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

“Johnny’s Town Murder Trial: Finally, Justice Is Done!” – Liberia

Last week, one of Liberia’s leading newspapers, the Daily Observer, published an enthusiastic article, lauding the judiciary system in Liberia, following the jury’s conclusion that 7 defendants in the Sinoe murder case (‘the Johnny Town Murder Trial’) were found guilty of murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation. The article focuses on harmful traditional practices in Liberia, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forcible initiation into secret societies, trial by ordeal (particularly the use of sassywood), accusations of witchcraft, and ritualistic killings. The authors conclude that the verdict rendered in the Johnny’s Town Case is a landmark example. 

The article provides a useful summary of the case, its background and significance, and is therefore highly recommended. I fully agree with the main conclusion: 
“This landmark verdict has brought great relief to survivors and their families and set the right precedence that would possibly deter would-be perpetrators of harmful traditional practices in Liberia.”
(webmaster FVDK).

Published: September 3, 2019
By: National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO) and Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI) – published by the Daily Observer 

The Case 

Late last year, three young Liberian women in Johnny Town, Kpayan District, Sinoe County, were accused by a group of community dwellers of kidnapping a three-month-old child for witchcraft rituals. Angeline Saydee, Florence Tarkleh and Willete Nyewallah were subjected to trial by ordeal and abused, tortured and gang raped. One of the women, Willete, was killed. Another was hospitalized and later discharged. Stories surrounding the third woman, who happens to be the mother of the missing child, are quite conflicting.

It is said that Willete, who was killed in this incident, was few months pregnant prior to her unfortunate death. All the accused women fervently denied involvement in witchcraft and in the disappearance of the child. These women experienced unimaginable abuse. They were stripped naked before public glare and paraded from one corner of the town to another; thereafter, they were taken into the bush and subjected to trial by ordeal and to other violent crimes. Before these young women were abducted, tortured and one killed, they were living peaceful lives with their families and loved ones.

The young men accused of these crimes allegedly committed these inhumane acts under the orders of some traditional leaders, including a female traditionalist who allegedly subjected the women to trial by ordeal.

Harmful Traditional Practices in Liberia 

Trial by ordeal is a harmful traditional practice in which suspects are subjected to torture and other forms of inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. The practice is usually done in extremely brutal manner and is intended to have suspects forcefully (and likely falsely) confessing guilt. The pain that comes with trial by ordeal is often raw and severe and can force people to confess guilt even if they were not the actual doers of the act for which ,they were accused. This practice has been outlawed by the Government of Liberia but it still persists.

An UNMIL and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights assessment of Harmful Traditional Practices in Liberia found that some traditional and cultural practices common to many Liberian ethnic communities have a significantly negative impact on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. These include FGM, forcible initiation into secret societies, trial by ordeal (particularly the use of sassywood), accusations of witchcraft, and ritualistic killings. The assessment found that “these practices have particularly affected certain groups such as women, children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, as well as the poorest Liberians” ( UNMIL and OHCHR 2015-An Assessment of Human Rights Issues Emanating from Traditional Practices in Liberia p.2).

This high prevalence is fundamentally why we believe that all must be done to step up the fight against harmful traditional practices. A critical starting point was ensuring the rule of law with particular focus on increasing access to justice for women and girls. We submit here that the verdict rendered in the Johnny’s Town Case is a landmark example!

Civil Society Supports the Survivors 

Immediately after these vicious crimes committed against Angeline Saydee, Florence Tarkleh and Willete Nyewallah came to light, the National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO) coordinated county-level advocacy actions with the active involvement of the Sinoe County Women Platform and the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI). Soon after, the case captured national and international attention. The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection got involved, as did some concerned Liberian women and women’s organizations.

At national level, advocacy actions were coordinated by the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) in close collaboration with NIPO and FCI. As part of these actions, the coalition presented its position statement to the National Legislature, calling on the Government of Liberia to provide reparation for survivors, relocate and resettle survivors and transfer the case to neutral location to avoid “local interference” or “manipulation”. Copies of this statement were presented to key embassies near Monrovia including the American and British Embassies. Subsequently, ten arrests were made and the case was transferred from the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court in Sinoe County to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County. The case was scheduled to be heard during the August Term of Court.

Trial Proceedings 

The August Term of Court opened on August 12th, 2019 and the Johnny’s Town Murder Case was the first on the docket. Seven persons indicted for murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation faced a jury trial with fifteen jurors handing down the verdict. Initially, ten persons were arrested, indicted and taken to court in relation to this case. Three were nolle prosequoi, (the legal term for dropping charges against an accused for lack of evidence). Final arguments in the case were heard on Friday, August 30. Immediately thereafter, the jury unanimously handed down a guilty verdict against all seven indictees.

Sinoe County Women Platform

Prior to the opening of the August Term of Court, NIPO and FCI jointly sponsored ten members of the Sinoe County Women Platform to Grand Bassa County to continue advocacy actions and witness legal proceedings. The sponsorship covered the travel, accommodation and feeding of the ten-member team. They arrived in Grand Bassa County on the 10th of August and were met on arrival by NIPO and FCI. Advocacy in Grand Bassa was coordinated and executed alongside the Grand Bassa Women Development Association (BAWODA).

The women gathered before the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court holding placards with inscriptions such as “No Excuse for Abuse” and “They Deserve Justice”, and called for a speedy and fair trial. They were assured that there was no need for protest actions because the case was the first on the docket.  This position was reinforced by the president of the Grand Bassa County Bar Association who spoke with the women and assured them that the Bar would do everything necessary to ensure that justice is served in a timely manner.

This case significantly helped the Platform to expand its network and amplify their voices at the regional level. Thanks to collaboration with the Grand Bassa Women Development Association (BAWODA). The women continuously recommitted themselves to continuing their advocacy until the case was brought to a logical end.

Lorraine G. Mennon is the chairperson for the Platform. She committed to providing leadership in planning, organizing and implementing continuous advocacy actions and coordinating activities of the Platform until perpetrators were brought to book. She described the unanimous guilty verdict as a magnificent precedence and prayed that the state takes similar action against other people indicted for harmful traditional practices and violence against women and girls across Liberia. Madam Mennon informed NIPO and FCI that they will keep the Platform proactive, indicating that smaller community awareness actions will be organized and implemented to inform local women and girls about the effects of harmful traditional practices, expand knowledge and information about the Platform and create linkages with towns and villages with the view of monitoring, documenting, reporting and advocating against these bad cultural practices.

NIPO’s Lawyer joined the Prosecution Team

On Monday, August 12th, NIPO’s lawyer, Atty. Freeman, joined the prosecution team and promised to put his legal and research expertise to the disposal of the government towards winning the case. He promised to play active role in the cross examination of defense witnesses but later restricted his role to liaising with and motivating state lawyers. He told NIPO that after examining all the pieces of evidence against the accused, proof was evident and presumption great for their conviction. Atty. Freeman was hired and is paid by NIPO’s access to justice project, funded by UNDP-Liberia through Oxfam.

Conclusion

The Johnny’s Town Trial was a landmark case involving harmful traditional practices which inflicted serious injuries on two of three young Liberian women. This inhumane and criminal act led to the gruesome death of one of the victims and the hospitalization of another. Due to sustained advocacy actions at both the county and national levels, ten arrests were made, the case transferred to a neutral location and the survivors relocated. Legal proceedings in the case began in this August Term of Court. NIPO, FCI, Sinoe Women’s Platform and other women’s groups including the Bassa Women Development Association (BAWODA), were very unwavering in supporting the survivors’ protection and access to justice in this case.

NIPO and FCI’s advocacy around this case was supported by Oxfam with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.  The project, called “Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women” or FLOW, has the goals of promoting women’s rights to be heard and to live free from violence. The FLOW Project has successfully run in Liberia since 2016.

The lawyer hired by NIPO to support the State’s case is paid by the UNDP through Oxfam. This project is called “Strengthening Access to Justice for Women and Girls in Sinoe and Grand Gedeh.”

Due process was necessary to rendering justice against harmful traditional practices, protecting women and girls from the dangers of the practice, punishing perpetrators for wrongful actions and finding redress for victims and survivors. This landmark verdict has brought great relief to survivors and their families and set the right precedence that would possibly deter would-be perpetrators of harmful traditional practices in Liberia.

Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Oxfam, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, or the UNDP.

Source: Johnny’s Town Murder Trial: Finally, Justice Is Done!

Liberia: Court to sentence 7 defendants found guilty in Sinoe County murder case

The article below – published by Liberia’s leading newspaper FrontPageAfrica – reports that on August 30, the Trial Jury of the Grand Bassa County Circuit Court unanimously found seven defendants guilty in the Sinoe murder case. This is not consistent with an earlier article, published by The Bush Chicken – another well  known Liberian newspaper – which reported that 10 of the 12 jurors voted for a guilty verdict, while 2 abstained (see my September 2 posting). 

Judge Joe Barkon of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County is to hand down final ruling in the Sinoe County murder case on Monday, September 9.

To be continued (webmaster FVDK). 

A photo of the women who were claimed to be witches

Published: September 3, 2019
By: Kennedy L. Yangian – FrontPageAfrica

Monrovia – Court sources at the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County, have disclosed that Judge Joe Barkon is to hand down final ruling in the Sinoe County gang rape and murder case, on Monday, September 9.

The judge’s ruling will be followed by the sentencing of the seven defendants found guilty of murder and gang rape in

Trial Jury of the Grand Bassa County Circuit Court Friday, August 30, unanimously found the defendants guilty in the murder and gang-rape case.

This comes after more than two weeks of legal battle between government lawyers, led by Cllr. Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, and Defense lawyers, led by Cllr. Paul Philip Jarvan.

Judge Barkon reserved ruling into the case last Friday, August 30, in line with the law that provides for time in sentencing of Defendants who are found guilty.

 The seven guilty defendants are Moses Solo, Ellis Karpeh, Sylvester Chardy, Swen Kelgbeh, Teah Gmanwolou, Victor Solo and Pyne Nyene. They will be sentenced for Murder, Gang Rape, aggravated Assault, Criminal Conspiracy and Facilitation.

The defendants were among 10 persons who were arrested by state security and indicted in Greenville City, Sinoe County in 2018 after they accused three ladies, Williete Nyenwlah, Angeline Saydee and Florence Tarklay, for being responsible for the disappearance of a four-year-old child in Johnny Town, Normorpoe District, Sinoe County on December 12, 2018.

The three women were stripped  naked and paraded publicly  in the town and then taken to the society bush where they were allegedly tortured  and  sexually abused  with the men  inserting  sticks  into their private parts resulting to the death of one them, Williete, who was buried secretly  in a swampland.

The case was to be heard in Greenville Sinoe County but state prosecutors requested for a change of venue to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County based on what the prosecutors termed as due to local prejudice. 

As the case was called for trial this August 2019 Term and before the reading of the indictment to the defendants, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, entered a plea of Nolle Prosequoi (free) in favor of three co-defendants, Anthony Karmon Marshall Gballa and Shelton Kelgbeh for lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute them while the rest of the defendants were arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges.

During the trial, the state produced five general witnesses including the two survivors and three rebuttal witnesses. 

While on the witness stand, two of the five co-defendants, Moses Solo and Alex Karpeh, described themselves as the “devil’s spokesperson” and the town crier of Jonny Town, respectively, though they denied the allegations but admitted been present and member of the country society that took custody of the victims.

 The two co-defendants said the deceased died after she was questioned by the country devil, who shouted at her and she allegedly dropped dead after she was transformed into a dragon and that her left eye was removed and given to her father who according to the defendants turned her over to the society people or country devil.

However, the other five co-defendants denied been members of the secret society and that they were not in Johnny Town when the incident occurred and that they were  arrested based on mistaken identity by the Liberia National Police. 

Their testimonies prompted the state lawyers to introduce the father of the deceased as one of its three rebuttal witnesses who denied been the head of the Zoe people and that it was him who turned his daughter over to the country devil to be penalized for been a “witch.” 

During the final legal argument, state lawyers argued that the defendants were under obligation to have brought in witnesses to prove their defense that they were arrested based on mistaken identity; but they miserably fail to do same while the Defense lawyer, Cllr. Paul Jarvan, counter argued that the state did not prove its allegation against the defendants.

The other defendants, who claimed that they were not in the town of the incident, did not produce witnesses to testify that they were not in the town when the incident occurred.

Source: Liberia: Court to Sentence 7 Defendants Found Guilty in Sinoe County Murder, Rape Case

Liberia: Jury finds 7 defendants guilty in Sinoe murder case

More news on the Sinoe murder case. My earlier postings on the murder case and trial of the ten defendants date from August 30 and August 31. However, newspaper articles are not consistent. The Bush Chicken reports ten defendants (see my August 30 posting) whereas FrontPageAfrica mentions nine defendants (see my August 31 posting). The FrontPageAfrica article does not mention the names of Dennis Pyne and Alex Karpeh (mentioned in The Bush Chicken article) whereas FP Africa mentions as one of the defendants a certain Shelton Kelgbeh whose name does not appear in The Bush Chicken article. Moreover names are not consistent (Sylvester Charty – The Bush Chicken – versus Sylvester T. Cherdy – FP Africa).

Be that as it may, the article below – originally published by The Bush Chicken – reports that a jury has found seven of the ten defendants guilty, including Moses Solo, Teah Gmawlue, Sylvester Charty, Dennis P. Pyne, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Alex Karpeh. The prosecution had abandoned its case against Marshall Gbala, Anthony Karmoh, and Swen Pyne for lack of evidence. 

An interesting fact is that Amos Nyewallah, the father of the murdered woman, Willette Nyewallah, was accused by one of the defendants of having ordered his daughter’s murder. Earlier during the trial, Moses Solo, one of the defendants, who acknowledged being a member of the traditional society which is allegedly involved, testified and accused Amos Nyewallah of being the acting traditional chairman of the district (Nomorpoe District, in Sinoe County, where Johnny Town – the ‘crime scene’ – is located). Moses Solo also accused Amos Nyewallah of having ordered his daughter’s murder (see my August 30 posting). Amos Nyewallah denied the accusation. He acknowledged being a member of the traditional society, but said he held no position in it and warned that Solo’s statements could damage his reputation. What emerges from Solo’s accusation and Nyewallah’s denial is that the traditional society somehow played a role in the murder of Willette Nyewallah. 

One of these days, judge Joe Barkon is expected to provide the final ruling, which will include the sentence the men who have been found guilty will face. 

To be continued (webmaster FVDK).

Featured photo by Sampson David

Published: August 31, 2019
By: Sampson David –  The Bush Chicken 

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A jury has found seven of the ten defendants guilty in the ongoing Sinoe murder and gang-rape case.

The case is being tried at the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Buchanan. The seven persons found guilty on August 30 include Moses Solo, Teah Gmawlue, Sylvester Charty, Dennis P. Pyne, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Alex Karpeh.

Prior to the case, the prosecution, led by assistant justice minister for litigation Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, abandoned its case against three of the co-defendants because of a lack of sufficient evidence. Those co-defendants were Marshall Gbala, Anthony Karmoh, and Swen Pyne.

The rest of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the multiple indictments.

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.

The final argument of the case between the prosecution and defense lawyers was held on August 30, with several women and human rights groups, as well as family members and residents of Sinoe and Grand Bassa in attendance.

After close to two hours of arguments presented by lawyers from both sides, the jurors were charged by Judge Joe Barkon to come up with a fair and transparent verdict based on the arguments, testimonies, and evidence provided.

Of the 15 jurors, 3 were told to remain in the court as alternative jurors while 12 went into a room to deliberate.

Upon their return, 10 of the 12 jurors voted for a guilty verdict, while 2 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 and the father of the deceased came and said only two persons up there, Alex Carpeh and Moses Solo, are members of the traditional society,” he said.

“In keeping with our practice, whenever a verdict is handed down, once the defense is dissatisfied with that verdict, it is the right of the defense to except to that verdict,” Jarvan added. “In short, what we are saying is that we are not satisfied because we provided our laws, we argued and prepared our memorandum and all the laws that we rely on they are all our legal memorandum.”

Jarvan said the defense counsel will file in a motion for a new trial and if denied, they will take exception to the final judgment.

He added that if the final judgment comes against his clients, he may appeal to the Supreme Court.

Jarvan can file a motion for retrial within five days, which could be denied by the judge.

Next week, the judge is expected to provide the final ruling, which will indicate the likely sentence the men may face.

Source: Jury Finds 7 Defendants Guilty in Sinoe Murder and Gang Rape Case

Ritual killings will never bring luck – Conference of Churches Swaziland (2018 article)

News from Swaziland, a tiny country in Southern Africa, surrounded by the republic of South Africa, seldom reaches the outside world. Yet it is one of the most amazing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, not the least because the country is ruled by a king with absolute powers. Ritual killings occur frequently in Swaziland, sometimes during election campaigns, and the monarch has on more than one occasion spoken against these atrocious crimes. In this 2018 article the Swaziland Conference of Churches speaks out against ritual killings, condemns the barbaric act of killing innocent persons for muti purposes and has issued a stern warning (webmaster FVDK).

Published: June 8, 2018
By: Sifiso Nhlabatsi  (Swazi Observer)

Source: Ritual killings will never bring luck – Conference of Churches

Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and also known as Swaziland (officially renamed in 2018), is a country in Southern Africa. With 17,364 km2 and a population of roughly 1.5 million, Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa. 

Zambia: Pathologist testifies in ritual killing case

Scroll in the section ‘Zambia’- under ‘African countries’ on the home page (dropdown menu) – for related articles. 

Warning:  the article below contains shocking details of the crimes committed.
(webmaster FVDK)

Published: August 23, 2019
By: Zondiwe Mbewe   (News Diggers)

A State Forensic Pathologist has testified in the Lusaka High Court that after examining the body of an unidentified victim, he found an opening below the rib cage with the heart and liver missing, while the ears and penis were cut off.

The witness further testified that victims in the suspected ritual killings case died from blunt force head injuries before their body parts were mutilated.

Mubanga Mucheleng’anga was testifying in the matter in which a 30-year-old man of Lusaka is accused of murdering seven people in suspected ritual circumstances.

Nickson Tembo, a street vendor of house number 143/13 in Lilanda West, is alleged to have murdered seven people in Matero Township.

Details of the matter are that the murders were done between December 2017 and February 2018.

When the matter came up before High Court judge Catherine Phiri, Wednesday, Dr Mucheleng’anga told the court that on a date he could not recall, he was tasked to conduct a postmortem on a body found in Matero which was brought to him by police officers.

He said he proceeded to conduct a postmortem after seeing the order from the coroner, adding that he procceeded to prepare a report which he handed over to police.

Dr Muchelenganga said after examining the body of the unidentified victim, he found a chop wound on the forehead, abrasions on the face, scratches on the skin and a fracture on the skull.

“There was an opening below the rib cage measuring 35 centimetres, the heart and liver were missing, the ears were cut off and the penis was also decapitated,” he said.

Dr Muchelenganga disclosed that after examing the body, a pot was taken to him by the investigation officer containing a heart that apeared and smelt as if it was cooked, and a liver.

He said he knew it was a human heart because the way it appeared was consistent with other human hearts he had seen.

“The samples were not sent for DNA testing, we needed an expert in forensics to tell us if we can extract DNA from the cooked samples,” he said.

Dr Muchelenganga said a reconstruction was also done to demontrate that the penis was chopped off from the victim.

He added that since the cooked organs were found at the crime scene, it was logical to infer that they may have been obtained from the deceased.

Dr Muchelenganga further testified that other postmortem reports conducted on several other bodies by his fellow pathologists showed similar results as the one for the unidentified victim.

He told the court that findings from postmortems conducted on the bodies revealed chopped wounds caused by a sharp instrument leading to fractured skulls and brain bleed, which was the cause of death.

The witness identified some of the victims as Mabvuto Phiri, Levis Mwabuka and Jack Tembo.

Trial continues.

Source: Pathologist testifies in ritual killing case

South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes

This posting contains not only the article announced in it heading but also many related articles, going back as far as February 1, 2018 when the news of the missing girl and baby first broke out. The gruesome crime got much attention in South African newspapers. It shows once again the vulnerability of people with albinism in South Africa. However, the South African judicial system is to be complimented this time for its swift actions and the punishment of the perpetrators.

Also see my November 5, 2018 posting with an article on this murder case plus the stealing of body parts from a 28-year-old albino man just hours after he was buried, and my posting of November 6, 2018, with a more general but highly recommended article, ‘Why Albions are being murdered in South Africa’, by Tom Head (webmaster FVDK).

Josiah Thubane who admitted to the killing of Shabane and baby Nkosikhona.. Middleburg high court, Mpumalanga PHOTO: THULANI MBELE

Published: August 22, 2019
By:  Etsey Atisu  (face2faceAfrica)

A 40-year-old South African teacher, Josiah Thubane, has admitted guilt to kidnapping and killing a 13-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, for a ritual referred to locally as muti. 

The man, who is only one of four men accused of the crime, also abducted a 15-month-old baby without albinism and later threw her alive off a bridge to drown in a dam near the N4 highway, reports the Sowetan Live

He pleaded guilty to all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse.

Thubane, a teacher by profession and father of four, apologized to the family as he was escorted to the holding cells. 

According to the Sowetan Live, mother of Gabisile, Anna Shabane told the the Middelburg High Court in Mpumalanga that her family has had to beef up security at home since the incident that took place in 2018.

In January 2018, Gabisile was abducted by some men from her home at Hlalakahle in eMalahleni area of Mpumalanga in 2018 along with her 15-month-old baby cousin, Nkosikhona Ngwenya. 

The group of men allegedly wanted her body parts for muti purposes.

Police recovered the bodies of Gabisile Shabane and Nkosikhona Ngwenya in separate locations. 
Image: EMalahleni Residents/Community – Municipality via Facebook

In a statement read out in court, Thubane said that he was part of the plan to kill Gabisile and admitted that he knew she was being abducted to be killed for her body parts. He also admitted to killing baby Nkosikhona.

“I admit that on the 27-28 of January 2018 I did unlawfully and intentionally kill the baby by throwing him off the bridge of Zaalklap River. I admit that on the next day in Cullinan, I killed Gabisile Shabane, a 13-year-old,” reports the Sowetan Live.

Testifying in court, Anna Shabane said she still has flashbacks of the day she found her daughter’s headless and decomposed body with missing body parts.

Nompumelelo Shabane (mother of 15 month old baby) with Anna Shabane ( mother of Gabsile) at the Middleburg High court, Mumalanga.PIC: THULANI MBELE

“I was close to my daughter, and her twin sister Khanyisile has been more shattered by her sister’s passing. The manner in which she was killed makes me feel that they should have taken me and not her,” reports the Sowetan Live.

“I replay the vivid images in my head over and over again and I keep hoping she would come back. She was young and had a bright future ahead of her,” Shabane added.

The prosecutor on the case, Ntsika Mpolweni, told the court the victim’s report revealed that the mother of the murdered 15-month-old baby, Nompumelelo Ngwenya, had been psychologically affected since the mother was breastfeeding him when he was abducted.

The Sowetan Live reports that according to social workers, the family continues to live in fear and had become overprotective of the remaining child as they fear he could also be attacked and killed.

“The fear is so extreme that the [toddler] cannot even go and play outside with other children and that is as the result of the attack, abduction and killing of two of their children.”

The four men facing charges of two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse | News24

Thokozani Msibi, a traditional healer; Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga, the other three men who face the same charges, will however appear in court again on May 25 next year.

Source: South African teacher admits to killing teen with albinism for ritual purposes

Related: Teacher admits chopping up teen girl with albinism

Published: August 21, 2019
By: Promise Marupeng (Sowetan Live)

The family of a slain 13-year-old girl with albinism are so terrified of muthi killers that they have made their toddler a prisoner in his own home.

Yesterday, Anna Shabane – the mother of 13-year-old Gabisile – told the Middelburg High Court that the family has had to beef up security at home.

Gabisile was killed after she was abducted from her home in Hlalakahle in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, last year by a group of men who allegedly wanted her body parts for muti purposes.

Gabisile’s 15-month-old baby cousin, who didn’t have albinism, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, was also abducted with her and later thrown alive off a bridge to drown in a dam near the N4 highway.

One of the four men accused of the double murders, Josiah Thubane, 40, pleaded guilty on all charges including two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to commit murder and one count of violation of a corpse.

Speaking in aggravation of Thubane’s sentence, Shabane told the high court that her family was living in fear and that her daughter’s killing has destroyed her family.

“I was close to my daughter, and her twin sister Khanyisile has been more shattered by her sister’s passing. The manner in which she was killed makes me feel that they should have taken me and not her,” she said sobbing.

Shabane told the court that she still has flashbacks of the day she found her daughter’s headless and decomposed body with missing body parts.

“I replay the vivid images in my head over and over again and I keep hoping she would come back. She was young and had a bright future ahead of her,” said the mother.

Shabane also revealed that after security was beefed up by installing CCTV cameras and building a high wall at her house, rumour swelled that she had sold her children.

“I was helped by the municipality after my family was attacked to build a wall around my home and to put in cameras, but my community accused me of selling my children for money to renovate my home,” said the mother.

Prosecutor Ntsika Mpolweni told the court the victim’s report revealed that the mother of the murdered 15-month-old baby, Nompumelelo Ngwenya, was psychologically affected. Mpolweni said when the child was abducted Ngwenya was breastfeeding him.

The prosecutor further said according to social workers, the family lived in fear and was overprotective of the remaining child as they feared he could also be killed.

“The fear is so extreme that the [toddler] cannot even go and play outside with other children and that is as the result of the attack, abduction and killing of two of their children.”

In a statement read out in court, Thubane said that he was part of the plan to kill Gabisile and admitted that he knew she was being abducted to be killed for her body parts.

Thubane also admitted to killing baby Nkosikhona.

“I admit that on the 27-28 of January 2018 I did unlawfully and intentionally kill the baby by throwing him off the bridge of Zaalklap River. I admit that on the next day in Cullinan, I killed Gabisile Shabane, a 13-year-old,” said Thubane.

Thubane, a teacher by profession and father of four, apologised to the family as he was escorted to the holding cells.

Three of his co-accused in the case – Thokozani Msibi, a traditional healer, Brilliant Mkhize and Knowledge Mhlanga – who face the same charges, will appear in court again on May 25 next year.

Mpolweni said that Thubane was not remorseful for the gruesome murder of the two children.

“He only cooperated after he was caught and nothing justified slaughtering Gabisile and chopping off her head, left arm, removing her heart, liver, genital parts that came as proof supported by the postmortem,” said Mpolweni.

Mpolweni further asked the judge to consider the fact that a baby was thrown off a bridge like a stone into a stream of water to die.

“Did he ever ask himself what trauma and pain the Shabane and Ngwenya families have gone through after their actions?”

Mpolweni further said the perpetrators deserved no lighter sentence than life imprisonment.

The matter was postponed to Friday for sentencing.

Source: Teacher admits chopping up teen girl with albinism

Related: Traditional healer to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

A Mpumalanga traditional healer has admitted to killing two children for muti. File photo.  
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Published: August 20, 2019
By: Nonkululeko Njilo  (Sowetan Live)

A traditional healer in Mpumalanga who admitted killing a teen who had albinism and her baby cousin for muti to boost his business will soon learn how long he will spend behind bars. 

Sentencing proceedings against Themba Thubane were expected to commence on Tuesday in the Middelburg high court.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed that Thubane pleaded guilty to seven charges.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the man admitted to killing Gabisile Shabane, 13,  and her 15-month-old cousin Nkosikhona Ngwenya in order to extract muti from them to revive his failing business.  

Thubane was arrested with co-accused Thokozani Msibi‚ Brilliant Mkhize‚ and Knowledge Mhlanga in 2018, after they allegedly broke into the Shabane household in Hlalanikahle‚ Mpumalanga.   

The three co-accused have pleaded not guilty and are expected to return to court on May 25, 2020.

The group was armed during the break-in when they kidnapped the victims and allegedly later murdered them.

Thubane will be sentenced on charges including murder, kidnapping, housebreaking with intent to murder, and the violation of a corpse, according to Nyuswa.  

More than a year since the tragic ordeal, the family expressed relief at the commencement of sentencing proceedings.

In an interview with eNCA, family spokesperson Chantel Ngwenya said the delays had caused unbearable pain to the family.  

“We’re really happy the trial has commenced because we have been waiting for a long time. The waiting was killing us as a family. We are happy even though the others did not admit to committing the crime. It’s painful to us, it shows that they are not remorseful for the pain they’ve caused us.” 

On Thubane’s guilty plea, Ngwenya said: “We hope that we will be able to find closure from the one that admitted to committing the crime. To us it shows he is remorseful, he has a conscience inside him, he regrets it.” 

The family hopes the sentence will take into account the immense pain caused to them by the killings.

Source: Traditional healer to be sentenced for muti murder of albino teen, baby

Related: Suspect pleads guilty to Mpumalanga ‘muti’ killings

To watch video click the source of this article (below)

Published: August 20, 2019
By: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – One of the men accused of murdering 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane and her 15-month-old nephew has pleaded guilty.

He’ll go on trial on Tuesday. The three other accused will be tried separately next year.

The man said Shabane was killed for muti. The teenager was living with albinism.

Her headless body was found in a shallow grave last year.

Other body parts were also missing.

The body of her newphew Nkosikhona Ngwenya was discovered at a dump along a Mpumalanga highway.

Source: Suspect pleads guilty to Mpumalanga ‘muti’ killings

Related: DNA test delayed as murdered albino girl forced to drink brake fluid

JOHANNESBURG, 14 March 2018 – As three of the six suspects arrested for allegedly kidnapping and killing two Mpumalanga children are expected to appear in court on Wednesday, a relative of one of the suspects says the accused wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Published: June 2, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – The family of 14-year-old Gabisile Shabane, one of two children who were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle in Witbank in Mpumalanga in January and later found murdered, on Friday said that DNA tests on her body were delayed because she was forced to drink brake fluid mixed with dagga shortly before she was murdered.

Gabisile’s mother Annah Shabane said they have received the DNA test results for another murdered child, 15-month-old boy Nkosikhona Ngwenya, from the South African Police Service two weeks ago.

“It’s very painful to wait for months to bury our children,” Shabane said speaking to reporters outside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court, shortly after four men – Thokozani Msibi, Brilliant Mkhize, Themba Thubane and Knowledge Mhlanga – appeared in connection with the kidnapping and murder.

“The DNA tests must be completed so that we can bury those children. Our lives are very difficult. We often think and talk about this matter.”

Provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Monica Nyuswa, told the African News Agency that the DNA tests were delayed because Gabisile’s body was contaminated with brake fluid.

“The DNA tests will still be completed,” Nyuswa said.

On 4 April, State Prosecutor Fanie Mavundla told the same court that Gabisile was forced to drink brake fluid mixed with dagga, allegedly by one of the accused, shortly before she was murdered.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said Friday officials were ready to give the Shabane family Nkosikhona’s body if they wanted it.

The children were kidnapped from their home on28  January, allegedly by three men who entered the house through a broken window.

Gabisile’s headless body was found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan in the east of Pretoria in the third week of February with some body parts missing.

The body of Nkosikhona, who is not an albino, was found on the side of the N4 freeway in Mpumalanga in the same week.

The case was postponed to 14 August for further investigations.

Source: DNA test delayed as murdered albino girl forced to drink brake fluid

Related: Nine months after she was mutilated and killed‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane will finally be laid to rest

Published: October 11, 2018
By: Naledi Shange  (Sowetan Live)

Symphathizers singing in support of the Shabane family who daughter Gabisizele who was living with albinism was brutally murdered in January along with 15 month old Nkosikhona Ngwenya. Photo Thulani Mbele. 05/04/2018

Almost nine months after being abducted from her home and killed for her body parts‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane who had albinism‚ will finally be laid to rest.

The Mpumalanga Community Security Department has announced that she and her one-year-old nephew Nkosikhona Ngwenya will be buried in Witbank next week.

Their burial had been delayed for months on end as DNA tests had yet to verify that the mutilated body parts found in different areas all belonged to Gabisile. The tests have since been concluded.

Gabisile’s headless body had been found buried in a shallow grave in Cullinan‚ east of Pretoria. It was understood that some of her other parts were found in premises belonging to one of the accused in the matter‚ while Nkosikhona had been thrown into a swamp.

It is believed that the attackers had stormed into their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned Nkosikhona for another albino child who was in the house.

“Four suspects were arrested in February and were charged with kidnapping and murder‚” said department spokesman Joseph Mabuza.

Amongst those arrested is a traditional healer. During their bail application‚ the court had heard horrific details of how Gabisile was forced to drink brake fluid and beer and also smoke dagga shortly before her mutilation.

The suspects on Wednesday returned to the Witbank Magistrate’s Court‚ where their case was postponed to August 2019 for trial. They remain behind bars.

Meanwhile‚ Mpumalanga’s MEC of Community Security Pat Ngomane was on Thursday expected to unveil the Shabane home‚ which has been renovated to tighten security.

“During his visit to the family earlier this year‚ MEC Ngomane‚ the eMalahleni Local Municipality and some stakeholders such as Highveld Steel pledged to assist the family by enhancing the security features of their house in order to prevent further break-ins‚” said Mabuza.

“Through donations‚ the MEC and the stakeholders managed to refurbish the house. The roof of the house has been redone‚ the house plastered and painted and the floor tiled. A security wall and a gate have also been completed‚” he added.

Source: Nine months after she was mutilated and killed‚ 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane will finally be laid to rest

Related: 
‘Let’s burn this court!’ Outrage as alleged killers of albino girl is postponed again

Angry residents outside a Witbank court wanted to set the court house on fire after another delay in the murder case of an albino girl. 
Image: Thulani Mbele 

Published: August 14, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

Residents of Witbank expressed outrage on Tuesday after hearing the case against four men accused of abducting and killing an albino girl and her nephew was postponed yet again.

“Let’s burn this court!” the 150-strong crowed chanted as they gathered outside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court.

The four accused appeared via satellite from the Witbank Correctional Services Centre‚ where they have been kept since their arrest.

Tensions flared outside the court behind the rolls of police tape used to keep the crowds away from the building.

“The family has stayed with a cloud of death over them for seven months and‚ according to our customs‚ this is not done‚” Taylor Pookgoadi‚ the district secretary of the SA Communist Party in Nkangala told the crowd of supporters.

While‚ the family and scores of other supporters had arrived at the court hoping for the matter to commence‚ it became apparent that the matter was not quite ready for trial.

“It doesn’t seem like there will be much progress when we come back on October 10‚” Pookgoadi told the crowd. “We want the case to simply be moved to a bigger court.”

The case had been postponed after it was found that a fifth suspect was yet to be extradited from Swaziland‚ where he also faces other charges.

Also‚ the DNA results‚ which would determine if the body parts found in different locations were that of 13-year-old Gabisile Shabane‚ who had been mutilated‚ were yet to be obtained.

Gabisile’s 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ was abducted with her.

It is believed that the attackers who had stormed their home in January and had mistaken the light-skinned toddler for another albino child who was in the house. His remains were found dumped in a swamp near the N4 highway.

Trudy Xhala-Mavimbela‚ from the office of the mayor‚ said the family had found themselves in a tricky situation because not all of Gabisile’s body parts had been found.

“We can’t bury them until the suspects [hand over] the rest of the body parts‚” Xhala- Mavimbela said.

“This matter has been dragging on since January. Government needs to speed things up so that the family can find peace. This has been traumatic for the family‚” she added‚ addressing the crowds.

On Tuesday‚ two of the alleged killers bowed their heads‚ avoiding contact with the camera that showed their faces to the court. The third beamed his bright smile as he saw the crowds of people seated in the court gallery‚ while the fourth accused simply stared straight forward.

Gabisile’s sister‚ the mother of Nkosikhona‚ stared at the screen‚ glaring at the men accused of taking her son and her sister’s life.

After proceedings‚ she‚ her mother and other relatives who had packed the court stood outside‚ where they briefly spoke to the media.

They expressed concern at the delay in the case.

“We are not happy with how things are progressing‚” said Sibongile Shabane.

They expressed their displeasure at how abruptly court proceedings had ended as one of the accused had raised his hand‚ requesting to speak to his lawyer.

The lawyer stepped out of the courtroom to give his client‚ who was at the prison‚ a call.

The matter was temporarily adjourned but minutes later the lawyer returned and left the court‚ leaving the court orderlies to explain that‚ as previously stated‚ the matter had simply been postponed to October.

Meanwhile‚ a source close to the family spoke to the trauma that the family faced as they frequently went to the mortuary to check on the corpses of the children‚ adding that the body parts were wilting away in the ice.

The worst part‚ however‚ was that even as court proceedings were scheduled to continue in October‚ there was no guarantee that the DNA tests would be ready and the bodies would be released for the burial‚ he said.

Source: ‘Let’s burn this court!’ Outrage as alleged killers of albino girl is postponed again

Related: Body parts found at home of muti-murder accused

Thokozani Msibi (L) and his co-accused Brilliant Mkhize in the dock inside the Witbank Magistrate’s Court. The two are accused of killing two children, one of whom was an albino.

Published: March 7, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – Police found a human head and other human body parts at the home of traditional healer Thokozani Msibi in eMalahleni in Mpumalanga last month.

Msibi was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two children, one of whom was living with albinism, the eMalahleni Magistrate’s Court&39;s heard on Tuesday.

State prosecutor opposed bail,  who appeared with his co-accused Brilliant Mkhize. He said Msibi also showed the police a shallow grave in Cullinan, east of Pretoria, where the body of a 14-year-old girl with albinism, Gabisile Shabane, was found buried last month. 

“Our witness said he was there when Gabisile was chopped off,” said Mavundla, which led to Gabisile’s mother Annah Shabane, who was sitting in the public gallery, to sob loudly.

“That witness said he carried that girl on his back. The accused (Msibi) then went to a traditional healer in Swaziland and asked him to cleanse him of bad luck. He was going to pay that traditional healer with a vagina of a girl, but the traditional healer refused. That traditional healer is also a State witness.”

Gabisile and a 15-month-old boy, Nkosikhona Ngwenya, were kidnapped from their home in Hlalanikahle in eMalahleni on January 28, allegedly by three men who entered their home after breaking a window. Nkosikhona’s body was found on the side of the N4 highway last month.

Mavundla told the court that the same state witness told the police that Gabisile’s body parts were chopped off by a “Mr Gamede” from Swaziland, who was alleged to be with Msibi and others. He said some of the missing parts from Gabisile’s body were not found.

Msibi’s lawyer, Zamo Sibisi, earlier argued that his client was tortured and forced to make statements after he was arrested.

“The accused stated that whatever statements or pointing out (of crime scenes) he made was not done voluntarily,” said Sibisi.

Magistrate Darleen Venter denied Msibi bail and postponed the matter to March 13 so that Mkhize could get a legal representative.

Source: Body parts found at home of muti-murder accused

Related: Three in court for albinism murder

File: The child was killed last week and her body found decapitated and with the right foot amputated.

Published: March 1, 2018
By: eNCA

WITBANK – Three men facing charges of murder and kidnapping of two children are expected to appear in the Witbank magistrate&39;s court on Tuesday.

Police have beefed up security ahead of their court appearance.

They allegedly targeted a 13-year-old girl, living with albinism, and her 15-month-old brother.

The children were abducted from their home in Vosman in Mpumalanga.

Their bodies were found weeks later.

Source: Three in court for albinism murder

Related: Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises

The little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were kidnapped last month. Image: Missing person alert poster

Published: February 28, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

A police officer has described the trauma that he and other officers experienced when they discovered remains believed to be those of Gabisile Shabani‚ a 13-year-old albino girl who was murdered‚ allegedly as part of a muti ritual.

The premises in Emalahleni in Mpumalanga belonged to a traditional healer‚ who was arrested last week.

“The dog was first put in there‚ but it came out with nothing‚” said the officer‚ who asked not to be named.

“The dog seemed weak and disorientated as it came out of the room. The dog handler asked [the traditional healer] what he had done to his dog and he said there was strong muti in there‚” the officer said.

Inside the room‚ police officers found muti‚ buckets and bags with various substances‚ and what appeared to be body parts.

“He was telling us what was in each thing. He was speaking like a normal person‚ like you and I. It was really disturbing‚” said the officer.

Gabisile’s beheaded body was found in a shallow grave in Cullinan near Pretoria last week. This was three weeks after she and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were taken at gunpoint in the middle of the night by three men who broke into their home in Hlalanikahle.

It was alleged that the gunmen had mistaken Nkosikhona for another toddler in the house‚ who also has albinism.

The badly decomposed body of the little toddler was recovered on the same day Gabisile’s body was found. He had been thrown into a swamp along the N4.

The officer said he was disturbed to learn from pathologists conducting the post-mortem how Gabisile’s body had been mutilated.

Meanwhile‚ two other people have also been arrested in connection with the incident‚ said the officer. They were arrested in Swaziland and are yet to be brought back to South Africa.

The 32-year-old traditional healer remains in police custody. He appeared in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday as a group of residents gathered outside the court to protest against his release. The father of four will return to court on March 6‚ when his formal bail application is expected to continue.

Source: Policeman reveals horror he found at sangoma’s premises

Related: Suspect arrested in connection with albinism murder, kidnapping

Published: February 22, 2018
By: eNCA

VOSMAN – The suspect arrested in connection with the murder and kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl and a toddler is expected to appear in a Mpumalanga court on Thursday.

The community said the teenager was targeted because she was living with albinism.

It’s believed the kidnappers mistakenly believed the toddler also had the condition. 

Police found two bodies matching the description of the children, who were reported missing in January.

They were taken at gunpoint while sleeping in their home in Vosman. 

Source: Suspect arrested in connection with albinism murder, kidnapping

Related: 
Bodies believed to be those of two children snatched from their home in Witbank last month found

The little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were kidnapped last month. Image: Missing person alert poster.

Published: February 21, 2018
By: Naledi Shange  (Sowetan Live)

Two bodies believed to be those of a little albino girl and her one-year-old nephew who were snatched from their home in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ last month were found on Wednesday.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said one of the corpses was found in Cullinan while the other was found in a swamp on the N4 en route to Pretoria.

“The bodies were in a bad state‚” Hlathi said.

“A postmortem needs to be conducted to determine the cause of death and DNA tests to also confirm it is them‚” he said.

Gabisile Shabani‚ 13‚ and her 15-month-old nephew‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ were kidnapped last month by armed gunmen who broke into their house in the middle of the night.

Relatives said they believed Gabisile had been taken because she was an albino. They also told TimesLIVE they believed Nkosikhona had been mistaken for another toddler who was in the house at the time who also lived with albinism.

Hlathi said one suspect had since been arrested.

“He will be appearing in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court today‚” Hlathi said.

Source: Bodies believed to be those of two children snatched from their home in Witbank last month found

Related: Search for missing Mpumalanga children continues

Nkosikhona Ngwenya was abducted on Sunday.

Published: February 6, 2018
By: eNCA

VOSMAN, Mpumalanga – Two Mpumalanga children abducted at their Vosman home are yet to be found.

A 13-year-old schoolgirl and a one-year-old boy were abducted on Sunday.

Three gunmen entered their house by breaking a window.

They then trashed the bedroom where some family members were sleeping, taking the two at gunpoint.

There are fears that the girl may have been targeted because she is living with albinism.

It’s believed the kidnappers mistakenly thought the toddler also had the condition.

Source: Search for missing Mpumalanga children continues

Related: Abducted Mpumalanga teen, boy (1) still missing

Published: February 1, 2018
By: eNCA

JOHANNESBURG – A Mpumalanga schoolgirl and a one-year-old boy, abducted at their Vosman home on Sunday, are yet to be found.

There are fears that the girl may have been targetted because she is living with albinism.

It is believed the kidnappers mistakenly thought the toddler also had the condition.

Three gunmen broke a window and entered the house.

They then trashed a bedroom where some family members were sleeping, taking 13-year-old Gabisini Shabani and Nkosikhona Ngwenya at gunpoint.

Nomthandozo Ngwenya says the men took the young boy by mistake.

“She was sleeping on the floor and they grabbed her and left with her. Then the other men, also armed, went to the next room and took the little boy, thinking he too had albinism but he doesn&39;t&39;,” Ngwenya said.

She says the family fears for the two kidnapped children.

“People have always said to us, we are staying with money at this house, pointing to our children, saying we could cut their hair and sell it for thousands of rand,” explained Ngwenya.

Residents took part in a march, attended by many schoolchildren, calling for the return of the children.

Reshoketsoe Malekame, who also lives with albinism, says she fears for her life and is always on the lookout.

Most residents in the area called for an end to the targetting of albinos.

Police confirmed they were still searching for the pair and attempts to find them in the area resulted in no progress.

“We have also alerted all other nearby police stations to be on the lookout for them,” police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said.

Two cases of kidnapping have been opened.

Hlathi urged anyone with information to contact police on 082 372 2195.

Source: Abducted Mpumalanga teen, boy (1) still missing

Related: 
Man seen loitering outside house before young girl snatched from her bed

Published: February 1, 2018
By: Naledi Shange (Sowetan Live)

A 13-year-old girl who was snatched from her bed in Hlalanikahle‚ Witbank‚ two days ago may have been the victim of a calculated‚ well planned abduction.

Anna Shabani said she had noticed a man watching her daughter Gabisile‚ as she walked back from school for several days in a row.

She had never seen the man in the area before this‚ neither had she bothered to ask why he was loitering close to her home‚ Anna’s nephew Simon‚ told TimesLIVE.

“I was told that this person would stand facing the door of the house‚” Simon said.

Now the family is wondering whether the same man could have been involved in the kidnapping of the little girl as well as her one-year-old nephew.

In the early hours of Sunday morning‚ 50-year-old Anna woke up to the sound of glass shattering.

She went to check and found that the one window which did not have burglar bars had been broken and before she knew it‚ there were three men inside her house.

“I tried to scream and ask for help but they came in and pointed a gun at me. I ran back into my room and tried to close the door but they shoved it and overpowered me‚” Anna said.

One of the attackers pointed a gun at her and covered her mouth while the other headed to the bed and grabbed Gabisile‚ who is a twin.

Gabisile had lay sleeping on her bed while her sister slept in another room with Anna’s grandchild.

Unlike her twin sister Khanyisile‚ Gabisile was born with albinism.

“I’m not sure whether she was still asleep at the time [she was taken] because the light was still off‚” Anna told TimesLIVE.

“But she didn’t scream or cry.”

The SA Community Crime Watch’s Maureen Scheepers said her group had been circulating pictures of the missing girl and working with police in their investigation.

Scheepers said the little girl had been wearing only her underwear when the assailants fled with her.

As the attackers rushed out of the house‚ Gabisile’s 18-year-old sister Nompumelelo‚ who had been sleeping in a separate bedroom with her 15-month-old son‚ Nkosikhona Ngwenya‚ emerged from her room.

“I told her that these men have taken Gabisile. She said ‘they took my child too’‚” said Anna.

The family called out to neighbours for help and a manhunt ensued.

Two days later and they still have no leads.

Anna said she had no idea why her daughter and grandson were taken.

Simon said it had crossed their minds that Gabisile was taken because of her albinism.

Colonel Mtsholi Bembe said they were investigating housebreaking and kidnapping cases.

“We have just finished compiling the identikit and we will be releasing it soon‚” Mtsholi said.

Scheepers said when she asked the family to describe the suspects‚ they said they were not South African.

Nompulelo said the abductors were speaking in English and had told her to “freeze” and give them the baby.

The family was patiently awaiting any news.

“Everyone [in the community] is shocked by this. You hear of children going missing but this is something else‚” said Anna.

Source: Man seen loitering outside house before young girl snatched from her bed

Teenage albino boy killed and dismembered in Burundi

File photo (Getty Images)

Published: August 18, 2019
By: Zamira Rahim 

A teenage albino boy has reportedly been killed and dismembered in Burundi. An albino rights group said the 15-year-old’s body was found late on Saturday, according to the AFP news agency. “The young albino was killed atrociously … his murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of Albinos Without Borders.

Previous albino killings in the African country have been linked to people practising witchcraft. More than 20 albino people have been killed in Burundi since 2008. (iitalics added by the webmaster FVDK)

In 2016 a five-year-old albino girl was kidnapped from her home by gunmen. The child’s dismembered body was discovered shortly afterwards. (Also see my October 4, 2018 posting).

Burundi’s government has banned witch doctors who claim to perform spells and charms using albino body parts to bring good luck and wealth. But in some areas a complete albino skeleton is worth as much as $75,000 (£62,000), according to the Red Cross. 

Around 500 albino people live in Burundi.

Officials believe killings are carried out by local residents who work with witch doctors in neighbouring Tanzania, where 53 albino people have been killed since 2007 for their body parts. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).

There are around 170,000 albino people living in Tanzania. 

Source: Teenage albino boy killed and dismembered in Burundi

Related article: 
Albino teen found dismembered in Burundi

Published: August 19, 2019
By: Agence France-Presse

NAIROBI, Kenya – A 15-year-old albino boy has been found dismembered in Burundi a week after going missing, the first such killing in the country in three years, a local albino group said Sunday.

Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation, are killed regularly in some African countries for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals. 

The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river separating Burundi from the DR Congo, not far from his home village.

“The young albino was killed atrociously… His murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of the local association Albinos Without Borders.

More than 20 albinos have been killed in Burundi since 2008, with the last case in 2016 when a five-year-old girl was found dismembered after being taken from her home. 

Kazungu said a four-year-old albino boy had been missing since October 2018 from the village of Cendajuri near the Tanzanian border, but that he had “no hope” of finding him alive.

Some experts believe the demand for albino body parts in Tanzania — where such attacks are the most prevalent — has fueled such killings in border areas.

Source: Albino teen found dismembered in Burundi: association

Nigeria: tale of Delta communities at the mercy of ritual killers, internet fraudsters

Published: June 22, 2019
By: Okungbowa AIWERIE and Bolaji OGUNDELE

The courtroom of the Delta State High Court, Asaba was filled to its rafters as four accused persons allegedly involved in the gruesome murder of Miss Elozino Joshualia Ogege, a 300 level student of Mass Communication at the Delta State University, Abraka filed into the court.

It was the commencement of hearing in the case against Macaulay Desmond Oghenemaro, Ojokojo Robinson Obajero, Nwosisi Benedict Uche and Enaike Onoriode accused of the killing of Elozino. The suspects were slammed with an eight charge bordering on murder, conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.

The mood was sober and pensive. Many in court wept quietly, cursing as they sat through proceedings. Seated among Elozino’s relatives in the court with pain etched on her face and tears rolling down her cheeks was her mother, Mrs Elizabeth Ogege, who broke down in tearful ululation shortly after court proceedings ended.

As she wailed, she demanded justice for her daughter believed to have been brutally murdered in her prime for ritual purposes.

The case has been adjourned till Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for continuation of hearing.

Elozino’s case is one in the long list of ritual killings carried out by desperate youths popularly called Yahoo Boys. And while there are indications that the momentum of Yahoo menace might be waning, the fact remains that internet fraud, popularly known as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’, and its twin practice, ritual killing, have metamorphosed into a subculture in Delta State.

This heinous crime has found an easy abode in academic environments because most of the actors are young males whose raison d’etre is primarily to acquire illicit wealth. In 2017 and 2018, there were many reports from Delta communities of unidentified female corpses with missing vital organs.

Related to the foregoing is the pilfering of female panties by persons believed to be using or selling same for ritual purposes. In the case of female panties robberies, it was reliably learnt that each pant stolen or collected at gun-point sells for about N250,000.

Triple threat

There appears to be an undeniable nexus between pant robberies, internet fraud a.k.a. Yahoo-Yahoo and ritual killings in the oil rich state; a link captured in a trending song, which insinuates that pant robbers engage in the crime for money to buy automobiles and other vain frivolities. “One pata-meter makes one benzi-meter,” goes the refrain.

From Jesse and Oghara to Sapele, Abraka, Warri and Ughelli, incidents of ritual killings and internet fraud are prevalent. There are unconfirmed reports that Jesse community is the unofficial headquarters of Yahoo-Yahoo in the state. But the notoriety of Yahoo boys transcends Delta State, with reports that a street in Ghana, where many Yahoo boys go to learn the ropes and also acquire dark powers for the purpose of their illicit trade, has been named Jesse Street, no thanks to the fact that it provides residence and cover for internet fraudsters from Nigeria, especially the ones from Jesse community.

At some point, a particular area of Oghara town known as Scot had a new case of ritual murder every two weeks; a situation that sparked fears within the academic communities of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, Oghara and Western Delta University.

“There was a time in Oghara when moving around at night became a problem,” a student in the Mass Communications Department of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, who preferred anonymity, lamented as he narrated the ordeal that came with living in the town at the height of the reign of notorious Yahoo boys.

“Besides the fear they stir in people, they are a major distraction because many girls sell themselves cheap for money and so-called flexing to these boys. So instead of reading and living the life they were sent to Otefe to live, many girls spend most of their time in hotels with ‘G boys’, drinking and partying.”

“Then there is the issue of pant thieves. Although it never happened to me or any of my friends, we hear stories of how some girls have been harassed because some boys wanted to take their pants by force. I won’t dare go to class at night to read.

“For now, however, those stories are not common again. But for me, being careful is important.”

A final year student of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, who identified himself simply as Elohor, noted that calm had returned to the university town since security agents focused attention on the town and DELSU in particular in the aftermath of the murder of Elozino.

Relative peace after crackdown

The crackdown on Yahoo boys in the university was said to have yielded the arrest of the masterminds of the murder as well as their native doctor who demanded female genitals and other vital human organs from them.

The crackdown has since been expanded to other notorious enclaves of Yahoo boys in the state, and this has been adduced as the main reason for the prevailing relative peace in the state.

Describing the mood in Abraka and the university environment, Elohor said: “It has been long since I heard stories like that in Abraka. I think most of the guys involved in it have relocated away from the school and the town.

“I believe the relative peace we now enjoy is a result of the activities of the police and officials of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). They have arrested many of them and that has really scared them.

“The feeling in Abraka now is that of relief. I have not also heard of pant robbery in a long while. The last I heard of that was some time in January when a girl wrote on the WhatsApp platform about one of her neighbours who was robbed of her pant at gunpoint.

“There’s real calm and security now. If anything like that is still happening, they must have really coded it. But I also know that victims of such experiences would not hide it from the public. So, I think that era is gone for good.”

However, there is still a section of the society which believes that everybody, including the government, has handled the situation wrongly.

An evil that won’t abate

A Warri-based public affairs analyst, Mr. Felix Ogbomah, said the criminal trend may never stop as it has found a lifeline in society’s connivance. Ogbomah, who lamented the failure of parents to step in and rebuke the vice when it first surfaced, said just like all other illicit means of making money, those involved should be expected to embrace whatever form of hurdle of resistance that organised institutions would place before them.

According to him, “kidnapping, oil theft, armed robbery and all other forms of criminal means of making money came at one point or the other. And despite all efforts to stop them, either through psychological or physical means, criminals have continued to persist because these unspeakable activities bring them returns. “Likewise this one, we will be deceiving ourselves if we think we have seen the last of it. We started wrong with it.

“This criminal way of life may never go away. I said so because I see too much of acceptance and justification for it by the society. I don’t know if you have spoken to any of these young people about this Yahoo-Yahoo thing to sound them out. You will be shocked when you hear their general view.

“This is especially so with girls who you will find out are girlfriends of those of them who are Yahoo boys. You will hear things like ‘there’s nothing criminal about it, they are just collecting back what the white people took from our forefathers.’

“It becomes most sickening when you realise that Yahoo-Yahoo is not just about campus boys and girls but even vulcanizers, carpenters and people without any form of formal or informal training. Everybody just wants to get rich.

“The parents of some of those I have seen are also a big part of this social breakdown. Can you imagine parents of a boy without any visible income source saying with so much pride that their son has bought an expensive car? No reprimand, no questions. As a matter of fact, they will gladly ask such son to buy them their own as fast as possible.

“I know of a family, I won’t mention the name because I am very close to the father, though I have since reviewed my relationship with them because I consider their treatment of indecency in their family too irresponsible to condone.

“One of their sons, the stubborn one who has been known for always tracking the wrong trail, left home all of a sudden and started bringing things home without any visible means of income. He bought a car for their mother and set up a business for her.

“It is not like it is a bad thing for a son to do things for his parents; that is what we all pray for. But knowing that what your son does is illegal and you still partake of the proceeds of the illegality is what is unconscionable to me.

“This is just an example of how failed parentage has encouraged this evil to fester, and the more dangerous reason why I think this Yahoo-Yahoo thing has come to stay.

“The society is in connivance, and that is the only tonic any crime needs to survive.”

Source: YAHOO BOYS ON THE PROWL

Ritual killing: Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State (Nigeria) presents N6m to victim’s family

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State 

Published: June 28, 2019
By: Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State yesterday in Asaba, the capital of the state, restated the commitment of his administration to tackle security challenges in the state.

The governor restated the commitment when he presented a cheque of N6million to the family of late Miss Elozino Ogege, a 300-level first class student of Mass Communication of the state university in Abraka.

The 22-year-girl was gruesomely murdered last November by suspected ritualists, otherwise known as Yahoo Plus Boys, who removed her vital organs.

Four of the suspects arrested in connection with the alleged murder are now facing trial at the state High Court.

Speaking while presenting the cheque, Okowa, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, David Edevwie, vowed that the perpetrators of the heinous crime would not go unpunished.

He decried the incidents that led to her murder, and assured that no stone would be left unturned in ensuring that the perpetuators were brought to justice.

“What happened to late Miss Elozino Ogege last year is so unfortunate and heartbreaking, which tells us that all is not well in our society. This is why we are doing everything possible, as a government, to improve security in the state and ensure that security challenges are effectively tackled,” he stressed.

The governor commiserated with the family of the deceased, and assured them of government’s support.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mrs. Elizabeth Ogege and Rt. Rev. John Aruakpor, Bishop, Diocese of Oleh, Anglican Communion, thanked Okowa for the compassion showed to the family, and called on government to put more initiatives in place to tackle insecurity in the state.

Source: Ritual killing: Okowa presents N6m to victim’s family

Delta State, Nigeria