“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!

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

Uganda: Three charged with murder of killing baby for ritual sacrifice

Three members of the same family including mother (L) have been charged with murder after killing of a one and a half years old child. (FILE PHOTO)

Published: November 6, 2018
By: Conrad Ahabwe – PML Daily correspondent

Three charged with murder of killing baby for ritual sacrifice

KAMPALA – Three people who allegedly ripped open the stomach of a one-year-old baby girl in a ritual sacrifice last week in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, have been charged with murder.

According to reports, the mother of the baby, assisted by her maid, allegedly killed the toddler last week and removed her body parts in pursuit for riches.

The suspects were arrested at Mulago where they had taken the body of the toddler, claiming she had died as a result of severe diarrhoea.

Luke Owoyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, said the third suspect in the matter is a male neighbour who allegedly witnessed the incident but did not report to the authorities.

“We first arrested the mother and the baby’s caretaker before arresting the third suspect who reportedly got to know of whatever had happened but he chose to keep silent. The trio will be arraigned in court once their file returns from RSA,” Mr Owoyesigyire told journalists on Monday.

He said the file has been sent to the Resident State Attorney for advice, adding that all investigations point to a possible child sacrifice orchestrated by the deceased’s mother, female caretaker and their male friend, all currently detained at Kira Road police station.

The girl’s mother, accompanied by the caretaker took the girl to Mulago hospital on Monday night claiming her health had rapidly deteriorated.

However, on examination, doctors at Mulago hospital realised the girl was lifeless, had no sexual organ, no intestines, no uterus and other vital body organs.
Owoyesigyire said doctors alerted police that swung in action and arrested the mother and caretaker. Police conducted an impromptu search at the suspects’ home where blood drops were discovered on the floor.

Police have said a medical examination conducted against the suspects had revealed they are sane ruling out the possibility of them having acted outside their normal senses.

“The Doctors’ medical examinations have ruled out the suspicion that these people acted possibly mad. Results show they are sane and acted while in their normal senses,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.

Police said the mother and caretaker were being charged with murder while their male co-accused had been slapped with accessory after the fact of murder. The trio could be landed a life imprisonment or death sentence upon conviction.

Source: Three charged with murder of killing baby for ritual sacrifice

Related articles:

Maid who murdered baby is of sound mind – Police

Published: November 6, 2018 – 9:09 AM
By: Carol Kasujja – New Vision

According to Police deputy spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, Nakalema was mentally examined at Butabika Mental Referral Hospital and she was found to be mentally fine.

KAMPALA- Harriet Nakalema 32, the maid who allegedly killed her one-year-old baby early last week, is of sound mind, New Vision has learnt.

According to Police deputy spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, Nakalema was mentally examined at Butabika Mental Referral Hospital and she was found to be mentally fine.

“We took Nakalema and her other friend Annet Mwagale, who assisted her in the killing for a mental check-up and the results turned out to be normal.

The two ladies have no mental problems. The family went ahead and buried the child in Bugerere last Thursday.

We also released the father of the child because we had arrested him but it turned out he had no connection to the killing,” said Onyango.

Onyango also noted that Police is going to take the two women to court this week.

Last week on Monday, Nakalema took her child to Mulago Hospital claiming that she was sick and needed special treatment, but according to medical workers the baby was already dead.

Doctors carried out a postmortem and found out that the baby’s internal organs, especially the intestines were missing as well as her private parts, immediately the medical team alerted the Police who arrested the woman.

During Investigations, Police found out that Nakalema was a housemaid in Kiwatule, a city suburb, and her boss lives in Cananda, but she used to stay with care taker who was also arrested.

When Police visited the home in Kiwatule, they found blood stained clothes and some body parts on the floor. They submitted the samples to the Government analytical laboratory to establish the exact body parts.

In her statement Nakalema admitted that she stabbed her child and ate the intestines because she was possessed by evil spirits but the motive of her killing was not yet clear.

“Mwagale told police that Nakalema had been paid by their sister Rwensisi Angella who lives in Canada to send her fresh body parts of a young baby for ritual purposes.

Mwagale also informed Police that they had used a pair of scissors to chop off the private parts of a young baby girl,” noted Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire.

The three female suspects are currently detained at Kira Road Police Station on charges of murder.

Source: Maid who murdered baby is of sound mind – Police

And:

Maid kills baby, taken for mental check up 
Incidents of maids torturing toddlers/ children have been on the rise, in the recent past.

Published: October 31, 2018 – 11:31 AM
By: Carol Kasujja – New Vision

Having lived and worked in Kampala for over a year, Nakalema Harriet, 32, who had left her less than one-year-old baby in the village decided to go and pick her.

The baby was now 18 months. However, the baby was not to enjoy the good life her mother was reportedly bringing her to. Her affluence came to an abrupt halt, when her own mother killed her.

On Monday, Nakalema took her child to Mulago Hospital claiming that she was sick and needed special treatment, but according to medical workers the baby was already dead.

Doctors carried out a postmortem and found out that the baby’s internal organs, especially the intestines were missing as well as her private parts, immediately the medical team alerted the Police who arrested the woman.

During Investigations, Police found out that Nakalema is a housemaid in Kiwatule a city suburb, and her boss lives in Cananda, but she stays in the house with a care taker who usually comes back home late.

When Police visited the home in Kiwatule, they found blood stained clothes and some body parts on the floor.

Source: Maid kills baby, taken for mental check up 

Uganda: mother slaughters daughter for ritual purposes, arrested

Mother slaughters daughter for ritual purposes, arrested

Published: October 30, 2018
By: Ninsiima Julian

KAMPALA- Police in Kampala has Tuesday arrested a woman by names of Harriet Nakalema for allegedly murdering her one and half-year-old daughter by removing her private parts, uterus and intestines.

Nakalema 32 is alleged that on Monday 29, with the help of a housemate Annet Mwagale (42) they slaughtered her biological daughter identified as Vivian Nalunga.

According to police, after committing the heinous act, Nakalema together with Mwagale rushed the deceased to Mulago Casuality Hospital where the doctors confirmed the baby had died due to heavy bleeding.

The deceased was however taken for postmortem which revealed death cause.

According to the postmortem report, the baby’s body was found with missing private parts, uterus and intestines to which a case was opened up at Mulago Casuality Police Post vide SD: REF. 06/29/10/2018.

The hospital management then involved the area police in which the crime was committed leading to the arrest of Harriet Nakalema.

Police detectives recovered intestines upon searching at Nakalema’s home of residence, fitted into the kitchen sink, clothes with blood-soaked in a bucket. However, the private parts and uterus were missing.

Nakalema, however, blamed the devil when asked about the latter, saying that it was the devil that had cut her daughter into pieces.

However, the suspect later apologised to her neighbors and police detectives revealing that she had been assisted by a one Annet Mwagale who was at that time on the run.

Through the intensified search of her accomplices, Police was able to track down and arrest Annet Mwagale and her mother Annet Mulindwa (68) who had gone back to erase any possible evidence at the scene of crime.

Upon questioning, Mwagale told the police that Nakalema had been paid by their sister Rwensisi Angella who now lives in Canada to send her fresh body parts of a young baby for ritual purposes.

Mwagale revealed that they had used a pair of scissors to chop off the private parts of a young baby girl.

The three female suspects are currently detained at Kira Road Police Station on charges of murder contrary to section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act.

Source: Mother slaughter daughter for ritual purposes, arrested

Related articles:

Mother arrested over daughter’s murder, police recover intestines from her house

Published: October 30, 2018
By: James Kabengwa

Detectives at Kira Road Police have arrested a 32-year-old housemaid for allegedly killing her 18-month-old daughter by removing her private parts, uterus and intestines.

It is alleged that the girl identified as Vivian Nalunga was killed on October 29, 2018 by her mother with the help of a housemate, 42.

After committing the heinous act, the two women reportedly rushed the deceased to Mulago Casuality Hospital where the doctors confirmed the baby had died due excessive bleeding.

The autopsy report raised questions regarding the cause of Nalunga’s injuries and eventual death.
The autopsy indicated that the baby’s body was found with missing private parts, uterus and intestines. The suspicious doctors then alerted police which arrested the two women.

When the house was searched, detectives recovered intestines, suspected to belong to the deceased, fitted into the kitchen sink, a bucket and clothes soaked with blood.
However, her private parts and uterus were missing.

When asked what had happened to the little girl, the mother reportedly told police that it was the devil that had cut her daughter into pieces.

However the suspect later apologised to her neighbours and police detectives revealing that she had been assisted by her housemate was at that time on the run.

Detectives were able to track down and arrest the alleged accomplice and her mother, 68.
During interrogation, the said accomplice reportedly told detectives that the girl’s mother had been paid by their sister (accomplice’s sister) who lives in Canada to send her fresh body parts of a baby for ritual purposes.

She reportedly told police that they used a pair of scissors to chop off the girl’s body parts.
The three female suspects are currently detained at Kira Road Police Station on charges of murder contrary to section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act.

Source: Mother arrested over daughter’s murder, police recover intestines from her house

Mother arrested over daughter’s murder, police recover intestines from her house

Nigeria: Lagos ‘madwoman’ caught with human parts, corpses: “I pose as prostitute to get victims”

‘Madwoman’ – who was not mad after all – Folake Folade (right) and accomplice Emmanuel Gbenga (left)

Published: August 29, 2018, 3:54 am
By: Esther Onyegbula

The ‘madwoman’ who was arrested on Monday with decomposing corpses and other human parts under Cele Nicer Bridge in Ijanikin, Ojo area of Lagos State, has said she, at times, posed as a sex worker to get victims for her human parts business, which she has been operating for nine years.

Preliminary investigation also revealed that the suspect, identified as Folake Folade, was not mad after all. Rather, she was discovered to be the ringleader of a syndicate that sells human parts.

The suspect, who was arrested alongside her accomplice, identified as Emmanuel Gbenga, disclosed that some of her victims were men who she lured from hotels where she posed as a commercial sex worker.

When Vanguard visited the scene yesterday, some youths in the area and security agents were seen combing the tunnel under the bridge for more clues.

One of the residents of the area, Mojisola Kehinde, who claimed to be at the scene when Folake sang like a canary, said: “She opened a can of worms when she was caught.
She said she had been here (Cele Nicer Bridge) for nine years and that her business was to sell human parts to ready buyers.

“She said her customers usually parked on the bridge at night with their vehicles bonnets opened, pretending that their vehicles had one fault or the other, unknown to people that they were waiting to get human parts.

“She said her boys would be beneath the vehicle pretending to be working on the car to douse any suspicion and, in the process, hand over a nylon bag which contained the needed human parts.”

Another resident, Lawrence Oke, also claimed that Folake revealed that “whenever she failed to find preys to meet up with the demands of clients, she would dress up and head straight to any hotel of her choice at night.

“Any man that picks her for the night becomes a prey as he would end up in her den, where his body parts were later harvested and sold off to waiting clients.”

Lawrence also alleged that Folake confessed that she had boys that worked for her.

According to him, “she said once her hands touched someone, the person would lose his senses and follow her sheepishly.

She said her husband came there at times to have sex with her at night.”

The tunnel’s entrance and some things found in it (top).

Bodies in the tunnel

Vanguard gathered that when she was being interrogated by the mob, she allegedly threw her phone into the bush.

While looking for the phone, the mob discovered a tunnel where some decomposing corpses were found.

The recovered bodies included those of a middle-aged man, a baby that was less than three months and a nine-year-old boy said to have been returning from holiday classes. Also recovered inside the tunnel were school uniforms, lunch boxes, schools bags and adult clothes.

Two Ghana-must-go bags of foreign currencies and wads of N1000 notes were also found.

A mechanic, Bamijoko Ayinde, who has a workshop in the area, told Vanguard: “Do you know she was always found with new N1000 note each time she went to buy anything? And she would not collect the balance. We all assumed she was mad.”

At 1p.m. yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police, in charge of Operations, Mohammed Alli, was sighted at the scene in the company of other policemen.

However, Lagos State Police Command condemned the mob action on one of the suspects, who was set ablaze.

Police to probe mob action

Spokesman for the command, Chief Superintendent Chike Oti, confirmed the incidents, including the lynching of the suspects’ accomplice.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, has directed the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ijanikin to cordon off the scene and ensure that the remains found in the tunnel are not tampered with, pending the arrival of police forensic experts.

According to Oti, “the Commissioner said it is regrettable that despite the various town hall meetings he held to sensitise communities in the state to the evil of jungle justice, some people at Olorunshogo community constituted themselves into a mob and took laws into their hands by killing one of the suspects, who might have been very useful in the ongoing investigation, had they handed him over to the Police.

“He warned that anybody found to have participated in the killing of the yet-to-be-identified man, will be arrested and charged for murder to serve as a deterrent to others with penchant for taking the law into their hands.”

Source:
Lagos ‘madwoman’ caught with human parts, corpses: I pose as prostitute to get victims 

Lagos State – Nigeria

AfriKids: Ghana’s haven for ‘spirit’ children marked for murder

Further to my previous post – on Seth Kwame Boateng’s breathtaking account of a journey to an orphanage in Sirigu, in Ghana’s Upper East Region, in 2011, I find it heart-warming to read about the valuable work which is being realized by the non-governmental organization AfriKids. In Northern Ghana, AfriKids runs a centre in the village of Sirigu and another in nearby Bongo district. Though I am not sure, it looks as if Afrikid’s Sirigu center for disabled children and pregnant women is the same as the Mother of Mercy Babies Home visited by Seth Kwame Boateng in 2011. Joseph Asakibeem is AfriKids project manager in the Upper East Region. He and his team are doing a great job. Read about their work below (‘AfriKids: Ghana’s haven for ‘spirit’ children marked for murder’).

Joseph Asakibeem hails from the Kassena Nankana district (in the Upper East Region) where the superstition in the power of spirit children is most widespread. AfriKids and OrphanAidAfrica have been fighting against infanticide for many years.

In 2013 the two non-governmental organizations were joined by Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an investigative journalist and filmmaker. Anas’ film Spirit Child ‘promised’ to become a U-turn in the fight against infanticide. In the aftermath of his investigation, local leaders in the Kassena Nankana region banned the ritual killing of ‘spirit children‘. However…., a recent follow-up to Anas’ 2013 investigative report – see my post dated June 4, 2018 – shows that the practice of infanticide still exists in the region. (webmaster FVDK)

AfriKids: Ghana’s haven for ‘spirit’ children marked for murder

Published on February 27, 2018, at 11:50 am
By MIldred Europa Taylor

Ghana, Upper East region – This Catholic Sister has dedicated her life to protecting babies and children and plays a precious role in the fight against infanticide in the region — Afrikids

The act of killing babies who were born with disabilities was until recently widely practised in some parts of northern Ghana. These children were labelled as “spirit children” with the belief that they brought bad luck. They were killed to “save the lives of their parents and family”.

These children were basically taken to medicine men who would give them a poisonous potion and lock them in a room. The belief is that if you die from the potion, it means you are indeed a spirit. The children are then buried in an isolated place far away from the village.

This traditional belief was highly practised in some parts of the Kassena-Nankana West District in the Upper East region but thanks to AfriKids, a child rights Non-governmental organization (NGO), the practice has declined even though it is believed to be still ongoing in some parts of northern Ghana. The NGO has so far been able to save a number of children perceived to be “spirit children” in some parts of the Upper East Region.

Joseph Asakibeem is the project manager at AfriKids. The 41-year-old was recently awarded the Bond Humanitarian Award 2018 for his work in saving many disabled children who would have been killed due to the traditional practice.

Growing up in the Kassena Nanakana district where the belief in spirit children was deeply entrenched, Asakibeem told Reuters that he and his team at AfriKids started talking to chiefs, parents, opinion leaders and medicine men about the need to change the perception they have about children born with disabilities.

Asakibeem explained to them that there were medical reasons for these disabilities – poor nutrition and health care during pregnancy, and the inability to get access to medical help during labour resulting in complications.

AfriKids has a centre in the village, Sirigu, and another in nearby Bongo district, where they provide help for disabled children and antenatal care for pregnant women. Mothers, through Afrikids, have also been able to acquire small loans to grow their businesses.

The main challenge for the child rights NGO has been trying to change the mindset of concoction men and other community members about “spirit children”, but interestingly, many of them have now joined the fight against the practice.

For 10 years, no child has been killed for being deformed in Kassena Nankana, but Asakibeem said the act is still being practised in other areas. Babies whose mothers die in childbirth, or who are born after the family has been hit with an unfortunate incident, have the risk of being labelled spirit children.

As AfriKids continues to expand its activities to the whole of northern Ghana, Asakibeem is hopeful that the practice would be effectively abolished in 15 years.

In 2013, Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas published “Spirit Child”, an undercover investigation film on the ritual killings of deformed children. Two concoction men were charged with attempted murder and another three men charged with conspiracy to commit murder. 

Source: Face2FaceAfrica, February 27, 2018

Ghana – Upper East Region

Shocking!…Ritual baby killing in Northern Ghana

On June 4, this year, I drew attention to Spirit Child, a film on infanticide in West Africa, made by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, and I reproduced a related article, published by Al Jazeera. The article, on infanticide in Ghana – and Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria – was a follow-up to a 2013 investigative report of the same journalist and filmmaker, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. The latter and his colleague, Seamus Mirodan, are to be commended for their fight against infanticide.

Fortunately, they are not the only ones who raise there voices against these age-old practices which have no reason to exist in the 21st century. While mentioning the names of others it is not my intention to belittle the activities and achievements of others, who work with them. Recently, I read an article on AfriKids, a non-governmental organization running an orphanage in northern Ghana, in the Upper East Region, in a village called Sirigu, to be more specific. Project manager at AfriKids is Joseph Asakibeem, who was recently awarded the Bond Humanitarian Award 2018 for his work in saving many children who would have been killed due to the gruesome traditional practice of killing disabled children and so-called ‘spirit childs’. More on Afrikids and its work in my next post.

When reading about the village of Sirigu I remembered an article, written by another outstanding Ghanaian journalist, Seth Kwame Boateng. In 2011 he visited Sirigu and made a breath-taking documentary for Ghana’s Joy 99.7 FM’s Hotline. Below the transcript.
Seth Kwame Boateng was named ‘journalist of the month‘ in July 2017 and can boast of an impressive list of awards and documentaries. Read here what he wrote in 2011 on infanticide in Northern Ghana. (webmaster FVDK)

SHOCKING!…Ritual baby killing in Northern Ghana

Originally published on April 1, 2011
by Seth Kwame Boateng

Joy FM reporter Seth Kwame Boateng visits an orphanage in the Upper East Region of Ghana called “Sirigu” to uncover the chilling practice of cultural murder; the killing of babies who are born with deformities, or whose birth coincide with a tragic incident in the family, such as the loss of a parent.

Such babies are called spirit children or siri sirigu, and are thought to be bad omen for the community.

Below is a transcription of his documentary for Joy 99.7 FM’s Hotline.
I have come to the Upper East Region on an assignment, a very different assignment. The job has tight time frames. I’m rushing to meet deadlines.

I hear a stranger chatting with a friend on the streets of Bolgatanga. He mentions a Babies’ Home in the area.

The conversation reminds me of a story somebody once told me about this town and a very strange kind of orphanage.

Most children who end up in an orphanage have lost their parents. But in the Sirigu facility in Bolga, the children’s fate is much more tragic. If the child is born with deformities, the child is killed.

The first time I heard this story, I could hardly believe it. I’ve always lived in a community where great merry-making accompanies childbirth, no matter the condition of the baby or the mother.

So at first I didn’t pay too much attention to the story.

{They put the child on the hill and put plenty rocks on the child.}

Since coming to Bolgatanga I feel this story is following me. I see goose pimples all over my body and my eyes are heavy with tears when people tell me the details.

I have a very busy schedule. I tell myself I won’t have time to go to this place of horror. As I reach for my pillow one night to sleep, I can’t help myself. I make a firm resolution to travel to Sirigu the next morning no matter the consequences. It’s as if I have been possessed, I feel so uncomfortable.

I reach a friend at dawn the next day who agrees to take me on his motor bike to Sirigu. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Bolgatanga to Sirigu and it’s not easy. The road is barely passable.
We have done only 10 minutes of the journey, and I have already regretted embarking on this trip. I don’t have a helmet. In the side mirror, I see my hair color has turned brown as if I’ve applied a dye.
I don’t have any protective cloth, so I’m shivering as if I’ve been beaten by heavy rain as I sit behind my friend on his bike.
But the story of those babies and a drive to understand the dark side of cultural practice keeps me going.

After 45 minutes of a bone-shaking journey, we finally reach Sirigu.

{Some come healthy, some come sick, some almost dying.}

At the Mother of Mercy Babies Home in Sirigu a Catholic Sister, a caretaker and a community leader are in front of the fading, brown iron gate of the home to welcome us. I look at the children and wonder what stories they would tell if they could find the words and exchange it with me. There are 16 babies in this 26-year-old home and the youngest is only two months old.

In an orphanage in Sirigu, in Ghana’s Upper East region. This Catholic Sister has dedicated her life to protecting babies and children. Now in 2018 the orphanage is being run by Afrikids.

The caretakers tell me the babies in the home are not considered ‘real’ human beings by their families. They have been cast out as evil spirits… either because they were born physically deformed or their mothers died during childbirth. And, according to an ancient cultural practice that survives in this area the babies must die to save the families from evil.

In some situations there were strange events at the time of their birth. All of the children except one, are motherless.

The caretaker, Sister Innocentia Depor tells me how some of the children are rescued and arrive on their doorstep.

{Because of the education, family members of the babies bring them themselves. The moment they get to know that the child can be termed a spirit child, they rush them here. So come very hefty, sick and weak.}

I decide to go to the nearby town to delve deeper into this story. Perhaps I will find some fathers or family members.

I meet the assemblyman for the area, Azokulgu Azotipelba, and he makes a shocking admission.

{it happened within our house, our family and within our community so I have witnessed it several times. And when that type of child dies, they don’t use a proper thing to carry him for the burial, they will take a rough mat and put the child there and hold it just like anything and go and throw it away. They normally don’t take the baby to the hill alive. They will use something like a stone, stick, or a cutlass to hit the child and kill him}

Once again, my entire body is shaking. My mouth is wide open and I’m close to tears as I visualize the events the Assemblyman is describing.

Trying to understand innocent blood being shed in the name of culture, I talk with an elder in the town, John Ayamaga. He takes time as he explains.

{when you give birth and the mother dies instantly, the myth is that it is the baby that has killed the mother so the child must also go so when there is no intervention, the baby is sent to the hill there for that rituals. If the child is born with some deformities either with some teeth or some of the hair being white, that child is termed a spirit child and that baby is not accepted in that community. We have a very big hill; they take them there and put a stone on that spirit child so that it will not get up again. The family will not fail to do that because they think if that baby has killed the mother, it can kill the rest of the family.}

I listen carefully to the stories of the people who have seen this horror first hand. I try to put myself in their shoes, to understand the fear and ignorance that leads to the slaughter of innocent children.

As I watch the kids of the Sirigu orphanage playing, I think of those who didn’t make here… Lying in shallow graves under a pile of stones on the hills in the distance.

Then a breeze blows through the window and this place of safety feels vulnerable. What if frightened family members hunted down these kids who have found refuge here. The assemblyman Azokulgu Azotipelba says this frightening possibility exists.

{At times the children will grow up to 10 or 15 years and they will still manage and go and kill that particular child. If a baby like this escape, the whole family and the entire community will come out and go and search and kill that baby. Because it is a culture for that community and the whole community believes that whatever the soothsayer says is for all so they have no reason to defy it.}

But despite these dangers the children will be discharged when they are three years old, according to the caretaker, sister Innocentia.

And, the local community has started taking advantage of the facility, bringing children who are not endangered but merely because they cannot afford to raise them.

{It was before that they don’t want the children that they always want to kill. But now with the education, they want their children but how to take care of them, very tiny, they prefer to bring the children here so that after three years when they can eat anything then they come for their child. When they bring the babies we always tell them not to come and throw the babies here like that. They should always visit them. And when they are bringing the babies, here, each child with a caretaker so that when the baby is discharged, he will have somebody he is familiar with. He will not feel like a stranger in somebody’s house.}

Poor people from the surrounding villages, outside Sirigu, have heard about the home and now bring their babies here because they are struggling to make ends meet. One child was recently brought from Bongo, a town in the Upper East Region. Little Marilyn as they’ve named her is only a month old but motherless. She is fortunate to have been spotted and saved by Hajia Mary Issaka, a midwife in-charge of the Anafubisi health center.

{Last week Friday we went to a community to run a clinic then we saw a pregnant woman holding this baby at the outreach point then we ask of the mother and she said the mother died at Bolga hospital. We ask what they were given and they told us that some people came to the funeral and donated some money and bought some lactogen and they are giving to the baby. So when we saw her, we knew that they cannot take care of the baby in the house so I sent this nurse to go the house and meet the community members and speak to the people about this orphanage. If they agree, we will arrange and bring the baby to Sirigu and they agreed.}

But little Marilyn is one of the more fortunate.

Everywhere I go in this town people have stories about baby killing that make my blood run cold.

{there are certain things they don’t even want to mention it. There was a community like that when a woman died after delivery and they gave the baby to another woman who died when there was an outbreak of CSM. And they are saying that it is the baby that has killed both the mother and the caretaker so they brought the baby out and knock the child on the tree and it died. So some of these things they are silent}.

The services of the Sirigu home is made possible by donations from foreign NGO’s like Friends of African Babies (FAB), based in the region.

Mary Kaglan is from Ireland and a member of the NGO. She tells me what motivated her organisation help the home.

{I think it was to see these sisters working so hard looking after so many babies thus the least we could do as we live in the area and that any help we could give them would be a bonus. The sisters of course take very good care of the babies so it is not that the case that the babies are looking after. But I think it is that people would be aware there is a home in Sirigu so people can visit and assist with the little they have}

But even with the assistance of the FAB NGO, sister Innocentia Apor and the staff here struggle to raise these children.

{The NHIS does not cover all the sickness so when you have a child that sickness surpasses the national insurance, it is difficult and to take a child like this, you would have to start the child with artificial food and all these are very costly. They are all the challenges. Right now we have one who has hydrocephalus and if it had not been FAB, it would have been difficult for us to take care of him. So medical wise it is a challenge}

The world is full of orphanages. And, I’ve done my fair share of stories about pain and suffering.

But the faces of the children of this place and the silent cries of the ones buried on the hill will remain with me for a long time to come.

Seth Kwame Boateng; for hotline in Sirigu.

Source: Modern Ghana, April 1, 2011

Upper East Region – Ghana

Zambia: Ritual killings… IG assures public of safety

Cases of suspected ritual killings in Lusaka are on the increase – Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja assures the public of protection but cautions against contentment.

Published on February 27, 2018
By CHILA NAMAIKO and FRANCINA PHIRI
Times of Zambia

CASES of suspected ritual killings in Lusaka seem to have resurfaced, with Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja assuring members of the public of protection but cautioned against contentment. Mr Kanganja has assured that security personnel are conducting patrols throughout the night, and has called on members of the public to report any suspicious looking persons to Police.

At the weekend, police in Lusaka picked up the body of an unidentified male person in Paradise area of Matero without private parts, ears, while the stomach was ripped in a suspected ritualistic fashion.

Three weeks ago, another unidentified man was discovered dead with ears and private parts missing and the stomach ripped open in yet another suspected case of ritual killing in Paradise area of Matero.

Meanwhile, Police in Chienge District of Luapula Province have picked up body parts of a two-year-old toddler who was allegedly murdered by a 22-year-old man while acting together with two others who are at large.

Outgoing police commissioner Hudson Namachila said police found a heart, lungs and an ear in a pit latrine on Saturday between 06:00 hours and 08:00 hours.

Incoming provincial Police chief Elias Chushi also confirmed the incident.
Mr Kanganja warned the criminals behind such barbaric acts that the law would catch up with them as Police were working round-the-clock to ensure the people of Matero were protected. He said in an interview yesterday that people in affected areas should not leave in fear because Police had divided Lusaka into zones. Through the zones, the Inspector General said the officers were conducting intensified patrols throughout the night. “I wish also to urge members of the public to constantly collaborate with the Police by reporting all suspicious looking characters in their areas,” he said.

He said the criminals behind such barbaric acts live in communities and called on members of the public to be vigilant and report suspicious persons to police.
Mr Kanganja warned that criminals would not be allowed to commit cruel acts with impunity and officers had intensified patrols to bring to book the culprits.

For the body that was picked up on Friday, police have apprehended a male aged 29 in connection with the murder after the body was discovered around 04:00 hours by members of the public. Police spokesperson Esther Katongo said the suspect, who lived in the same area, was found washing some blood off his hands and was currently detained in Police custody. Upon searching his home, police found two pairs of trousers and a pair of shoes all stained with blood and other items yet to be subjected to forensic investigations to ascertain if they were human parts or tissue.

In the Chienge incident, Mr Namachila said that after instituting investigations, the police apprehended Lucky Kafwimbi of Mukunta village who revealed where they had hidden the body. He said that physical inspection showed that the body had a lung cut and his left ear was removed. Mr Namachila named the deceased as Gift Chola of Chief Puta’s area in Chienge Village. “Police managed to apprehend one man who helped in revealing where they had hidden the body of the baby that they brutally murdered for suspected rituals,” he said.

Source: Times of Zambia, February 27, 2018