Not a word too much. This Op-Ed of the Nigerian newspaper ‘For God and Country LEADERSHIP’ echoes my firmest belief, my most ardent wish. I wholeheartedly share the editors’ cry for an end to ritual killings, for justice and the rule of law in Africa’s most populated country, Nigeria. Repeatedly I have drawn here attention to the fact that ritual murders are rampant in the country and I have reported numerous examples on this website. When will the Nigerian authorities, both on the federal as the state level, act accordingly? (webmaster FVDK)
Ritual Killing: Let The Carnage Stop
Published: March 5, 2021 By: Leadership, Nigeria – Editorial
Last week, the internet was awash, yet again, with another case of suspected mass kidnapping and ritual killings. In the suburb of Onitsha, Anambra State, a woman and her children were found, in a bizarre collaboration, with several toddlers and kids whom she randomly selected to pound in a mortar into mash and then deliver the blood-cuddling product to her clients. The self-acclaimed prophetess has since been arrested.
Such a gory tale spiced with the worst dose of cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man brings to the fore the pervasive wickedness and deceit of the human mind.Still suspected, alleged and proven cases of ritual killings, grave robbery and dealing in human parts are replete across the land. From Calabar to Maiduguri and Lagos to Sokoto such cases, reported and unreported, fill the news space and rumour mills drawing attention to tendencies towards the grotesque.
Sadly, this development is becoming scarier by the day as the young, the old, male and female share in this ugly trend, engaging in a macabre competition with kidnapping and terrorism, all of which make the land more insecure. It gores the heart that even with the alarm raised by well-meaning individuals, institutions and organisations, the situation rather than abate, persists.
In the opinion of this newspaper, it is somewhat confounding that a nation whose citizens pride themselves as the most religious and happiest on earth could descend so low into debauchery, sheer cold-blooded murder and cannibalism in the name of ritual killings. To which god(s) do the perpetrators of these evil acts offer their fellow human beings as sacrifice and for what purpose?
As unacceptable as it is, the ailing economy may present itself as a lousy excuse for those who risk such practices. Yet, it is utterly inconceivable that some do sink this abysmally low to the point of patronising all shades of nocturnal, diabolical and dubious characters including kidnappers just to get the raw materials to feed their yawning bestial desire.
In our considered opinion, it is a shame if not utterly reprehensible that motherless homes, orphanages and health institutions euphemistically referred to as baby factories have been reported to be part of the huge source which feeds the furnace of this raging conflagration of ritual killings.
We recall that, consistently, well-meaning Nigerians, religious leaders, other leaders of thought and culture enthusiasts among them have, at various times, spoken out in open condemnation of this drift towards nihilism. We urge them to do more. As a matter of urgency, they should step up the campaigns against ritual killing, an act that is not only despicable to mortals but also offensive to the Supreme Being.
It is pertinent to stress that it is time all the relevant government agencies and non-state actors took the war against ritual killing to the perpetrators. There is an urgent need to save the country from being stigmatised by this ugly stamp added to those of insecurity and corruption which are already an albatross on the neck of Nigeria. The case of baby Adam (a victim of ritual killing) confirmed to have been killed in faraway United Kingdom but whose origin was traced to Nigeria is still fresh in the mind.
Behind this ugly trend is cultism indulged in by some members of society who yield to the negative in their mindless quest for power and the penchant to be dreaded and feared. These are people who nurture the self- delusion of being in charge and in control. Their co-travellers in this trip to nothingness, in our view, are the get rich quick maniacs who go to any length to acquire wealth for the sake of it. And when they soon realise that it is all vanity, they go to their religious leaders to confess their blood oaths. The police have a right to know whose blood was used in those unwholesome rituals. The religious leaders owe it a duty to humanity to report such confessions.
While we salute the courage and gallantry of the security personnel who often put their own lives on the line trying to secure the land, it is also important to let them know that the battle will not be won until the last vestige of anti-social behaviour is extirpated from decent society.
Furthermore, we implore law-making bodies, across all the tiers of government, to enact laws (where not in existence), strengthen the hands of the law enforcement operatives, with stringent penalties and other wherewithal necessary to bring these evil elements to justice.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
More Nigerian and international newspaper articles on the ritualistic killing of Favour Daley-Oladele by her boyfriend. The LASU student had been reported missing on December 8, 2019. Her boyfriend, Owolabi Adeeko, killed and dismembered her for ‘money rituals’, aided by his mother, Mrs. Adeeko, and a pastor of a white garment church, Segun Philip. The victim was killed and her heart used to prepare pepper soup for Owolabi and his mother. Philip was paid N210,000 for the money making ritual (webmaster FVDK).
Following the murder of LASU student Favour Daley-Oladele for ritual purposes – a practice often referred to a as ‘money ritual’ in Nigeria – a wave of articles and comments appeared in local and international newspapers and magazines. Much too much to include here – although I find it important to at least mention the publication of a number of these valuable sources of information.
As a reminder: in December 2019, Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University (LASU), was murdered and partly cannibalized for a ritualistic motive, a ‘money ritual’, allegedly by her boyfriend Adeeko Owolabi, aided by Segun Philip, a white garment church pastor and his mother, Mrs. Bola Adeeko.
Favour and her parents lived in Mowe, Ogun State, but she was allegedly killed in Osun State. Also see my posts dated January 6, 4, 3, and 2 of the current year.
For practical purposes I present here only the links and thus not the full contents of a number of recent publications on Favour Daley-Oladele’s untimely and gruesome death, thus accepting the risk that within a few months or years some of these publications will have disappeared from the internet. It is important to mention that losing the accessibility of these links constitutes a risk which is the main reasons for choosing for this site the methodology to copy-paste news on ritual murders in African countries – a maybe controversial approach which I though am able and willing to defend, in case needed.
From time to time, as more news emerges, I will update the contents below (webmaster FVDK).
Wretched riches Published: January 6, 2020 By: The Sun, Voice of the nation
Segun Philip, a white garment church pastor; Adeeko Owolabi, the boyfriend of slain Lagos State University (LASU) student Miss Favour Daley-Oladele; and his mother, Mrs. Bola Adeeko, will be handed over to the Osun Police Command for prosecution.
Ogun Police Command spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this to The Nation yesterday.
He said although Favour and her parents lived in Mowe, Ogun State, she was allegedly killed in Osun State.
Oyeyemi, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said that the detectives handling the case would investigate to find out if the suspects had carried out a similar action in the past.
He said that upon conclusion of the investigations, the command would transfer the suspects to the police in Osun State, who would prosecute them.
Twenty-three-year-old Adeeko Owolabi allegedly lured Miss Favour Daley-Oladele, 22, to a far-away white garment church in Ikoyi-Ile, Osun State, where he allegedly brutally murdered the girl while she was asleep by using a pestle to crush her head. He, thereafter, removed her heart for a ‘get-rich-quick’ money making concoction.
He was allegedly assisted in the act by a self-acclaimed pastor of a white garment church in Ikoyi-Ile, Segun Philip, who slit the girl’s throat, removed her heart, breasts and other organs before feeding Owolabi and his mother with a delicacy prepared with Favour’s vital organs.
The grieving father of the deceased, Mr. Daley-Oladele, said he couldn’t believe that a daughter, who was born into the family after years of delayed birth, would just be brutally killed by someone she knew.
He described his daughter as “the golden girl of the family,” saying losing her a few months to her graduation was emotionally unbearable.
Daley-Oladele said: “It’s quite emotional having raised that girl for that number of years. Favour happened to be a golden girl to the family. We waited for some years before having her.
“And having done that she went to school and when one is envisaging that within the next few years she would be going for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and one starts celebrating that one has a graduate in one’s home, a woman; some people conspired to kill her.
“What she actually told us that day was that she was returning to school to prepare for her final examination. She said she was going to join her group and it was in that process that somebody called her. And she said she would also be going to see a friend. That was all.
“All we want is justice for Favour. It will act as a deterrent to others.”
LASU students have resolved to mobilise to attend the court proceedings on the gruesome murder of their colleague, Favour.
The President of the Students’ Union, Oladele Oluwatayo, who spoke to The Nation on the phone yesterday, said that the decision was arrived at during a short meeting after the candlelight procession on Monday.
He said that was the only way they could identify with Favour, even in death, while also ensuring justice was done.
David Wroe wrote an astonishing article on child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or Congo-Kinshasa, as it is also called (to distinguish it from its neigbour, Congo-Brazzaville). As the author describes, these youngsters ‘were tricked into fighting, forced to perform brutal rituals, and killed by the thousand in battle.’ Unfortunately, this is not unique for the DRC.
‘Meet the child soldiers who have helped fuel the world’s longest running conflict.’
We will not reproduce here the entire article, which is highly recommended literature, but will just focus on the phenomenon which is the focus of the current website: superstition, ritualistic killings and the absence of the rule of law. (webmaster FVDK)
Magic, murder and the lost boys of Congo’s long war
Published: December 23, 2018 By: David Wroe
At night, the boys of Congo’s children’s militia would take the heads of the soldiers they had killed and place them in a ritual circle around the campfire.
Then they would mock them.
Belittling the heads of their enemies made boys such as 15-year-old Victor* feel powerful and brave.
He was part of a group of youngsters who brought down a government soldier one night in March last year in the city of Kananga in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They let him shoot until his rifle ran out of bullets, then they charged him with machetes, sharpened sticks and garden hoes. Victor says he was given the job of cutting the dead soldier’s head off.
“The commander of the camp said I had caught someone who was very strong. And when we caught him he was no longer very strong and they started laughing at the soldier, saying, ‘Show us now how strong you are,’” Victor recalls.
What they did next cranked up their courage up to a frenzy.
The boys rolled the head into the embers of the “Tshiota”, the holy campfire. After the man’s skull had burned, the commander made Victor collect the ash, grind it into a fine powder and mix it with wine.
“Then they gave it to us to drink,” Victor says. “You become furious and can fight without fear. That is the way it was.”They call it “manga” – the magic that made them invincible.
Victor, whose name has been changed, is one of thousands of children recruited into militias that rose up in the southern DRC region of Kasai in 2016 against a corrupt, neglectful and repressive government.
In a region where families are large and poor, where the social fabric is threadbare and where government services barely exist, it is easy to convince or coerce children to join armed groups. Their recruitment is helped by a widespread belief that arcane rituals – sometimes involving cannibalism – confer magical powers that prevent their being harmed in battle.
I was confronted with the phenomenon of ritualistic murders in Liberia when living in Monrovia – where I taught at the University of Liberia – and, later, in Harper, capital of Maryland County, in the second half of the 1970s. In Harper I witnessed the public execution of the Harper Seven, in 1979. They were convicted of the ritual murder of a fisherman and popular singer, Moses Tweh, and sentenced to death by hanging. The trial of the Harper Seven turned out to be Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case.
‘Big shots’ were involved, such as Maryland County’s Superintendent, Daniel Anderson – son of the Chairman of Liberia’s only political party, the True Whig Party – and Allen Yancy, member of the House of Representatives for Maryland County and cousin of former Liberian president William Tubman (1944 – 1971). Reportedly, Allen Yancy had been involved in previous ritual murder cases but he was never convicted, allegedly because of Tubman’s protection.
Ritualistic killings in Liberia have been rampant, and I fear the gruesome practice has far from disappeared – as is demonstrated by the article reproduced below.
The article reproduced below summarizes well Liberia’s recent history of ritualistic murders. What used to be a cultural phenomenon – human sacrifices for the well-being of the clan or tribe – has become a political instrument, used by unscrupulous politicians and businessmen to further their interests.
I will not dwell too long here on these atrocities and outdated but persistent beliefs in supernatural powers. Readers are invited to visit my website for more details.
Last but not least, my publications on ritual murders in Liberia became the prelude to the present website on ritual killings in Africa in general. See the site’s menu, notably the section ‘Why publish this site?‘
Public execution by hanging of the ‘Harper Seven’, including Maryland Superintendent Daniel Anderson and Representative Allen Yancy, at dawn in Harper, Liberia on February 16, 1979. Picture taken by Fred van der Kraaij (copyrights).
Liberia’s elections, ritual killings and cannibalism
Published: August 01, 2011 · 10:52 AM UTC By: Emily Schmall and Wade Williams
MONROVIA, Liberia — The pregnant woman was found dead in the shallows of Lake Shepherd. The fetus had been removed.
A candidate for Liberia’s Senate and a former county attorney are among those standing trial for the 2009 murder, the latest in a long history of ritual sacrifices performed for political power in Liberia.
In this case in southeastern Maryland County, prosecutors were tipped off by a witch doctor who provided a list of 18 people allegedly connected to the killing, including Fulton Yancy, the former county attorney, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Special Envoy and Ambassador-at-Large Dan Morias.
Vials of blood were discovered in Yancy’s home. Nine were charged with murder but were released earlier this month following a Supreme Court ruling.
Liberia will have general elections later this year and the ritual killings tend to flare up during election season, according to Jerome Verdier, former chairman of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
”Unfortunately it happens during elections time because people are competing for political power, they don’t know God and they believe that these supernatural powers will come to them once human blood is shed,” Verdier said.
During Liberia’s two-decades-long civil war hundreds were killed for ritual purposes, the TRC discovered during its hearings.
”During our research at the TRC we found out that bloodshedding was very, very common during the conflict. People killed indiscriminately women and children believing that it would give them some power to continue fighting and that they would be protected,” said Verdier.
Liberia’s Maryland County has traditionally been the hub for the country’s ritual murders. The killings have haunted the southeastern county for decades. In recent years, however, ritual killing cases have cropped up across the country.
Verdier said some of those who confessed at the TRC hearing gave graphic accounts of ritual killings they carried out.
“People went as far as eating their opponent’s body — when such person is killed in battle they cook their body to eat, believing that the spirit, the powerful spirit of that person, will come to them and by eating them, the person’s power is completely destroyed, so there can be no reemergence in that person’s family line or their ethnic line.”
‘General Butt Naked’, a notorious warlord in Liberia’s First Civil war (1989 – 1997) testified and confessed before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he committed numerous ritualistic murders and ate body parts of his victims.
A former warlord who calls himself General Butt Naked and who fought against former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, confessed in 2008 to taking part in human sacrifices that included the killing of a child and “plucking out the heart, which was divided into pieces for us to eat.”
In 2005, the leader of Liberia’s transitional government, Gyude Bryant, pledged to hang anyone found guilt of ritual killing.
Dispatched to Maryland County by President Johnson Sirleaf to calm residents’ fears earlier this year, Justice Minister Christiana Tah acknowledged that “there are still lots of unresolved cases of this nature,” according to a report in the daily New Democrat.
In a case from the 1970s known as the Maryland Murders, seven people, including Fulton Yancy’s older brother Allen Yancy, a member of the House of Representatives, were hanged for killing a fisherman (see picture above). The following year Defense Minister Gray D. Allison was convicted of killing a police officer whose body was discovered on the Bong Mines railroad, apparently used in a ritual sacrifice. The government at the time displayed blood drained in gallons believed to be that of the dead man.
Dan Morias, one of those accused of the 2009 killing of a pregnant woman, is planning to run for senator in the upcoming legislative elections in October. He has maintained that the charges against him are politically motivated. He must be cleared of the charges to be eligible to run for office.
Morias is listed in the TRC report for alleged abuses committed while he served as Minister of Internal Affairs for the Charles Taylor regime. When reached by GlobalPost, Morias said he could not comment on the case as it would be “prejudicial,” but insisted that the evidence against him — namely the testimony of a witch doctor — was “weak.”
Earlier this year, President Johnson Sirleaf warned Maryland County citizens against seeking retribution for the killings with a traditional practice called “sassywood” or “trial by ordeal.”
The government insists that trial by ordeal is illegal and Johnson Sirleaf banned the practice in April 2007. Since then traditional leaders have been pleading with the government to allow them to practice the act which they believe is the only way justice can be served in cases like these.
“Sassywood” is the insertion of an accused person’s extremity into hot oil or the placing of a heated metal on a suspect’s body. If the suspect is burned then it is concluded that he or she is guilty but if there is no burn then the suspect is deemed innocent and set free. Those found guilty are killed.
The police are working to stamp out both the ritual killings and the “sassywood” practices, said George Bardue, spokesman for the Liberia National Police: “The police are doing everything possible to make sure that these things do not happen.”
Emily Schmall is a multimedia journalist now based in Monrovia, Liberia, where she serves as country director for New Narratives, a journalism mentorship project for women. Wade Williams is a New Narratives fellow and an editor at FrontPage Africa, Liberia’s most widely circulated newspaper.
Unfortunately, Zambia is no exception. Ritual killing of human beings – children, adults – takes place in Zambia too. I’ve been following events in Zambia since quite some time. Many suspected cases of ritual killings as well as real cases have been reported over the years. Without a shadow of a doubt the tip of the iceberg – as in many other countries. Many ritual murders are not discovered, or not reported as such. One of the cases in my archives dates back to 1996. An excerpt: “(…) Early this year, another spate of mob justice hit the country, especially Lusaka and the tourist capital Livingstone, after children started disappearing. Some of the children were later found, horribly mutilated. These murders were believed to be ritual killings. Angry mobs again took their justice, beating to death some suspects who the police say were innocent. This ended only when the police arrested and had several men convicted.(…)“
More in the near future. Read here (below) one of the more recent cases. Matero lies a few miles west of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.
Readers are warned, the details are gruesome.
Ritual killings, superstition, mob justice, absence of rule of law, ignorance, they’re all interrelated. Let’s hope that the Zambian government continues on the good road taken, as shown by the appearance in Parliament and the frank statements of Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo: “Between October 21, last year, and February 24, this year, seven suspected ritual killings were reported to Police (…)”
CANNIBALS IN MATERO?…POLICE RECOVER COOKED HUMAN HEART, LIVER AFTER ARRESTING A SUSPECTED RITUAL KILLER IN LUSAKA
Published on March 2, 2018
By CHILA NAMAIKO and JANE MWANSA Times of Zambia
A COOKED human heart and liver have been recovered by police in Lusaka after arresting a suspected mastermind in the spate of suspected ritualistic killings of seven people in Matero, Parliament heard yesterday.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said some of the cooked body parts were eaten by the suspect, who also shared with his unsuspecting neighbours.
Mr Kampyongo informed the House that the suspect also led the officers to the recovery of ears and several private parts, which had now been submitted to the forensic laboratory for examination. Updating the House in a ministerial statement on recent suspected ritual killings, he said all the victims of the murders were found with their chests ripped open and internal parts missing.
He said the security situation in Matero was generally stable until October, 21, last year, when the first suspected ritual killing was reported.
Between that date and February 24, this year, seven suspected ritual killings were reported to Police, with the victims in all the incidences had been males aged between 25 and 40 years. “By 24th February 2018, the Zambia Police Service investigation unit had with the help of the suspect recovered suspected cooked human heart and liver, “he said.
Mr Kampyongo said police visited and processed the crime scene, and preliminary findings suggested that the people behind the gruesome murders used the same method of killing.
For instance, at every crime scene, a concrete block was found. The officers believe the same block was one of the weapons used.
“The ripping open of the chest, cutting off of the ears and the private parts also appear to have been conducted in a similar manner. The preliminary findings suggest that these murders have been carried out by the same group,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo warned that false beliefs of human body parts helping one to accumulate wealth had no place in Zambia, and the law would catch up with the perpetrators.
To bring the perpetrators of such barbaric crimes, the House heard that police had instituted investigations, which had so far resulted in the arrest of one suspect.
He said the suspect, believed to be the master-mind, was assisting the officers with further investigations and would appear in court soon.
Police had taken a number of measures to enhance security in Matero such as foot patrol and motorised patrols, increased presence in high-density townships, and sensitisation to members of the community on personal security. He assured the public of police protection.
Meanwhile, residents of Kitwe woke up to a rude shock yesterday after a human head was found along the banks of the Kafue River.
When contacted for a comment, Copperbelt Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga said police were waiting for the family of the deceased to come and identify the head. And scores of residents living near the river thronged the scene to have a glimpse of the bizarre finding, which was later picked up by police.