectives have picked some of the suspects involved and interrogated them. The suspects sang like canaries, divulging the ghastly details. The suspects are a ragtag group of desperadoes, that include a prison warden (correctional officer) and a set of herbalists who are ex-convicts previously jailed for a similar offence.

Saturday Sun interviewed some of the suspects in police custody. Their stories add up to a macabre tale of the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual.

Discovery by mistake

Acting on a petition by the victims of the armed robbery incident that took place in Ijesa, on October 10, 2019. Head of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, drafted operatives at its Osun annexe to investigate the case.

The IRT team, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bisiriyu Akindele, tracked down one Akinyemi Oyebode who participated in the robbery. While on his trail, detectives intercepted a phone conversation between him and a prison warden. In the conversation, he was heard threatening to expose a prison warder if he fails to pay him some money.

He was grilled after his arrest, during which he made a clean breast that the incident he was talking about was the abduction and killing of Olusegun Fasakin, a 30-year-old hunchback.

Law enforcement agents consequently rounded up those allegedly involved in the crime. The suspects were identified as Akinyemi Oyebode, Jamiu Adeniyi, Isaac Ayandokun (a.k.a. Baba Niyi), Kehinde Oladokun (a.k.a. Alfa), Ojo Taiwo Olasukanmi (a.k.a. Ifa) and Mukaila Kolawole (a.k.a. Baba Beji) who all claimed to be herbalists, and Charles Adebusuiyi, a serving prison warder at the Ilesa Correction Centre.

Presently, all primary suspects, save for the prison warden, have been arrested

The search for a hunchback

Saturday Sun spoke with Akinyemi Oyebode, the suspect originally tracked by IRT operatives.

He alleged that several meetings were held inside the office of Charles Adebusuiyi at Ilesa Correctional Centre.

The 24-year-old, a native of Okemesi in Ekiti State, was a school dropout who trained as a vulcanizer, but has served time in prison, jailed in 2016 after he was found with wraps of Indian hemp during a raid by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He was released earlier this year after three years behind bar.

His family sought to straighten his life. They bought him a motorcycle so he could earn his daily bread as a commercial bike man. He soon made a lot of customers including the prison officer.

“He was one of my early customers and I normally pick and drop him in front of the prison. One thing led to another and I told him that I have spent about three years in prison. Gradually we became friends and sometimes he will invite me to come and have a drink with him,” he said.

Oyebode insisted they held several meetings in his office at the prison premises.

“This was how I got to know the likes of Alfa, Baba Beji and Ifa who are all herbalists,” he said. “One of the days that I took Charles to Sabo, I overheard them talking about doing rituals to make money. I needed money at that time so I was interested. As soon as Charles came out and we were heading back to town, I told him that I am also interested in what I overheard and he assured me that he will alert me when everything is set. I was so excited especially when he told me that he was going to pay me one million at the end of the deal.”

Oyebode admitted he knew they were going to abduct someone for money ritual only that he was not sure who the target was.

His story threw illumination on the dark deed that took place on the night of September 15.

He narrated: “Few days later Charles called me to come and pick him up that we have an important job. I took him to where his car was. Three other persons were already there. They were not the regular faces that I knew.

“When we got to Igangan Square around 10 pm, he asked us to wait, while he and the three young men went into the neighbourhood. In less than 20 minutes, they came back dragging one tall man with them. The man did not resist or shout; he was just following them like a fool. They put him in the car and drove off. Charles told me not to worry that he would handle everything.”

After waiting for some days and it was clear Charles had no intention to give him any money, Oyebode called up and threatened to tell the police what he was up to.

The warden pacified him with N18, 000.  In the meantime, one of his friends invited him to join a robbery gang.

“We attacked a compound in August and raided the entire flats. I got a big phone which I sold for N16, 000,” he confessed.

That was to be his undoing, as IRT operatives who took charge of the case, tracked him down, for the robbery, and also routinely queried him about his telephone conversation with a “prison warden” he threatened.

With this background, the next logical question is, who commissioned the search for hunchback?

In their various depositions during interrogation, the suspects all claimed they were contracted by a shadowy figure, a medical doctor who promised them millions of naira in return for a real hunchback.

The answer could only come from Mukaila Kolawole, popularly known as Baba Beji. It was he who got the contract from a man whom he claims people know as a medical doctor.

The native of Iragbiji in Osun State earned a livelihood as a farmer. He was, however, jailed in the past for the killing of a hunchback. “I was framed,” he said.

He told Saturday Sun the details.

“In 2009, I was a member of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC). One of our members, known as Muritala, misbehaved and was suspended from the group. He got annoyed and formed his own local vigilante group. They were the ones who attacked a nearby village and abducted a woman with hunchback. We were at a meeting the night her mutilated corpse was found. The Muritala-led vigilante group raised alarm that we were the ones responsible for the murder. About ten of us were arrested that day and charged to court for murder. I was released last year after spending nine years.”

It was during those nine years he met Charles Akinbusuyi.

“He was our warden. He normally ‘dash’ us money. We became friends with him. He assured us that anytime names of those to be helped by government was compiled, he’d make sure my name was included.”

He was part of the inmates granted amnesty by the Chief Justice of Osun State in 2018.

Back to the business of September 15, he continued: “When I regained my freedom, I went back to farming but kept in touch with Charles. One day, he called me that he was tired of depending on monthly salary that he wanted a faster way of making money. He asked me if I knew anyone who is into money ritual and I said yes. I introduced him to some of my friends who were herbalists and they suggested to us different ways that we can make quick money. It was while we were at it that I received a call from my longtime customer and asked if I can help him abduct and kill a man or woman with a hunchback. He offered to pay us millions and I told Charles about it and he agreed to be part of it.”

It turned out that Baba Beji who claimed in the beginning of his confession that he knew nothing about hunchback killers, was the person who assembled the best hands to find a hunchback. “Millions were involved and I know that it is not a one-man thing,” he said. “I alerted my herbalist friends that I know and told them about the contract. Everyone started searching until Charles said that he knows of one in a village called Iwara where he normally goes to consult a native doctor.”

According to him, the prison warden planned the abduction. “Charles agreed to hire boys that will abduct the man,” he claimed. “He is a prison warden so he knows a lot of criminals.”

Kolawole took charge of the second part of the mission. “I assembled my fellow herbalists who would help in the killing and removal of the hump. All of us went to the area, and Charles and three other young men that I assumed are professionals, moved into the compound and asked us to wait. In less than 20 minutes, they came out with a man. The young men left and the rest of us entered the vehicle to an agreed place where we intended to slaughter him.”

Kolawole was the one who delivered the killing stroke. “When we got to a deserted area that night, I brought out my spanner, and because I knew what I came there to do, I quickly hit him on the head and he fell down. When I was sure he was dead, I used a knife to cut out the deformed part of his back.”

“We called Niyi, who is an expert in such things, to come and confirm if it was authentic.”

They received a big blow when the expert arrived and proclaimed the hump not useful because it was not a natural hump but a growth.

“We were disappointed. We had no choice but to discard the body and return to Osogbo.”

While he claimed that he had no idea what exactly the hump of a hunchback is used for, Kolawole admitted he knew native doctors use it to produce charm for wealth. “I heard that if you want good money from everywhere,  that some people used their (hunchback’s) bones to make bathing soap. This is what I heard, maybe doctor [the one who commissioned the job] will explain better.”

Additional information came from Olasukunmi, popularly known as Ifa, who claimed that he was lured into the crime.

“I am a movie producer and I have successfully produced three movies as far back as 2010. During my spare time, I also do herbalist work which I learnt from my father. I am still working on one of my movies when police arrested me,” he stated.

His connection to the group was Akinbusuiyi, the prison warden.

“I knew Charles in prison when I was arrested by the police during a raid. I didn’t spend much time with them before I was released from prison,” he said.

He was present on the killing ground.

He explained his role: “On the day of the incident, I met them at the express. They asked me to help hold the torch because it was late at night, at about 11:30pm. I held the torch while Baba Beji cut him open. I was not the one who killed him.”

Ifa tried to distance himself from the murder, saying: “I am a herbalist and my stock-in-trade is assisting fraudsters to be successful.”

He explained he got entangled in the plot hunchback plot. “Baba Beji came to me and asked if I knew where we could get a man or woman with a hunchback. I told him to leave me alone as I was not into any money ritual. He called me one day to join him and I asked him what it was. He said that one of his friends who can pay very well wants to see me. I thought he was real till we got to the forest,” he narrated.

He tried desperately to justify his role: “I was scared, that was why I joined him. I know how these things work out ––if I don’t join them, they will kill me.”

Baba Niyi is the expert in the group, the man who could identify the hump of a natural hunchback.

He, too, once spent time in Ilesha prison. He was one of the vigilantes that were jailed alongside Baba Ibeji over the killing of a hunchback.

He, also, knew the man who commissioned the job. “I have known the doctor for many years. He normally asked for herbs. This was why he asked me to go and cross-check. I went there and discovered that it was not real,” he said.

Baba Niyi insisted on his innocence. “I did not follow them to kill anyone,” he submitted.

What became of the body?

They claimed the remains was dumped inside the bush along Osun-Ibadan expressway.

The fugitive prison warden

Charles Adebusuiyi, the prison warden, has since vanished into thin air. His office, Nigerian Correctional Services, confirmed no one has seen him at work since  the case broke out. He has been declared wanted by the police.

From others’ confessions, it was he who allegedly contracted the services of the abductors –Emmanuel, Kazeem and another popularly known as MTN –  to go to Igangan and abduct the victim. The three abductors, presently on the run, are suspected criminals who were once inmates at the Ilesa correction al center, where Adebusuiyi was a warden until he became a fugitive.

The victim’s family

Saturday Sun spoke with one of the relatives, Olatunji Fasakin, who was at the police station.

“I am his nephew and we live at Igangan-Ijesa, Osun State,” he introduced himself.

According to him, the family had given up hope of finding when they heard that IRT operatives had cracked the case.

He gave his side of the story thus: “On September 15, 2019, around 6 pm, I left to the forest to hunt. At about 8 pm, my wife called me that they have kidnapped my nephew and urged me to hurry back home. Upon my return, I met his mother and grandmother in tears. They told me four men took him away on a motorcycle. I took my motorcycle and drove towards the direction they were heading. When I got to Iwara junction, the persons that I met said that they have left and that some of the villagers who tried to stop them were beaten up. I returned to the village and reported the matter at Igangan police post.”

Although, some community members who heard of his abduction had rightly deduced that he was picked  because of his hunched back, the family, nonetheless, had hoped his abductors would, in time, call to demand a ransom.

“But they never did,” he said, “When we couldn’t find him, everyone assumed that he was used for money ritual.”

He explained why his cousin was not a natural hunchback: “He had been sick right from birth, the constant ill-health affected his growth and he was no longer walking properly. Anyone that saw him would assume he had a hunchback. He wasn’t a hunchback.”

On how they got the news of the arrest of his abductors and killers, he said: “A family friend at Ayesan police post informed us that it was IRT Osun that arrested them.”

He said the family is still in mourning, stating, “but now we know what really happened to our brother.”

The family pleaded with the police to help them find his remains so that they can give him a befitting burial.

Source: Hunchback hunters

Uganda: man admits ritual murder, becomes state witness

Also see my posts dated August 30, 2018 – “Get rid of this evil”: High Court judge calls govt to ban all shrines in Uganda – and August 20, 2018We wanted wealth!’ Four witch doctors arrested over ritual murders tell Police and  and more articles – on the ritual murders in Kayunga District (webmaster FVDK).

Published: November 12, 2019
By: Jalira Namyalo

One of the persons implicated in ritual killing and burial of five people in a shrine in Kisoga Village, Nazigo Sub-county in Kayunga District has been sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty.
Joseph Kibuuka, alias Junior, pleaded guilty to murder charges but court reduced the charge to being an accessory to the murder under the plea bargain process. 

After the sentencing, Kibuuka turned into a prosecution witness. He entered the witness box and testified against the five other accused persons with whom he had been indicted for murder of five people among them Zulaika Nansamba Mirembe.

Other suspects are Ssebuyungo alias Owen Sonko (witchdoctor/ herbalist); Muhammad Wamala alias Vincent Bob; James Lutwama; Fred Kiiza Ssemanda and Issa Walakira.

In his testimony, Kibuuka said the deceased Mirembe came to Ssebuyungo’s shrine one evening in May and they had a meal with her and Wamala in a trading centre before going back to Ssebuyungo’s shrine.

“At around 9pm, we (Wamala, Mirembe and Barbara, a sister of Ssebuyungo) drove back and they dropped me at my place near Ssebuyungo’s shrine. Wamala told me not to close the door because he was to sleep at my place but he did not come. In the morning when I went to clean the shrine, I found a fresh grave and did not see Mirembe. I was scared and feared to say anything,” Kibuuka narrated.
According to Kibuuka, after sometime Ssebuyungo and Wamala had disagreements which prompted Wamala to report a case of murder to police.
 
He said it is Wamala who trained Ssebuyungo in witchcraft but could not tell how other bodies were buried in the same shrine. 
He said he worked at the shrine for few months as a cleaner.

Source: Man admits ritual murder, becomes state witness

Nigeria: Ritual Killings – over 20 children missing in Adamawa State (2018 article)

Published: September 9, 2018
By: Daji Sani  (ThisDay)

Yola — More than 20 children have been reported missing in Adamawa State in the last three months, THISDAY has learnt.

Investigation revealed that the state had been receiving several complaints over missing children, which had caused panic among parents in the state. Some residents, who spoke privately with THISDAY, alleged that the incessant abduction of children may not be unconnected with the political activities in the state.

One of the residents alleged that the abducted children “are used by some politicians to gain spiritual powers and oust any opposition that stand on their way come 2019.” Another resident from Yola North Local Government Area, Mr. Usman Aliyu lamented that over 20 children “have been reported missing following their mysterious disappearance and have not returned home to their parents.”

He said almost every week, advertisements “are place in the media over missing children and nobody knows their whereabouts. This rampant missing of children have become a serious threats to children’s upbringing in the state”.

“Our wards cannot longer move freely due to the political activities because it is believed that the children are missing because some politicians are using them for spiritual powers to win the coming 2019 general elections,” he alleged.

Another source revealed that some people “are heartless to the point that they are kidnapping children for rituals. The security agencies in the state need to beef up security. They should step up operation to arrest those behind the heinous crime.

“Following the development, the State Police Command has alerted the general public over the incessant disappearance of children saying this has become a serious threat to the citizens of the state. The command in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Habibu Musa urged the residents to be alert and be security conscious due to the rising case of abduction. It urged parents and residents “to be security conscious and be watchful over the movement of their wards. Those related to those that convey their wards to school to and fro.”

It urged parents to warn their wards from free rides and receiving gifts from strangers. However the police did not mention the numbers of missing children in its press release.

Source: Ritual Killings: Over 20 Children Missing in Adamawa

Liberia: Court sentences Sinoe gang rape and murder defendants to 25 years in prison

Earlier than expected, Judge Joe Barkon of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County has handed down his final ruling in the Sinoe murder case. Justice is done! But will this landmark case act as a deterrent?

For the answer, see tomorrow’s posting (September 9, 2019)
(webmaster FVDK).

Featured photo by Sampson David

Published: September 6, 2019
By: Sampson David – The Bush Chicken

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The Second Judicial Circuit Court has handed down its final ruling in the Sinoe gang rape and murder case, sentencing the seven defendants to 25 years in prison.

The ruling confirmed the guilty verdict rendered by the jury on August 30th against Moses Solo, Alex Karpeh, Sylvester Charty, Teah Gmanwle, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Dennis Pyne Nimely.

The case stems from a December 12, 2018 incident where three women were stripped naked, paraded, and gang-raped in Johnny Town, Nomorpoe District, Sinoe. They were accused of witchcraft and one of the women, Willette Nyewallah, was murdered and buried secretly in a swamp in Johnny Town.

The defendants were charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy, and the case was transferred to the Second Judicial Circuit Court to avoid interference from powerful members of the traditional society.

The case began on August 13, with the defendants represented by a team of public defenders led by Grand Bassa’s public defender, Paul Jarvan.

Ten of the twelve jurors voted for a guilty verdict, while two abstained.

The head of the defense counsel, Jarvan, took exception to the jurors’ verdict, adding that he expected five of the seven persons who are not members of the traditional society to have been set free.

“The indictment said traditional people [were responsible for the murder], and the father of the deceased came and said only two persons up there [were members of the traditional society] – Alex Carpeh and Moses Solo,” he told journalists on Friday, August 30 at the court.

He filed a motion for retrial on September 2 and the argument took place on September 5, but Judge Joe Barkon denied the motion on grounds that the guilty verdict rendered by the jury against the seven defendants supports the weight of the evidence presented in court by the prosecution.

Barkon said a motion for a new trial may only be granted if the verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence. He added that the jury did not only consider the statements of co-defendants Moses Solo and Alex Karpeh when making its decision.

The defense had also countered that the prosecution failed to produce a medical report confirming that the victims had been raped, but Judge Barkon said the testimonies provided by the two victims and corroborated by other testimonies point to the victims being raped.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances and the laws applicable herein, it is the ruling of this court that the motion for new trial is hereby denied and the resistance thereof sustained,” Barkon said.

“This act of the defendants is wicked, grossly inhumane and dehumanizing, indifferent to human value, [cruel], uncivilized, barbaric.”

Barkon directed the court’s clerk to notify the superintendent of the Buchanan Central Prison of the court’s final judgment. However, the defense counsel decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, which will review the case in March 2020.

Meanwhile, prosecution lawyers took exception to the sentencing, noting that the period of 25 years was the bare minimum required by law.

After the sentencing, three of the defendants – Dennis Pyne Nimely, Victor Solo and Sylvester Charty – maintained their claims of innocence. They added that they are hopeful of being freed when the case appears at the Supreme Court.

Nimely said he is the only breadwinner for his family and his incarceration for 25 years for crimes that he did not commit would be a setback to his family.

“It is only by the grace of God they are currently surviving,” he said. “I don’t even know their situation now. They expected me to be free and go back home, but it is on the contrary.”

Source: Court Sentences Sinoe Gang Rape and Murder Defendants to 25 Years