Published: March 4, 2019, 15:12 By: Aboubakar Famau – BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam
Police in Tanzania have arrested 65 witchdoctors doctors suspected of involvement in the barbaric ritualistic killings of children in the south-west and northern part of the country.
This follows the murder of at least 10 children in Njombe region and other similar incidents in the northern Simiyu region in late January.
Forty-five witchdoctors from Simiyu, and 20 others from Njombe are being held for interrogation over the spate of heinous killings, Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro told reporters.
The police boss further said the crackdown on traditional doctors, who are the prime suspects in the ritualistic killings, was ongoing.
“I have ordered that every traditional doctor, both registered and unregistered, must be interrogated and inspected, and those who will be identified as criminals, then the law will take its course, but after that, we have also ordered the authorities to start fresh registration, but we have also requested other institutions like religious leaders and politicians to help us.”
Superstition is deep-rooted among some communities in Tanzania, who believe human body parts can bring wealth.
Albinos are among those targeted by assailants who kill them or chop off their limbs and private parts.
Inspired by real life events, “The Roadblock” is a creative movie depicting the story of Joseph, a humble, genius young boy with albinism.
A Restoration Films production, powered by Magic Promotions, “The Roadblock” is set for release at the end of February, 2019.
Played by Smith Kanono, one Monday morning Joseph returned from school upon seeing suspicious men coupled with a bad dream the previous night although his mother forced him to go back.
However, Joseph did not make it back home. He was killed by unknown men and after the funeral ceremony, the suspects were apprehended at the Roadblock for being found in possession of human bones. They all got sentenced.
Commenting on the movie, Magic Promotions Co-founder Chris Loka condemned the killing of people with albinism, describing the acts as “barbaric”.
“As Magic promotions, we thought it is wise to partner with Restoration films in condemning the barbaric act of killing people with albinism. They are our sisters and brothers therefore we need to protect them at any cost. It is unfortunate that they should be living in fear, and apart from that, as stipulated in the Constitution of Malawi (section 16), they have right to life,” Loka explained.
He added that the acts are uncalled for, saying people with albinism should have peace.
Loka quarried: “This is their country. Where do we think they can go and find peace? Obviously, its nowhere! Let them find comfort here. People with albinism form part of our audience when we have events. They give us support. It is therefore inhumane to be killing our supporters and audience.”
In his remarks, Restoration films Director Alex Standy said: “People think to be patriotic is only by voting or involve yourself in politics but that is not the case. We also need to be concerned with issues of national concern.”
He further added that he believes people will learn something from the film.
Written and directed by Alex Standy, “The Roadblock” was shot by Bonface Kawinga and Paul Pascal.
The movie stars Bololo (Lovemore Muluwira), Jentele (Happy Matenda) as the men dealing with bones business, Joseph (Smith Kanono) as the murdered boy with albinism and Mrs Iness Standy Katendema as class teacher at Kawale Secondary School.
Published: February 24, 2019 By: Wongani Chiuta – Nyasa Times
HRDC (Human Rights Defenders Coalition) headperson Timothy Mtambo says the State has become a suspect in the abduction of people with albinism and killing them for ritual.
Mtambo’s comments in the press follows preliminary findings of an autopsy for the late Buleya Luke, a key suspect in the abduction of a 14-year old albino boy Goodson Makanjira in Dedza, that has revealed he was electrocuted, then hit with metal bars.
Another suspect in the abduction of a 18-year old baby with albinism Eunice Nkhonjera, Donald Msafiri, 61, allegedly committed suicide a day after being interrogated by police in Karonga.
Mtambo claimed the killing of people with albinism is a result of a leadership crisis facing the country.
“This madness is happening because of leadership failure from the Commander-in-Chief, Inspector General of Police and the Minister responsible for Homeland Security. This government is a big failure and we will hold them accountable, no matter what.”, Mtambo explained in comments reported by Nation on Sunday newspaper.
The late suspect was alleged to have offered K800 000 to buy Goodson, who is still missing in Dedza.
Lule has become the third suspect to die while on trial related to abduction of persons with albinism since 2015. All the three cases have the police involved. In 2015, another suspect charged in connection with abduction of a two-year old girl with albinism in Machinga died in the hands of the police after he allegedly jumped from a cruising police vehicle. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
A HRDC statement made available to Nyasa Times signed by Mtambo, said these deaths [of key suspects] smack of foul-play, adding, it is too tempting to conclude that there are powerful forces orchestrating them.
“Firstly, we strongly believe that these deaths are mafia-like planned and executed just to frustrate investigations that would lead us to alleged markets and lords behind these heinous crimes.
“Secondly, we at HRDC and indeed all well-meaning Malawians are tempted to think that those that we have entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the perpetrators of these inhumane acts are deliberately failing to do their job,” reads the statement.
The government is under fire for not doing enough to protect people with albinism as cases of attacks and killings continue to rise since 2014.
Amnesty International (AI) has since taken swipe at Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi for insinuating that attacks on persons with albinism (PWA) were not yet at crisis level.
AI, a global movement of more than seven million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights, said in a statement Thursday that the ‘shameful denial comments’ are fuelling attacks against persons with albinism.
During a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Dausi is on record to have said that the attacks on persons with albinism were yet to get to levels where they should hold vigils at State House or seek asylum in other countries.
In the Thursday statement, AI deputy director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda said remarks by Dausi will only embolden those perpetrating the assaults and are a disturbing reminder of the government’s inaction on the issue.
She said: “The latest comments from Minister Nicholas Dausi are yet another indication that persons with albinism in Malawi are on their own when it comes to their safety and security.”
Mwananyanda has since urged the government to promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the recent attacks against persons with albinism and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.
Warning: The article reproduced here contains at its end a graphic picture and video. Readers are warned that if they continue they run the risk of being confronted with the result of torture.
Rumors can never replace the truth but I thought it useful to publish here the suspicion expressed by the sister of the deceased that the sudden death of her brother while in police custody was caused by the police in an attempt to hide the identity of ‘big shots’ who are involved in the atrocities committed including the mutilation and murder of people with albinism. It is not the first time that allegations are made that a syndicate is behind the disappearance and murdering of innocent people with albinism in Malawi. See e.g. my posting dated January 21, 2019: Malawi: MP Kalindo threatens to reveal syndicate on albino ritual murders (Webmaster FVDK).
Published: February 22, 2019 By: Osman Faiti and Owen Khamula – Nyasa Times
Sister to a suspect believed to be the master minder in the abduction of a 14-year-old boy with albinism in Dedza has said the police have killed his brother in cell.
Anne Luke, sister to Buleya Luke whom the police said has died of “natural causes” whilst in police custody has doubted the police account.
“My brother never complained of any ailments. Even yesterday, when he appeared in court, he looked healthy. The police have killed him,” said Anne in tears.
She said the police never allowed the relatives to see him at Area 3 police station which she said might have been a sign that he was being tortured.
Cousin to the deceased suspect, Samson Black said the police refused his request to accompany his uncle to Kamuzu Central Hospital.
“They flatly told me I could not join them. He was half naked and it was as if his skin was peeled off by hot water,” said Black.
Luke was said to be the key suspect who recruited those who abducted Goodson Makanjira at a fee of K800 000 which he never honored.
He is said to have known the markets for the body parts of people with albinism.
Apparently, he was willing to reveal the “biggie” behind the albino killings.
The family suspect Luke has been killed to protect the “biggie” and the powerful syndicate behind the albino ritual murders from being exposed. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
Most of the suspects in albino killings either die under police custody or are reported to commit suicide in suspicious circumstance
Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) president Overstone Kondowe said he was suspicious with the police version whilst Lilongwe police spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said people should wait for an autopsy report.
On Monday, European Union Ambassador Sandra Paesen called for serious criminal investigations and coordination among countries to fight abductions and killings of people with albinism.
According to Apam, since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 25 murders and more than 10 people missing. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
Warning: The following short video may shock people because of its graphic content. The video shows the victim. Click here to watch the video. The picture below (‘Death in police custody: Buleya Luke’) is a still from the video.
A key suspect in the abduction of a 14-year-old boy with albinism has died in police custody in Malawi.
Luka Buleya was reported dead this morning after a brief court appearance in the capital Lilongwe yesterday.
Mr Buleya’s nephew, Samson Bulaki, said the family were suspicious about his death and showed the BBC pictures of his body with multiple burns.
Police said they were waiting for the post-mortem before they discussed the cause of death.
Mr Buleya had been accused of ordering two people to kidnap the boy last week in the central region district of Dedza, some 100km south of Lilongwe.
The Association of Persons with Albinism head, Overstone Kondowe, said he hoped Mr Buleya’s death would not deny the nation an opportunity to unmask a syndicate and provide leads to a market for body parts.
Killings and abductions of persons with albinism have become a huge problem in Malawi.
Persons with albinism are hunted and killed or have limbs chopped off by people who use them for making charms they believe can make people rich or bring them good luck.
One of the key suspects who answering charges in the abduction of a 14 year boy with albinism in Dedza has died. Police say Buleya Lule, 44, was unwell and was rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital where he died Wednesday evening but his family relations have told Zodiak online he has been “killed” in police cell.
“our relative was well when he left court Yesterday, [Wednesday] what happened during the night?” Wondered Lule’s Sister Annie Lule. “The police have killed him” She added in tears.
Buleya’s nephew Samson corroborated Annie’s version saying he was at the area 3 police when his uncle was moved on a stretcher from the cell into a police van heading to the hospital.
“I was at the court and he was very well, later in the evening when I went to give him food I was told I can’t see him, I insisted and while waited it was when I saw him taken to hospital.
Samson says he saw his uncle with burns on the thighs “like he was scotched with hot water” he said.
Public Relations Officer for Lilongwe Police, Kingsley Dandaula could neither confirm nor deny the assault allegations saying they will wait for a postmortem.
“When the suspect was reported unwell, we rushed him to Kamuzu Central where he passed on. We are yet get a postmortem report on what has killed him” says Dandaula.
At the court on Wednesday, another suspect in the case Kumbilani Patson who is Goodson Makanjira’s step dad told the court Mr. Lule offered him 800 000 kwacha for the boy.
Dandaula complained that following the death of Lule the police might have lost information relevant to the investigation.
Buleya Luke, the suspect said to have have hired and paid people to abduct a 14 year-old boy with albinism, Goodson Makanjira, has died while in police custody.
According to information that this publication has gathered, Buleya Luke was arrested following a confession by Goodson’s step father, Sainess Kalekeni, and an accomplice, Kambiloni Patson. He is said to have died mysteriously while in police custody where he was awaiting trial.
Kalekeni and Patson pleaded guilty to the charges of abducting the young child with albinism. They said Luke had promised to give them K800 000.
Buleya has died mysteriously
“I was enticed by a promise that I would get K800 000. I was told that a market is already there and I would get the money instantly which is not the case,” the stepfather said on Wednesday.
The boy who was abducted from his house over a week ago is still missing and the two suspects told the court they do not know whether Goodson was alive or not. But confessed that Goodson was still alive when he was handed over to the Luke.
“My job was simply to get Goodson and hand him over to Buleya. I would not know whether he is alive or not,” said Kalekeni.
The innocent child was abducted in the area of chief Chilikumwendo’s area in Dedza on February 13.
This year, at least five cases of attacks against persons with albinism have been recorded in the country. (Italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
Meanwhile, APAM plans to hold vigils at Kamuzu Palace to pressurise President Peter Mutharika to attack action against the attacks.
According to the association, participants in the vigil will congregate at Lilongwe Community Centre Ground and thereafter march to Kamuzu Palace where they will deliver a petition to President Peter Mutharika.
After handing over the petition, the protesters will remain at Kamuzu Palace where they will hold a vigil for three days.
But Homeland Security minister Nicholas Dausi said the attacks on people with albinism in Malawi have not yet reached crisis levels. This is despite the United Nations declaring that the genocide currently underway in Malawi has left people with albinism at the risk of extinction.
Remarks by the Homeland Security Minister has forced the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi to withdraw its membership from the presidential task force on people with albinism.
The Police are yet to comment on the mysterious death of Buleya Luke. His death has cast a dark shadow on the whereabouts of the missing 14 year old child.
Meanwhile, Malawians have reacted with horror and shock to the news of Luke’s death.
“Now i am scared more than ever. Shocking😢😢😢” wrote Louis Makungwa on Facebook.
Others have alleged that Dausi’s remarks were foretelling of what would before the suspect, saying government is protecting people behind the abductions and killings of people with albinism.
Joseph Kanyunya Moyo commenting on our Facebook, had this to say on Buleya’s death: “It’s the weakness of DPP government. How can this happen swiftly and within a short period of time. The government doesn’t want information to be revealed. This was a person who should have been protected and care for owing to the fact that revelations regarding these barbaric acts on people with albinism will be made. Poor govt.”
A man who was suspected to have had a hand in the abduction of an albino person in Dedza has been found dead in police cell today, police have confirmed.
Luke Buleya was nabbed together with other five suspects in connection to the missing of 14-year-old Goodson Makanjira who went missing some weeks ago.
Yesterday, Buleya was brought before Lilongwe Magistrate Court where he appeared as if he was having some seizures but many thought he was only faking.
Two other suspects told Lilongwe Magistrate Court that Buleya offered them a sum of K800, 000 hence the abduction of the young albino boy.
The death of Buleya is therefore a big blow to justice on albino killings as it was expected that he could have been the one to reveal where body parts of albinos are being sold.
Buleya and five other suspects including the step father of the victim are facing charges of abducting in order to murder contrary to Section 261 of the Penal Code and unlawful wounding contrary to Section 24 of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson James Kadzadzera said police will give more details on what has led to the death of Buleya.
Further to my previous reporting on a spate of ritual murders in Tanzania – see my posting dated February 4, 2019 – more news about these heinous crimes. The Tanzanian authorities have acted swiftly, and arrested a number of businessmen suspected of involvement in the ritual killing of innocent children. The rule of law must prevail which also implies a decent and impartial trial. (Webmaster FVDK).
10 prominent businessmen arrested for ritual killing of 14 children
Published: February 4, 2019 By: Tireni Adebayo – KemiFilani News
The Speaker of the Tanzanian National Assembly, Job Ndugai, on Monday said that Tanzanian police have arrested 10 businessmen in connection with the recent killing of 10 children in the country.
Ndugai said the men were arrested in Njombe and Makambako towns.
The Speaker announced the arrest as four more children were reportedly killed in Njombe region over the weekend, bringing to 14 the number of children killed in the region over superstitious beliefs.
Parents have stopped working to enable them to escort their children to and from school, he said.
Published: February 3, 2019 By: Godfrey Kahango @TheCitizenTz firstname.lastname@example.org
Njombe. Another child, Rachael Malekela was found dead on Friday night at Matembwe Village in Njombe District as the spate of reported ‘ritual’ could killings and appearances continues to rock the area. More below.
Published: January 28, 2019 By: Bukola Adebayo – CNN
Ten children kidnapped in Tanzania have been found dead with their body parts mutilated, authorities told CNN on Monday.
Tanzania’s deputy health minister Faustine Ndugulile said all 10 children had been missing since December in Njombe district, southwest Tanzania. Their bodies were discovered last week after police launched a search operation in the area.
“So far, we have found 10 bodies, and most of their private parts and teeth had been removed,” Ndugulile said. “These murders are linked to witchcraft practices because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get these human parts for money rituals,” he added. The children, some as young as seven, were kidnapped from their homes last month.
Many children have been reported missing by their parents in the community since December, according to Ndugulile, who said the health ministry was also investigating the wave of killings. “We want to identify the perpetrators, but our focus is to educate the traditional practitioners in the area quickly and those in surrounding communities on the need to stop these acts,” Ndugulile told CNN.
The Deputy health minister told CNN that these killings are not linked albino ritual murders which are prevalent in Tanzania and other parts of east Africa. “These murders are not linked to albino killings,” he said. “But it is very sad because they are children and they don’t deserve to be used like this,” Ndugulile said.
Tanzania has one of the highest rates of albinism in the world, at one in 1,500 people.
Despite its prevalence, there’s still a lack of education and tolerance and albinos are regularly killed for their bones and organs, which are sold to witch doctors for “charms and magical potions”, according to Amnesty International.
As I continue to say, both on this site and on my website Liberia Past and Present, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. Originally a cultural practice, nowadays it is closely linked to politics, elections and the greed for (more) wealth and power. At this particular moment in time it is not known what the background and linkages are of the ritualistic killings in Sinoe County disclosed here by County Attorney Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah. As soon as we learn more about these cases we will come back with the relevant news. (FVDK)
County Attorney for Sinoe Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah has disclosed that more women have been caught for ritualistic killings in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.
Speaking to a team of journalists at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 24 January, Cllr. Karnuah disclosed that cases of ritualistic killings have topped the docket.
He narrates that six out of 20 women were arrested by police officers, charged and placed behind bars for the alleged crime of ritualistic killings.
Cllr. Karnuah tells the interview that during the police raid, the key perpetrator was arrested, but she was very boastful in her utterances, noting that the matter would end up nowhere.
According to Cllr. Karnuah, the issue of ritualistic killing is said to be taking place in January this year in the district of Numorpor which has its own superintendent and other county officials.
According to him, one of the ritualistic killing incidents took place when the mother of a little boy left him on the farm to go out to fetch some pepper, bitter balls and other food substances for cooking.
He says upon the lady’s arrival, she realized that her son was missing.
Cllr. Karnuah explains that after days of searching without a trace of the missing boy, his father decided to use the help of a herbalist.
The lawyer says upon the father’s return, his wife was said to be part of the crime.
The county attorney says the mother made confession that she was part of the devilish club and it was now time for her to give her own son as a share of her sacrifice. But he says the lady escaped along with three other women who also confessed to be witchcrafts.
He notes that while the women were in the bush, they were pursued by some men in the community who caught and stripped them naked and gang raped them until one of the ladies identified as Wallet Nyenweh was allegedly killed in the process.
The lawyer narrates that during the trial, he ordered the body of the dead woman exhumed in other to prove the alleged gang rape which was said to have caused her death.