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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear in Togo

Related article:

‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: ‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings

Benin: a young victim of a ritual sacrifice in Zogbodomey

The original article is in French.  A summary reads as follows (under construction).
Webmaster FVDK

Published: December 15, 2017 – 09:29 am 
By: Edouard Djogbénou   

Bénin : un jeune homme victime d’un sacrifice rituel à Zogbodomey

Les crimes rituels prennent de l’ampleur au Bénin avec la prolifération actuelle des « hounnon », une nouvelle filière en plein essor où s’engouffrent beaucoup de jeunes adeptes de la facilité. Les appels lancés à l’endroit des autorités du pays notamment à l’endroit du ministre de l’intérieur et de la sécurité publique pour un recensement de tous les acteurs du secteur afin de les responsabiliser sont tombés dans des oreilles de sourds et le mal va grandissant.

Il n’y a pas de jour qu’on signale la disparition d’un enfant ou un corps inanimé d’un individu dont les organes sont prélevés; comme c’est le cas dans la nuit du mardi 12 au Mercredi 13 Décembre 2017 le corps inanimé d’un jeune homme sacrifié au fétiche « kinninsi » a été retrouvé à Avlamè, une localité de la commune de Zogbodomey.

Selon l’agence Bénin presse (abp), le jeune homme de 27 ans environ serait isolé par son bourreau et ensuite froidement sacrifié au fétiche dans une maison isolée. La victime selon l’agence Bénin presse serait un agent de sécurité dans une société de gardiennage.

Les enquêtes ont conduit à l’arrestation d’un jeune homme de moins de 20 ans soupçonné être l’auteur de crime rituel. Conduit à la brigade de gendarmerie de Cana, il sera présenté au procureur pour les nécessités de l’enquête.

Les autorités de notre pays doivent sortir de leur silence et se pencher sur ce phénomène qui prend de l’ampleur dans notre pays encore que le « tô fâ » 2017  révèle qu’il y aura beaucoup de disparitions d’enfant en 2018 et invite les parents à la vigilance.

Si les organisations non gouvernementales, les partis politiques et autres organisations sont enregistrées au ministère de l’intérieur donc reconnues par l’État, il urge que les marabouts, les « hounnons » et autres prêtres du « vodoun » soient également recensés et que l’État ait un droit de regard sur leur fonctionnement; il en va de la sécurité de nous tous.

Source: Bénin : un jeune homme victime d’un sacrifice rituel à Zogbodomey

Zogbodomey or Zogbodomè is a town, arrondissement, and commune in the Zou Department of south-western Benin.