Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria (2017 article)

During the past three days I have posted three articles related to the alarming rate of ritual killings in Nigeria, in 2014. The article below contains a similar cry for attention, but now in a 2017 article. In other words, there is no interruption in the occurrence of ritual murders in Nigeria, locally called ‘money rituals’. Moreover, also in November and December 2018 and February 2020 newspapers reported that ritual killing was rampant in Nigeria. In other words, nothing has changed over the years.

This means that ritual murders are a structural problem in the Nigerian society and that both the federal government and the government of the individual states repeatedly and continuously fail to protect their citizens, which is a ****** shame. Governments have an obligation to protect the population, notably the most vulnerable, and to arrest, try and punish perpetrators of heinous crimes.

Warning: the following contains a graphic description of ritualistic acts and murders (webmaster FVDK).

NB This article was posted before, on May 24, 2018.

Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria

Published: September 2, 2017
By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman

…‘Human parts for sale’

The spate of killings for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Nigeria with little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend.

One would have expected such pseudoscience acts to be a thing of the past going by increase in religious activities and in civilization. But murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase.

Ritual den

These dastardly acts are carried out in a 21 st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology.

It is also shocking to know that some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. For instance, some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects and herbalists who allege that they use human beings for rituals in order   to sustain their affluence as well as remain in positions of power.

Investigations revealed that cases of ritual killings and disappearance of persons are usually high whenever elections are around the corner.

Just last week, this barbaric act assumed a cannibalistic dimension following the arrest of a suspected kidnapper alleged to have killed one of his victims and used his intestines to prepare pepper soup.

The suspect, Roland Peter,  according to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police , Zaki Ahmed,  abducted his victim  from his house on August 2017, adding that the suspect was at the verge of eating pepper soup and yam porridge when the police swooped on him and some accomplices.

These vampires hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points , while others who pretend to be commercial bus drivers, pick unsuspecting commuters at bus-stop only to take them to their slaughter slabs to carry out what they know how to do best.

Killings for money rituals

On August 17, 2017 , the lifeless body of the four-year-old girl was found  close to a shrine at 28 Ogbe Close in Iwaya area of Lagos, with her throat slit. In her case , the toddler who strayed from her siblings’ watch, on their way from the mosque, was suspected to have been used for sacrifice on the Ogun shrine which ironically is built in the same compound with her parents . Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be fished out.

A suspected ritualist

A week earlier, precisely August 20, another lifeless body of an eight-year-old girl, Chikamso Victory , was found in the apartment of one Ifeanyi Chukwu Dike (23) at Messiah street , Eliozu area of Port Harcourt. Helpless and defenseless Victory was not only abducted by Dike, she was raped before she was killed. As at the time her body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included her vagina, eyes, tongue and breasts which the suspect kept in a polythene bag awaiting the appropriate time to take them to his contacts. He was however, arrested by members of a local vigilante group while going to dispose of the body. But the incident assumed a laughable dimension following report by the Police that the suspect had disappeared from custody.

Elsewhere in Oyo state, on March 30, 2017 , a suspected ritualist,  Tunde Jimoh, who was arrested by the Police, gave a chilling description of how he and other members of his gang abducted their victim, Akintoye Oyeyemi, took him into a deep forest and murdered him in cold blood. Thereafter, they took the body to a Muslim cleric to prepare concoction for money rituals for him. At the end of the day, the wrists, heart and legs were cut off. Luck ran out on the suspect while on his way to dump the body in the bush.

Not too long ago, reports had it that an evil forest used as ritualists’ den was uncovered in Enugu state with the recovery of fresh and decomposing human parts. The nation’s Federal Capital Territory is not speared from the rising trend of killing for rituals. Late last year, a dismembered body of an unidentified lady was recovered at the  Lower Usuma Dam junction, along Dutse-Bwari Road. One of her breasts was cut off, while the rest of the body was cut into two from the abdomen, an indication that the killing was for ritual.

Badoo ritual killing

In Lagos state, the commercial hub of the country, different methods are devised by ritualists. One of such was the surge in the killing of residents by members of a dreaded cult group identified as Badoo Boys in Ikorodu area of Lagos. So far, over 50 persons have had their lives snuffed out of them by the perpetrators who were initially thought to be invisible, until they were decimated by the Police , under the watch of the new Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr Edgar Imohimi, while he was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations.

Ritualist den

Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua peoples Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighborhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been  unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they used heavy stones to crush the skulls of their victims.

Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep. It is suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. They would, thereafter, smash heads of their victims with a grinding stone and after which they use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.

During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that each handkerchief stained with blood was sold for N500,000 . He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state.

But in their case , the blood and semen stained handkerchief were used to prepare spiritual defence for well to do Nigerians.

Mad people in disguise

The latest method devised is the feigning of madness by these criminal elements. Recently in Lagos, some persons who disguised as lunatics were discovered to be using tunnels as dens for their activities. Two instances of note were along Lagos-Abeokuta road and Ile Zik, along Agege Motor road.

The latest was an uncovered ritualits’ den Wednesday , at Challege bus-stop , Mushin, where some suspected members who posed as lunatics were found with sophisticated phones, four ATM cards and over 100 syringes with blood stains.

One of the suspects was lynched by a mob while two others were rescued by policemen from Area ‘D’ command, Mushin.

Not too long  Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were   earlier declared missing   by their relatives, were found while 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den had been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes.

One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview. The most celebrated ritual killing appeared to be the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.

Religious leaders also involved

One would have expected such primitive acts to be going down, going by the increasing religious groups in the country. Regrettably,  some leaders of religious have been caught in the act. But investigations have shown that many evil men only use religion as a cover up. They are never true religious leaders.

One of the ready cases that comes to mind was that of the arrest of a Pastor who allegedly killed a seven-year-old boy and buried his head where the church’s alter was mounted. This action was to ensure the influx of members into the church located at  Odokekere/ Odogunyan in Ikorodu area of Lagos state .

Elsewhere in Edo state and Ogun states, some pastors were also arrested over similar acts.

Few months ago, an unidentified woman who left her abode in Sango Otta area of Ogun in search of spiritual cleansing at the place of a Muslim cleric popularly called Alfa , in Badagry area of Lagos, ended up being victim of ritual killing.

A 61-year-old landlord,  Toafeek Hassan, who confessed to have slaughtered the woman, was found with her fresh human head and other body parts which were to be used to prepare concoction by the  alfa

Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts.  This is because of   what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.

Ritual used to elongate life —suspect

One of the herbalists who spoke with Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID , Oseni Bello, admitted to be preparing concoction with human body parts but said he was not involved in the killings. Oseni disclosed that some of the rituals were done to elongate lives . He added that the heart was used to prepare concoction for boldness and fear.

He stated further that virgins   and   babies on the other hand , were used by some politicians and government officials   for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks. These are some of the reasons, he said, killings for rituals are on the increase.

A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.

He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited   without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious   driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet   him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly   died under mysterious circumstance.

The event that occurred   before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased   confided in before his demise. The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.

While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others   resort to digging graves   and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose.   Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts. It was learnt that  if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some   cemetery workers ahead.

In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims   who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, they exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.

Human parts for sale

Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts   are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.

Public react

Reacting to the upsurge , the president,  Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria , AISSON Dr. Ona. Ekhomu called on the Nigeria Police to set up Special Ritual Murder Squads in various State Commands to focus on the investigation, detection, arrest and prosecution of ritual killers. He said that the high incidence of serial ritual killings demands an urgent action at the level of the police high command.

According to the first chartered security professional in West Africa, citizens were rapidly losing faith in the ability of the police agency to detect and punish ritual killers.   This, he said was responsible for the increase in lynching of suspects as members of the public resort to jungle justice to get redress for the heinous murders.

Said he: “The conscience of Nigerians should be troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of   one-year-old Success lme in Calabar whose heart was ripped out from her small body for ritual purposes and was discovered in a Church along with other items for occult rituals. There is also the case of Pastor Samuel Okpara in Ahoada East LGA of Imo State who was kidnapped, killed and cannibalized by ritualists.   The pastor was reportedly beheaded and his liver and intestines used for pepper soup and plantain porridge. What a horrific occurrence?”

He also decried the excesses of the Baddoo murder cult in Ikorodu Lagos State , saying it was a direct challenge to the Police.

Economic recession in the land is not a license to commit ritual murder.   Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.

I advise Nigerians against late night outings because if a vehicular breaks down one could fall victim of kidnap by ritualists.   Commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles which they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. Because ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified.   They want to kill people, but don’t wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been passed on to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to do evil”.

Nigerians should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board the “wrong bus. Likewise, women are advised to carry whistles on them in order to raise an alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them”.

On his part, the national Coordinator,  Network on Police Reform in Nigeria , NOPRIN  Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, attributted the rise in  cases of killing for ritual   to collapse in moral values “ 

It is also caused by , ignorance and superstition,   the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth and lack of effective punishment system.In a way,   poverty and unemployment may also be a risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to   earn income in legitimate ways ,   there will definitely be reduction in such abominable crimes   like humans killing fellow humans for ritual.”

Also baring his opinion on the matter,  Treasurer of the Action Democratic Party , Cross River State Chapter, Offiong Okon, in a recent interview, advised that:  “Before a church is established, government should carry out investigation before license is granted because many of the church leaders and founders are ritualists, acting in the capacity of being Pastors.”

“Government should investigate the Pastors and checkmate their activities because what they do under the cover of being a religious leader.”

Source: Why killings for rituals are on the increase in Nigeria

Nigeria: ritual killings everywhere (2014 article)

The following article sounds unreal. Reading it, one wonders if this can be true. Is it gossip, rumor, fantasy, or indeed the reality? The article dates from July 2014 whereas many ritualistic acts described date from much further back, even 2007.

I will return to this page and add more shortly.

Warning: some images and description of ritualistic acts may be shocking (webmaster FVDK).

Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization

Published: July 12, 2014
By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman and Ebun Sessou

Looking curiously as this reporter approached her make-shift restaurant around J4 , Aketegbo community in Seme Badagry area of Lagos two weeks ago, mama Rilwan as she is popularly called, stood up from her seat, apparently thinking the stranger had come to patronize her.’ ki lefe ra? (what do you want to buy ?)  she asked.

But when this writer disclosed her mission, the seeming expectation on her face dropped, giving way to a sad expression of a memory she never wishes to recall. She immediately beckoned on two teenagers later discovered to be her children to take over the stand while she went inside the shop, with this reporter following with caution.

After a long silence accompanied with a long stare at this reporter, she said: “ I recognize you now. You were here in 2007 when the incident that threw my entire life upside down occurred. My son, Rilwan would have been 20 years this month (June), had he not been sent to an early grave by my neighbor. He was my first child and  also my back bone”.

Tried as she could to control her emotion as she spoke, her strength failed her. Tears trickled  down her cheeks.

All was going on well for the food vendor until September 1, 2007, when her son , Rilwan, was reported missing. Three days later, his remains were found with the throat slashed, signifying that he could have been a victim of ritual killing which was said to be common in the area.

Accusing finger was pointed at one Muyideen Salam whose shop was close to the deceased’s mother’s place. He was said to have been seen with the deceased before his disappearance. After much persuasion which took a brutal dimension, Muyideen confirmed everyone’s fears, by confessing that  he killed Rilwan and used his blood for money ritual.

In an interview with Sunday Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba ,  seven years ago (published October 7, 2007) the then  35 year-old Muyideen gave a chilling account of how he gruesomely murdered the teenager and drained his blood, with the help of his friend, one Nuru.

Strange as this sounded, Muyideen disclosed that he was sent to get the blood of a virgin by a herbalist with which to prepare the  concoction  he would use to bath for nine days, after which he would become rich.

But he never lived to see his devilish  wish come true ,even though he succeeded in killing the teenager. This was as a result of his arrest by policemen at Seme division. He was convicted for murder.

Muyideen’s startling confession was, no doubt, a reflection of a society that is fast becoming bestial. Killing of human beings for rituals or whatever reason, dates back to the ancient times when people used to appease the gods of the land with human blood and for the purpose of winning wars. Twins, who were considered an abomination, were killed until its abolition through Mary Slessor’s missionary works.

One would have expected that such pseudoscience should rather  be imagined than witnessed  in Nigeria in this 21st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology. More baffling is the fact that some Nigerians still indulge in such superstitious process of ritual killings in spite of  the escalation of religious groups across the country as  well as the exposure of majority of  the populace to education and Western culture.

Sadly, even some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. Some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects (and herbalists), alleging that they use human beings for rituals in order  to sustain their affluence as well as  to remain in power. Records also show that cases of ritual killings and subsequent disappearance of persons are usually on the increase whenever elections are around the corner.

In Lagos  state for instance, about fifteen cases of kidnap attempts have reportedly been recorded in the last four months. One of the foiled attempts was at Ori-oke, in Ejigbo local council development area, two months ago, where a woman who kidnapped two primary school pupils was heard describing  them as goods to an unknown person on the phone.

The saddest part of this evil act  is that hundreds of victims of ritual murders only get mentioned as missing persons. While some manage, by sheer stroke of providence to escape the slaughters’ slab, others never live to share their ordeal with any person.

Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that agents of these vampires who hide in  forests and other unknown places are spread across the country, lying in wait like a hungry lion for their preys. Majority of their victims  are innocent school children, poor street hawkers, commercial sex workers, stranded visitors  and unsuspecting commuters.

Watch out for these black spots

Investigation carried out by Saturday Vanguard showed that black spots where these agents prowl include areas like Otta, Ibafo and Mowe , all in Ogun state,  Epe, Ikorodu, Shagamu Road Isheri/Olowo Ira,Cele Express along Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Badagry axis, Ikeja, Toyota Bus-stop, Mile Two, Ajah,all in Lagos State; Lagos / Ibadan Express Road; Lagos/Benin by-pass in Edo State; Igwurita ,Rumuokoro in Port Harcourt, Rivers state; Ilorin/Oro Road in Kwara state; Lokoja, Abuja Highway in Kogi State and River Kaduna. Other areas are bush paths, markets, lonely environments, hotels and brothels, popular bus stopovers or terminals, and other hot spots across the country.

Modus Operandi

Some of these agents, most times disguise as lunatics. A typical case in mind was that Clifford Orji  who  was arrested under the bridge at Toyota Bus-stop along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos with human parts in 2001. He confessed  to be selling human parts to prominent Nigerians who undoubtedly used them for ritual purposes. The amazing thing about this peculiar case was the fact that Orji who later died while in Prison custody, was presumed a lunatic. Unknown to passers-by, he only masqueraded as a mad man in order to achieve his sinister motives.

Investigations further revealed that one of their ways is to attack job seekers. They print fliers for recruitment. Some even go the extra mile to advertise for vacancies in national dailies. They then send text messages or email to applicants, informing that they have been listed for the job and will be invited for interviews. In many cases, hotels turn out to be the venues for the interviews. At this point, if the prospective  applicant gets to the designated hotel, he/she will reportedly  be hypnotized and thereafter taken to the slaughter’s slab which is usually in the bush or some remote places. At other times, an applicant will be informed that the venue for interview has changed on reaching the hotel, from where they will provide a vehicle, which unknown to the applicants, have been sprayed with substance that automatically puts them to sleep.

Barely four months ago, Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were  declared missing  by their relatives were found and 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den has been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes. One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview.

The most celebrated ritual killing in the recent past was the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.

Female parts

Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts. This is because of  what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.

Virgins  and  babies on the other hand are also reportedly used by some politicians and government officials  for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks.

Security hints at Saturday’s Vanguard’s disposal reveal that sometimes, these ‘celebrities’ employ the services of some restaurant owners, hotel operators and their trusted domestic workers  to get them virgins who are  subsequently murdered for ritual purposes. Majority of girls who have fallen prey to these death traps were discovered to be secondary school students as well as those in tertiary institutions as they were at the initial stage carried away by money and expensive gifts from their  assailants.

A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a purported function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.

*Joshua caught with some human skeletons

He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited  without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious  driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet  him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly  died under mysterious circumstance. The event that occurred  before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased  confided in before his demise.

The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.

While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others  resort to digging graves  and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose. Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts.

It was learnt that if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some  cemetery workers ahead. In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims  who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, cemetery worker will exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.

Human parts for sale

Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts  are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.

Arrests made

Five months ago, the Oyo  State Police Command, arrested a Muslim cleric, one  Alfa Gbolagade Dauda Ileanwo, in Agbaje area of Ibadan with  three human skulls and charms. The suspect, according to the command, confessed that he had been in the trade for ten years. Though he claimed to be using the human parts for concoctions to assist sterile women, his accomplice, Saheed Azeez, countered  the  claim, stating rather that his boss was into money making rituals.

The command also arrested two other suspected ritual killers,Musa Dauda and Sango Olojo-Onile with a human head and two heel bones. During interrogation, Dauda revealed that the human parts were removed from a grave at Ojetete village, Kisi, for money ritual.

Olojo-Onile  according to the command was  arrested in April  with a fresh head of a woman which still had cotton wool stuck inside the ears.

Also in Epe, the  lifeless  body of a  68-year-old man,Ade Lekuti, earlier declared missing was discovered at Owode, near Ogombo in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, with the head, hands and  private organs cut off.

Surprisingly, the alleged killer was discovered to be his in-law, one Teju Rajimu. The suspect according to the deceased’s family, confessed to have given the missing parts to a herbalist who prepared  concoction with them for him. The missing parts were reportedly pounded into powdery form and mixed with a greasy substance which was discovered in the suspect’s apartment.

Similarly, in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, a three-man gang  led by one Kamaru Yusuf allegedly  beheaded  one Omobola Moses at Ira, a village in Oyun Local Government Area.  The deceased who was a niece to one of the suspects, was reportedly lured from her parents’ abode into a bush where her head was severed. The suspects, according to report, confessed that they took  the head to  a 52-year-old herbalist whose name they gave as Saliu Oyewole, for money ritual.

From the West to the East and North to the South , the story is same.

In Enugu state for instance, an evil forest suspected to be a den for killers was discovered  in Igbo Eze North local government area with fresh and decomposing human parts littered all over,with vital parts of some bodies missing.

Report said the  victims were taken to the forest and butchered by killers who then removed the vital parts needed for money-making rituals. Some prominent citizens of the state and environs were alleged  to be patrons of herbalists and native doctors who perform rituals in the forest.

One of the mind bugling  incidents was the discovery of another horror sight at the Okija shrine in Anambra state.  The shrine achieved notoriety in 2004 when it was raided by the Anambra State Police Command ,where  50 decomposing or shrunken bodies and 20 human skulls were found. The shrine was also  reportedly patronised by politicians. Till date, politicians still visit Okija shrine.

It is tragic  enough that some Nigerians still believe in gaining power and making money through this practice. But more worrisome and astonishing   is the use of loved ones, such as one’s parents, siblings and wives  for this devilish purpose. One of such horrifying incidents occurred in Abia state, when a 26 year-old boy allegedly killed his mother for ritual. The suspect,Ebi Onu, who hailed  from Igbere, Bende council area of the state, reportedly  went to Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State where he consulted a herbalist to make charms that would make him become rich. The herbalist was said to have asked Ebi to kill his mother and bring her private part  which he said  would be used  to prepare  concoction for him. He allegedly connived with three of his friends to lay ambush for his mother along a bush path and lured his mother into taking a walk with him along that route.  On sighting them, his killer friends reportedly sprang out from  their hiding and hacked Ebi’s mother to death after which they  cut off her  private part .

Worried by her disappearance, a search party with Ebi  reportedly combed the vicinity for her without luck.  Report said some of the residents said they saw the missing woman with her son and consequently Ebi was subjected to questioning  and tortured by some youths until he allegedly owned up and took the youths to where he buried his mother at the bank of a river .  The angry youths were said to have beaten him to death , thereby depriving him of living to see his  inordinate ambition of becoming rich through ritual means.

In the same vein, residents  of Bale Ilado village in Morogbo area of Lagos State were thrown into panic recently after  a member of the community identified as Segun Adisa allegedly  beheaded his own father for money ritual .

However, in his confessional statement to the Police, the suspect claimed that he had to strike first to prevent his father whom he claimed earlier took him to a shrine where he claimed there was an attempt to kill him for money ritual.

Again in Aba, a landlord was alleged to have killed his two children for ritual purpose. The landlord (names withheld) as gathered, dashed out of his  three-storey  building on Omenazu road in Aba, on sighting some policemen approaching. Policemen from the Abia state command who acted on tip off, were said to have  swooped on the  building and according to residents of the area , two unconscious children identified as his children were found inside one of the rooms transfixed.

Not too long ago in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , the body of a lady was found in the boot  of  a Honda  car with plate number AG 847  SUL belonging to an Abuja based businessman whose identity was given as Abdullai Ibrahim.  The suspect was said to have been arrested by policemen on patrol while he was cleaning the blood stain on the back seat of the car. Preliminary investigation, according to police sources, revealed that the suspect slit the deceased’s throat with a knife for alleged ritual purpose.

In Kaduna state, three youths were reported in 2007 to have lured a 17 year-old sugarcane hawker,  Ibrahim Shehu, to the outskirts of a village and  strangled him. They were said to have been at the verge of removing his eyes when  policemen  that were  alerted by a farmer swooped on them. The suspects, according to the Kaduna State Police Command, confessed to have wanted to pluck out the eyes for money ritual.

Same year in Ibafo area of Ogun state, a woman who managed to escape from a kidnappers den alerted policemen led by one Charles Ogenegbe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who  stormed the hideout , where a shrine used as slaughter for human beings was discovered.

Also same year in Benue, a 77 year-old woman identified as Adiya Omachi was murdered in her farmland at Odaleko, along Ikachi Adum road. Not done , her assailants reportedly slashed her private parts, signifying they could be ritualists.

In Niger state, three persons were arrested by the police for allegedly   beheading a 10-year-old boy in Amale Village, Kaffi-koro District, Paiko local government area of the state for ritual.

The deceased as gathered, was  lured by one Salleh Ibrahim who took him on his motorcycle from Amale village to meet two of his other accomplices: Usman Sarki and Dantala Doma. During interrogation, Sarki told policemen that he was contracted   by one Gajere to bring the boy’s head  for money ritual. The lad’s headless body was reportedly found in Salleh’s residence while the head was found buried in a shallow grave  near Erena in Shiroro local government, pending when they would take it to the herbalist.

If the startling confession  of 20 year-old Agu Nwanu, who disclosed that he had  so far killed  twenty children for money rituals, all in his bid to ensure he does not end up like his poor father must be taken seriously,  then all hands must be on deck to address this rising incident of ritual killings. Security operatives appear to be doing their best to curb these evil and very primitive rituals. But their best appears not to be enough as the menace is on the increase going by daily reports of these killings.

Police react

When the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide was contacted on the spate of ritual killings, she said about Lagos.

“I will disagree with you on the issue of ritual killing being on the increase in Lagos state. There has not been any of such since my assumption. Sometime last year and   about two months ago ,we paraded some suspects for being in possession of human parts. The arrests were effected by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad and the suspects were arrested from other states.

“During interrogation, we discovered they had same modus operandi. They always go to the grave yard to exhume corpses. It’s something they commit in connivance with the security men at the cemetery. And the buyers, comprising the native doctors and other persons will be there.

“Let me state here that the Police as security agents do not believe in mystics. We work with facts and   physical evidence. So, when you say people indulge in rituals, we do not understand that language.

What we have also recorded are cases of persons suspected to be kidnappers who were attacked by the mob. It happened at Apapa, Iyana-Ipaja , Shahsha areas . In Shahsha, a man was sighted with a little child in his car and they accused him of wanting to use the child for money ritual and a mob attacked him, without giving him room to explain himself. But for the quick intervention of the traditional ruler of the area who contacted policemen, the man would have been lynched.

“On interrogation, it was discovered that parents of the child begged him to help drop the child in school and on the way, he started crying. We invited the parents who collaborated the claim. If they had killed him, the news would have been all over the place that a ritualist was mobbed.

“Another case was of an elderly woman at Ajegunle who was seen with a day old baby. Before you knew it, people rounded her up and started beating her, claiming she wanted to use the baby for ritual. The local government chairman contacted the police who rescued the woman who said she was the grandmother of the baby and that her daughter just gave birth but was in an unstable condition in the hospital. What we did was to invite the doctor of the hospital who collaborated her claim . The doctor said he advised the woman to take the baby home while they tried to stabilise the mother. I want to use this medium to advise Lagosians not to engage in mob actions.

“On our part, we have a lot of overt and covert policemen in   strategic places in the state, considering the nature of security in the country right now. We have tried to cover up sensitive places like churches, schools, motor parks among other places and we have enough security men.”

Source: Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization

Zimbabwe: infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

A rumor is not a fact, but as soon as a mutilated body is found, suspicion of foul play arises and rumors start circulating. I would almost say, ‘in any sub-Saharan African country’. Fact or prejudice? Maybe a prejudice, but unfortunately fed by bad experiences.

This time a rumor in Zimbabwe. It wouldn’t be the first ritualistic murder in this country, where ritual murders are known as ‘muti murders’. Let’s hope that this time the rumor is a false alarm. I’ll watch and follow the news media for more information (webmaster FVDK).

Infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

Published: June 1, 2020
By: New Zimbabwe – Tonderai Saharo    

Masvingo: Residents at a suburb here have been left in shock after a dismembered corpse of an infant was found in a garden at a house, raising fears of a ritual killing.

The body of what looked like a one-month-old baby was found in the early hours of Friday morning at a house belonging to one Barauta, with its left arm and both legs missing.

Police could not ascertain the gender of the infant.

Masvingo Provincial acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dehwa confirmed the matter and said investigations were underway.

“We appeal to members of the public who may have information which can help us to investigate to come forward.

“Anybody can get in touch with the Officer in Charge Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Detective Inspector Muchedzi on 0775535810 or visit any nearest police station. You can also call or App the police on 0775996945,” said Dehwa.

According to the police, the mother of the deceased child has not been identified.

Incidentally, a Chiredzi women recently lost her newly born baby, soon after being discharged from hospital, to a woman who had offered assistance in carrying the new-born.

Masvingo and Chiredzi are not too far apart.

Source: Infant’s mutilated body sparks ritual killing fears

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The motive to call someone a witch

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

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A superstition that sticks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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