Liberia: Boy discovered dead in Nimba County; cause of death linked to ritualistic rites

Yesterday morning I posed a question – in fact, I made a statement expressing my opinion – but could not imagine that a sad event would soon confirm my view.

I stated: “Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.”  See yesterday’s  post Ritual murders and elections in Liberia

Then I read the news, later, yesterday evening. “Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites”.

Sad news. I prefer to have been wrong. When will it end in Liberia? When will it stop, ritualistic murders? How come that it does not stop in Liberia (and elsewhere)?

Many questions. Now first the facts.
(webmaster FVDK).

Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Published: January 31, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A 9-year-old boy has been found dead in a hideout in Nimba’s sixth district, with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts. The body of Lee Arthur was found on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Sahn Village.

The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts is an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.

Coroners from Boe and Quella administrative districts, as well as Liberia National Police officers in Bahn, Nimba’s seventh district, who visited the scene crime, have all ruled out death from natural causes, suggesting that the child was murdered.

The head of Boe and Quella Administrative District’s Coroner Office, Moses Kargou, described the incident as “too scaring” and the first of its kind in the district since he took up his position in 2005.

“Since my father who was the district coroner died in 2005, and the district people chose me to serve [in] the position, this is my first time to see such ugly act,” Kargou said. “People can get drowned in water, and several other deaths have been happening here. But today, to see someone butchered like [an] animal, it is bad.”

Kargou expressed doubts that the crime was committed by a stranger to the village, suggesting that the perpetrator must be a member of the community. His passionate plea, therefore, was for the police to bring the killers to justice. Kargou then pledged the village’s fullest cooperation in the investigation.

“We can only hear about these kinds of acts on the main road, but for someone to travel this far to commit such an act is really serious,” he noted.

Four persons are already suspected in the alleged murder and are currently in police custody in Bahn.

Following the coroners’ examination and police forensic investigation, the victim’s remains were turned over to his family who, without money to preserve it at a mortuary, has gone forward with burial.

There has been no formal indictment of any suspect as the police investigation continues.

Source: Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Nimba County, Liberia

South Africa: deceased‘s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

Published: November 1, 2019
By: Howe Staff Writer

Mourners at a funeral of a 69-year-old man in Blinkwater village outside Giyani in Limpopo went on a rampage on Sunday when they discovered that his private parts were missing. 

James Makhubele was reportedly believed to have died in a hit-and-run on August 3, but family members now believe he was the victim of a ritual killing and that his body was thrown on to the road to create the appearance that he had been hit by a car. 

At the funeral, family members inspected Makhubele‘s remains and reportedly discovered that body parts were missing. 

This sparked a vigilante attack during which mourners burnt down three houses, one belonging to a man whom they believe to be the suspect and those of two of his employees. 

According to Sowetan, police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said a second post-mortem would be conducted. 

However, a policeman at the local police station reportedly told the newspaper that the first post-mortem did not find that any body parts had been removed. 

Incidents of mob justice continue to flare up throughout the country. 

Last week, that two men estimated to be around 30 years old were murdered by groups of people in separate vigilante attacks in the Eastern Cape. 

In July, in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, for stoning a murder suspect to death. 

In the same week, two women were  in the Ha-Mashau village in Limpopo. They were suspected of murdering a 12-year-old boy. Two suspects, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested.

Source: Deceased‘s missing penis sparks rampage in which angry Limpopo mourners torch 3 houses

Nigeria: ritual killing stirs fresh fears in Ikorodu (Lagos)

Published: November 2, 2019
By: Chioma Igbokwe and Moshood Adebayor – The Sun

The gruesome murder of Qudus Anifowoshe on October 14, 2019, once again brought panic to the residents of Lagos town of Ikorodu. 

While they had enjoyed relative safety and calm in the last two years after the killing spree of Badoo Boys, the murder of the teenager was a wake-up call that some ritualists are still prowling in the outskirt town. The victim’s body was found mutilated with missing parts, the unmistakable imprints of ritual killing. It was alleged that the 14-year-old student of Icon Primary and Secondary school Ikorodu, was last seen before his disappearance walking side by side with a suspect identified as Daniel Ameh, who was further implicated when three days later the mutilated corpse was found in an uncompleted building close to the house where he lived at Igbogbo Agunfoye Ire. Daniel Ameh, 17, has since been arrested and detained by detectives attached to the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti.

However, two weeks later, the police are not close to unravelling the why or how he was killed, while the suspect, an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, in his declaration of his innocence, insists the real killers are still at large. His evidence: the victim was once kidnapped and ransomed in the past.

The bereaved family, on the other hand, believed police are dillydallying in what they think should be an open-and-shut case.

Taofeek Anifowoshe, the victim’s father, alleged: “My son was found dead in an uncompleted building around 2 pm on Friday, October 18. They poured chemical on him, removed his eyes, tongue, heart, breasts and private parts. He went missing on Monday night and all the children with him said he was last seen with Daniel [Ameh]. We searched for him all through that Monday night but we did not see him. When we started looking for him, it was Daniel’s grandmother that went to ring the church bell and was announcing that my son had gone missing. But the surprising thing to us is that bloodstains were seen on the curtains of Daniel’s grandmother’s house and on the fence from where Qudus was thrown to the other side. We believe that he was killed inside that room and they dumped his body through the fence to the other side.”

Suspect’s story of innocence 

At the SCID where he is currently detained, 17-year-old Daniel Ameh insisted that he knew nothing about the death of Qudus whom he referred to as a friend.

This was the story he told Saturday Sun: “On Monday, October 14, I went to the hospital with my grandmother for my regular check-up. She has made it a routine to take me for checkups to be sure that I did not contract any disease while in school. Few minutes after the laboratory test was conducted, the nurse told my grandmother that there were traces of Malaria and Typhoid fever in my blood. I updated my Whatsapp status to show that I was sick. One of those that commented was Tawa, the sister to the late Qudus, who is also my friend. She accused me of not coming around to see her. I promised to do so as soon as I return from the hospital.

“In the evening, I went to their house and met her plaiting her hair. We were chatting when Qudus came in,  took his brother’s slippers and told them that he was going to his friend’s place. On my way out, I saw him standing with some Arabic students watching a movie on his phone. I asked him to transfer the movie to my phone and while he was doing that, a boy who lives on their street, Juwon Adebisi, left with Qudus.

Since we had not finished transferring the movie to my phone, he left his phone with me. I waited in front of their compound till I was done and luckily, he came back and I handed the phone back to him and left.”

Ameh claimed that he was already at home with his grandmother when some women were going around the area searching for Qudus.

“It was around 9 pm that I heard voices of women at our backyard complaining that they were looking for their son. I discovered it was Qudus’ mother and other women who were searching the uncompleted building beside our house.”

By 11 pm, some community women banged at their gate.

“I came out and opened the gate. They asked me if I knew where Qudus was since I was seen with him earlier in the day. In the presence of my grandmother, I told them that I was collecting a movie from his phone.”

The next day, he was at the Anifowoshe home to find out if Qudus had been found. “I was concerned because his elder sister, Tawa, is my friend,” he said. “She told me that they had not seen him.

The following day, Wednesday, he was at their house again. “To encourage my friend Tawa,” he said.

There he heard various accounts of people recounting the last time they saw the missing lad. “A woman said that while he was with the Arabic students, he received a call and wanted to leave when they pleaded with him to go for his 8 pm prayer and he replied in Yoruba that he wanted to go and jump the fence. Another man said that he saw him inside a barbing saloon that day.”

However, before the end of that day, the spotlight shifted to him.

“I went home and started receiving calls from friends asking if I am gay. My grandmother even confronted me with the same question. She said the news in town was that I was last seen with Qudus. She said that she was worried because people were saying that the way I held Qudus was as if I was holding a girl.”

Ameh insisted: “[Late] Qudus is just the brother of my friend, Tawa and I related to him as such. I have never had a reason to walk around with him neither did I force him to join any secret cult.”

Amid this disturbing development, he had to return to Ago Iwoye for his studies. However, distressing calls from Ikorodu kept coming. The most disturbing was from his grandmother who lamented the incessant harassment she was being subjected to by youths in the area who accused her of hiding her grandson.

“At about 10 pm that same Thursday, my aunt called and told me Qudus’ body was found at the uncompleted building close to our house and that angry youths jumped into our compound and started beating my grandmother. She told me she was saved by the intervention of some elders and the police who took her to the police station,” he narrated.

Ameh travelled back to Ikorodu and handed himself over to the police.

“I was the one that the police were looking for; if I stayed away they will detain my grandmother and she might die of heartache. [So] I went to Igbogbo Police Station where they detained her. They arrested me, while she was immediately released.”

In tears, Ameh claimed he had no idea how the mutilated corpse ended in the uncompleted building next to his house.

“This same building was searched by the women in the community that night and they did not find him there. I was among the young men who searched the whole area for him,” he argued. “Initially, we thought that he ran away because of fear that his mother would beat him. We also thought that he was kidnapped.”

He avowed that he was not a cultist or a ritualist and neither did he conspire with anyone to kill the boy.

“The only thing that is true was that I collected an Indian movie from his phone and this was done in front of their house,” he stated. “I never confessed to having killed him.”

The 17-year-old attributed his ordeal to malice. “I know that Qudus’ father does not like me because I was dating his daughter Tawa. He has warned me severally to stay away from his daughter. We like each other, and he is very angry about that.”

On the accusation of his being gay, Ameh denied the allegation with further clarification: “I am not gay. I love women, that is why I am dating Tawa,” he said. “While I was in secondary school, I was sexually molested by my seniors. They’d lure me to a corner and force me to touch their penises.”

He gave further insight into his background: “I was born and raised by my mother because my father abandoned her when she was pregnant with me. My mother remarried and currently lives in Dublin. I had to stay with my grandmother who is doing a wonderful job.”

On the allegation that his behaviours are effeminate, he said: “I grew up among women, who, to some extent, affected the way I walk and how neat I appear; this is why everyone assumed that I am gay and irresponsible men on the street normally approached me to have sex with them. Perhaps what worsened the matter was that during the ASUU strike, I went to learn how to plait hair for women. Everyone close to me assumed that I was attracted to women’s stuff because I am gay. Even my grandma has to visit the school with our pastor to advise and warn me of the dangers of being gay. I swore to her with the Bible and to further convince her, I joined the Christian fellowship on campus.”

He concluded his narration with a twist to the story when he urged the Police to find those who kidnapped Qudus in the past.

His words: “The bad boys in the community are envious of the man; that was why they kidnapped his son in the past and he paid them before the boy was released to him.”

Bereaved family’s version of the story

Mr Taofeek Anifowoshe, father of the late Qudus, a haulage driver, was in his place of work in Apapa when he received the bad news of his missing son on that ill-fated day. “A search party was organised by the community, just as we reported to security agencies and community leaders within our areas,” he recounted.

Mr Anifowoshe and his wife, Risikat, were at Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, October 29, where they spoke with Saturday Sun.

He narrated how Qudus, one of his five children, who attended Arabic school on their  street, was reportedly sent home that fateful day to bring his Quran before his mysterious disappearance.

He said: “I was told that after he returned from school on that day, he was seen with one Daniel, a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye after which his mutilated body was found after three days’ search in an uncompleted building near Daniel’s grandfather’s compound.”

Lamenting the cruel fate that befell his son, he wailed: “This is the height of wickedness by any mortal to his fellow human beings. I never imagined this would happen to me or any of my close relations. It is unbelievable and I still do not know why I’m the target.”

He claimed that the suspect could hardly exonerate himself from the death of his son. He also expressed displeasure with his overall impression of Police investigation. “As much as I appreciate police’s investigations, I wonder why they never deemed it fit to conduct on-the-spot investigations to the scene where the mutilated body of my son was discovered days after he was declared missing.”

He alleged the police had not returned to the scene of the crime or the home where the suspect lived with his grandmother, Mrs Comfort Omoyeghe Dickson.

“They never entered the premises where the Daniels live to see series of evidence that abounds there,” he said.

Anifowoshe appealed to the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to impress on the detectives to carry out thorough investigations into the murder and bring the culprit to book.

His appeal, he said, became imperative as “we are not truly convinced that the police was carrying out any investigation as they had promised.”

His wife, Risikat Anifowoshe, a trader, also denounced the lassitude displayed by the police towards the investigation. She alleged that the police had, a few days ago, tried to assist a family member of the suspect to pack some items from his grandmother’s house.

Reaction from the Police 

Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana said there is no basis for the allegation of a cover-up on the part of the police. “The DPO did a good job by arresting the suspect. There is no concrete evidence linking the grandmother with the murder, but the boy is still in custody,” he stated.

Elkana, who insisted that he did not want to join issues with the bereaved, said: “The boy has been transferred to the SCID. It is painful that they lost a child; they should be calm as the police are carrying out intensive investigation and will ensure that justice is done.’’

Source: Ritual killing stirs fresh fears in Ikorodu

Related article: 

I did not kill Kudus — declares teenager accused of killing SS1 student in Lagos

Published: November 2, 2019
By: Urowayino Jeremiah, Evelyn Usman

October 18, 2019 was a day of horror for the Anifowoshes in particular and residents of Igbogbo community in Ikorodu area of Lagos. This was due to the discovery of the lifeless body of 14-year-old Kudus Anifowoshe, in an uncompleted building, located three buildings away from his parents’.

The Senior Secondary School 1 student of Icon Primary and Secondary School had gone missing four days before, with his whereabouts unknown, until his body which was in its decomposing state was discovered.

Further discovery revealed that his eyes, tongue, private parts and breast were missing, indicating that he could have been killed for ritual purpose.

Accusation

Late Kudus, as gathered, was last seen on October 14, 2019, in the midst of some boys, in front of his father’s building. But apprehension set in when he did not return home, which was described as unusual of him.  A search party combed the community, banging on residents gates to ascertain if he was with them. But their efforts were to no avail.

But residents pointed accusing finger at one Daniel Ameh, as those seen with the boy claimed he was seen with his hand on late Kudus’ shoulder, as they walked out of his father’s compound at about 7pm.

Late Kudus distraught father, Alhaji Taofeek Anifowoshe, who is yet to come to terms with the rude reality of his son’s demise, was quoted to have said, “The body of my son was found in an uncompleted building around 2pm on Friday, October 18. His killers poured chemical on him, removed his eyes, tongue, breasts and private parts”

“All the children with him confirmed that my son was last seen with Daniel, before he went missing on Monday night.  Daniel’s grandmother was part of the search party. She even went to ring the church bell to announce his disappearance.

“Surprisingly, blood stains were found on Daniel grandmother’s curtains.  We suspect that my son was murdered inside that room before they threw his body through the fence to the other side because there was also blood stains on the fence from where we suspect Kudus was thrown to the other side”.  

Attack

Following the suspicion that Daniel, a 200 level Social Studies (Education) student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, could be responsible for the murder, irate youths stormed the accused building on 4, Alhaji Anifowoshe street, to carry out jungle justice, in order to extract the truth from him. But Daniel was said to have gone to school.

His grandmother, Mary Omozopia, was said to have been beaten and dragged on the floor by the mob who accused her of being in the know. They attempted to burn down the woman’s house but for the intervention of some elders in the community who suggested that she should be taken to the police station, where she would be compelled to bring her grandson, the accused.  

I have no hand in is death

However, in this interview with the accused undergraduate, he denied having anything to do with the murder of late Kudus. Though he admitted seeing him that night before he went missing , he maintained that he never walked along the street with him, as claimed.

According to Daniel, “ On Monday, October 14, 2019,  I went to the hospital with my grandmother because anytime I come back from school, I usually went  to the hospital for check up so that I don’t fall sick when I go back to school. Grandma went with me because she wasn’t feeling too well. I was diagnosed of Malaria and Typhoid fever and given some medicine.

“Same day, I posted Agoway on my WhatsApp status and the deceased’s sister, Tawa, who is my friend,  replied by asking why I didn’t come to check on her when I knew she was around. I went to see her on the evening of same day and met her plaiting her hair.

“Then, Kudus (deceased) rushed inside, he took his brother’s slippers told them he was going to his friend’s place and left. As I was going home I told his elder brother, Alamini, to open the gate for me. When I stepped out, I saw Kudus standing with some Arabic students, all boys. They were watching a movie on his phone. I went closer to him and asked if he had any movie on his phone, he said yes and I told him to transfer it to me. He sent me an Indian film.

As I was transferring the film into my phone, one  Juwon, came, shook hands with me and went to meet the Kudus. He (late Kudus) excused himself, but gave me his phone to hold as I continued the download. I stood at their gate waiting, until he came back and I gave him back his phone and went home.

“Around 9pm, his mum and some women with torch lights were going round. They entered the uncompleted building close to our house and left. Around 11pm, some community women came banging on peoples gates. When they came to ours, they started shouting ‘grandma, grandma a wan omo o.( Grandma, we are looking for a child o) I quickly ran outside because I was the one with the key to the gate. By the time I stepped outside, our tenants had also rushed outside. When I went outside, they asked me if Kudus told me where he was going to, that they saw me standing with him. I told them that I only collected a movie from his phone and they left our house. My grandmother and I went inside at about 3am that day because we also joined in the search. “The following morning,  I went to their house in the morning because Tawa was my friend. I asked her if her brother told her anything about his whereabouts, she said no. While there, my grandma called me to come and take the medicine given to me at the hospital and I left.  

Arrest  

Daniel, said he left for school on Wednesday, only to receive calls from home that he was accused of killing Kudus. He said, “Some people in the community even said they saw me in Ikorodu, that I was not in school. One of my aunties called to say that my attention was needed at the Police station to defend myself. My grandmother even called to ask if I knew anything concerning the tragedy, I said no.

To my surprise I was told that the missing boy was found dead in the same uncompleted building his mother and other youths searched.

I was forced to leave school for Lagos last Tuesday, when I was told that my grandmother was beaten and detained at the station, pending when I would show up. She was released when I got to Ikorodu police station”.

Homosexual?

Part of the news making the round in Ikorodu was allegation that Daniel was a gay and could have killed late Kudus over his refusal to consent to him.

Again, Daniel denied being gay. He said, “I am not a gay. The story about my being gay came about while I was in Secondary school. Then, I was sexually molested by some senior students.  They only told me to touch their private parts but I never and have never had anal sex. I have never had sex with any lady either, even though I have a girl friend.

This is because my father impregnated my mum and abandoned her. I don’t want to repeat his mistake, that is why I decided never to have sexual intercourse with any lady until I am married.

I am not a cultist too. They said a boy testified that I approached him to cone join secret cult with a promise to give him things. I don’t know who the person is and I dare the Police to bring him before me to state that before me.

I am not a murderer, I did not kill Kudus. I am not gay and I am not a cultist”, he said in tears.

The suspect has been transferred from Igbogbo  division to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID, Yaba , for further invention.

Source: I did not kill Kudus — declares teenager accused of killing SS1 student in Lagos

and:

Arrest my son’s killers, mother cries out to Lagos CP

Published: October 23, 2019
By: Nwafor

The bereaved mother, Mrs Risikat Anifowose, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that her late son was last seen with 17-year-old Daniel Amme before his mutilated body was found in their backyard.

According to her, a search party, which was formed when her son went missing on October 14, found his dismembered body in an uncompleted building behind Amme’s house two days later.

Anifowose alleged that police in the area advised her to resolve the murder incident “amicably,” instead of conducting thorough investigation into the matter.

The distraught mother said she was shocked when she later learnt that the police had released her son’s suspected killer and grandmother and allowed both to move out of the community

“Am begging the CP of Lagos State that he should please come to my rescue; the suspected killers of my son are being shielded and helped by the police.

“My son was just 14-year-old and why should he die such a painful death, with his organs being removed, please help me.

“His tongue, heart and private organ was removed and there are still blood stains over the fence on which his body was thrown into the uncompleted building from Amme’s compound.

“We are appealing to the CP of Lagos to ensure proper investigation is carried out and the perpetrators brought to justice accordingly,” she said.

Confirming the incident, Lagos Police Command Police Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, told NAN that investigations were ongoing to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.

He assured the parents of the deceased that justice would prevail and the perpetrators would be punished accordingly. “Detectives are on the issue and investigations are ongoing. We assure that the offenders would be brought to book,” the police spokesman said.

Source: Arrest my son’s killers, mother cries out to Lagos CP

Nigeria: body of boy, 14, found dismembered in Ikorodu, Lagos

Warning – Graphic photo – This article contains shocking details (webmaster FVDK)

Published: October 21, 2019
By: Zika Bobby, The Sun, Voice of the National – Sun New online 

The Anifowose family of Ikorodu are grieving the loss of their son, Kudus, a JSS 1 student who was declared missing since on October 14.

The lad’s dismembered body was found yesterday in a compound in Ikorodu.

A 17-year-old boy and his grandmother were arrested by the police.

Kudus’ body was discovered in an unoccupied building near his friend’s compound, but the friend has denied any involvement. The grandmother has since been released by the police.

Family members are alleging ritual killing, calling on the police high authority to investigate the matter properly.

“The way things are going, we suspect that some people in high places could be involved in this killing. When the compound was sealed by the police, some people came in company of the boy’s grandmother saying they want to take a certificate from the compound. Thanks to the OPC that refused them entry.

Source: Body of boy, 14, found dismembered in Ikorodu, Lagos

South Africa: 14-Year-old Masia boy brutally murdered (2013 article)

Dead: Nkhumeleni Mukhado

Published: April 26, 2013
By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

The lifeless body of a 14-year-old boy was discovered at the back of the cemetery at Majozi village last Thursday morning. It is alleged that the body has a gorged skull and was missing its private parts. It is suspected that the deceased is another victim of ritual murder.

The enraged community of Masia allegedly set a suspect’s hut on fire on Sunday night. However, the man and his family managed to slip away by jumping over the fence at the backside of his main house.

The boy’s body was first discovered in the early hours of the morning by a group of women who were walking down the mountain from fetching wood. It was later revealed that the boy came from a neighbouring village, Masia.

The body was later identified as Nkhumeleni Mukhadi by his father, Mr Frank Mukhadi.

A suspicious finger pointed at a man for whom the boy used to perform odd jobs, after some community members said that he was seen walking out of a church crusade service with him on Wednesday evening (17 April).

Mukhadi is a heartbroken man, following the discovery of his son’s body. He believes that a bicycle was used to lure his son to the Phadinwe mountain, where he was then killed for muti. “There were fresh prints of a bicycle, which led us to the spot where Nkhume was killed,” he said. “We saw blood soaked into the ground.”

Nkhumeleni was a Grade 4 pupil at Vhangani Primary School. Mr Bernard Bopape, a teacher, said that the school was unable to accept that the young boy is no more. “We need answers to his death. We need to know who killed him and the motive behind the killing.”

Bopape said the pupils could hardly focus on their school work since everyone in the village was speaking about the pupil whose private parts had been cut off.

Cllr Sarah Makhuvha  of Ward 7 maintains that she had received a sketchy report about the boy’s death from the ward committee and the deceased’s family. “There are community members who are maintaining that the man whose house was burnt had fetched Nkhumeleni from an evening church service and the boy never returned,” Makhuvha said.  “To lose a child under such horrific circumstances is really painful.”

Makhuvha, the school and affected community members continue to hold meetings at the deceased’s house, as a way of trying to comfort the family of the deceased.

The police’s provincial spokesperson, Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi, said the police had opened a case of murder. “No arrests have been made thus far, but our investigations are ongoing,” said Mulaudzi. “We are also waiting for the doctors to perform a post-mortem.”

Mulaudzi added that the police had opened an arson case after a house of a man was set alight.

Chief Vho-Thanyani Masia called for calm in the village and requested the community members who might have information regarding the boy’s killing to supply it to the police.

When Limpopo Mirror visited the village on Monday evening, there was a large number of community members scattered about the suspect’s yard with the intention of setting the remaining rooms alight. The Vuwani police kept an eye on the situation from a short distance.

Source: 14-year-old Masia boy brutally murdered

Uganda – ritual murder: four men to spend 45 years in prison (2013 article)

Published: April 25, 2013
By: Daily Monitor (Uganda)

Four men have been handed a 45-year jail term after being found guilty of killing a 12-year-old girl in a ritual sacrifice in Kyankwanzi District. 

The men were convicted by Justice Faith Mwondha.

A special High Court session sitting in Kiboga District was convinced beyond doubt that Mande Wanyama, Richard Katumba, Joseph Muganga and Fred Kaliisa, a witchdoctor; killed Sylvia Kangume.
Court heard that on March 20, 2009 at Ntunda village in Nsambya Sub-county in Kyankwanzi District, the four men murdered Kangume who was a pupil at Ntunda Primary School. 

The child’s mutilated body was found dumped in a bush with some body parts missing. A police sniffer dog led cops to Kaliisa’s shrine at Nalukonge village where body parts and blood were discovered.
During the trial, prosecution led by Ms Immaculate Aguntoko presented four witnesses including Ms Faridah Kemirembe, the deceased’s mother and Geoffrey Onen, a government expert who pinned the convicts.

Mr Onen, a government laboratory analyst told court that DNA tests proved that the blood found at the shrine matched with blood samples that were taken from Kangume’s body. 

Justice Mwondha said children who are being targeted by such criminals need protection. She said the sentence would send a signal to other potential offenders that they would be harshly punished.

The murder of Kangume in 2009 drew the attention of Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police who camped in the area for four days and took charge of the investigations. 

He also ordered the arrest of Mr Joseph Tukamushaba, the then Officer in Charge of Kigando Police Post after policeman was accused of attempting to frustrate investigations.

Source: Ritual murder: Four men to spend 45 years in prison

Kyankwanzi District is the northernmost district in the Central Region of Uganda (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyankwanzi_District) 

Nigeria: Ritual killers on rampage in Adamawa State (2014 article)

Published: April 15, 2014
By: BluePrint (Nigeria)

The residents of Yola, the Adamawa state capital, now sleep with their eyes open as ritual killers are on the prowl; this followed the discovery of the corpse of an 11-year-old boy, Master Umar Saleh, in Rumde Baru ward in Yola North local government area of the state.
The residents have decried the increase in ritual activities, saying that the frequency with which mutilated dead bodies were found was alarming.

The corpse which was semi-concealed in a polythene sack was discovered by a passerby who quickly raised alarm.
Some residents said they believed that the corpse might have been dumped for about three days as it had completely decomposed.
The discovery of the dead body of Umar Saleh, whose eyes, tongue, nose, ears and genitals were severed, has ignited apprehension as many residents said the “trend is becoming rampant despite emergency rule clamped on the state.”
Father of the victim, Malam Sale Usman, told newsmen that the family had been looking for the victim for five days following his failure to return home after he accompanied his little sister to the popular Jambutu Motor Park where she sells food.

“The family has waited with baited breadth for the return of Umar which never occurred as we only found his mutilated body later,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Adamawa state Command, DSP Usman Abubakar, confirmed the development, saying that the police were doing all they could to get to the root of the matter.

Source: Ritual killers on rampage in Adamawa

Nigeria: two men behead eight-year-old boy for ritual in Niger State (2017 article)

Published: September 1, 2017
By: Dan Atori – The New Telegraph (Nigeria)

Police in Niger State have arrested two men said to be notorious ritual killers terrorising Bakajeba community in Paikoro Local Government Area for beheading an eight-year-old boy. The suspects, Abdulrashed Aminu (25) of Lupa and Ismaila Mohammed (27) of Makera in Paikoro Local Government Area, were arrested by the Inspector General of Police (IG) Special Tactical Squad attached to the Abuja-Minna Road.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Babaola Adewole, told our correspondent that the suspects were arrested for beheading Hassan Abubakar (eight) for ritual purposes. It was also learnt that one of their accomplices, identified as Ibrahim, is still at large and the operatives have intensified efforts to apprehend him.

The suspects, now being detained at State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Minna, had taken the police to the spot where the headless body of the victim was buried in a bush path.

They were apprehended about 9p.m. last Saturday at Minna-Paikoro Road junction during a stop-and-search. Aminu and Ismaila, according to the PPRO, confessed to the crime. They told detectives during interrogation that they cut off the boy’s head with two sharp knives.

The victim’s, Abubakar Shuaib, said his son was last seen on August 26 when he took a kettle of water from the house to give to an unknown person waiting outside. Adewole said the suspects would be after investigations.

He said: “Enough of ritual killers in the state. We will continue to apprehend them till they change to better people in the society. “We are on top of the situation and we are equal to the task. Lives of the citizens must be protected by the police.

“Niger State is one of the most peaceful states in the country and we will resist any attempt by bad people to take over the affairs of the state. It will not happen; our men are intact, ready for any eventualities.” The victim’s body, according to Adewole, has been released to his family for burial.

Source: Two men behead eight-year-old boy for ritual

“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!

IBAHRI denounces death sentence delivered against three in Malawi

Reference is made to a recent court decision to sentence three individuals to death for killing and dismembering a person with albinism in August 2015. See my August 20, 2019 posting for more details (‘Malawi judge sentences three to death for albinism murder.‘) According to research carried out by the Cornell Law School, Malawi operates a moratorium on the death penalty and last carried out an execution in 1992 (webmaster FVDK).

A man was sentenced to death in Malawi for killing an albino teenager

Published: August 23, 2019
By: Our reporter (The Maravi Post)

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is deeply concerned about the recent decision in Malawi to sentence three individuals to death for killing and dismembering a person with albinism in August 2015. The IBAHRI fully supports the enjoyment of all rights by persons with albinism and recognises the challenges Malawi is facing in curbing the heinous attacks against persons with albinism. Despite this, the IBAHRI maintains that the death penalty is not the solution to preventing such odious crimes and goes against the international trend towards its abolition.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, commented: ‘To stop the commission of crimes against human rights, penalties that violate the same fundamental rights cannot be imposed. Attacks against persons with albinism must end, but the punishment that the perpetrators should face must respect international human rights law. We exhort the Malawi government to revise this judgement.’

On Tuesday 14 August 2019, at the High Court in the Mchinji district, Central Malawi, Judge Esmey Chombo passed death sentences on three individuals: Douglas Mwale, Sophie Jere and Fontino Folosani – who were found guilty of murdering and mutilating Priscott Pepuzani, who had albinism, in August 2015. In her ruling, Judge Chombo said the death sentences would send a strong message to other would-be offenders and put an end to such malpractices.

Since 1992, Malawi has had a moratorium on the death penalty, and the mandatory death penalty for murder was eliminated in 2007. African regional standards established by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, including General Comment No.3 on the right to life, Resolutions 42 and 136, as well as the Cotonou Declaration on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa , call on State Parties to move towards the abolition of the death penalty. Nevertheless, this is not the first time in recent years that the death penalty has been imposed for this kind of crime. In May 2019, Willard Mikaele was sentenced to death for the murder of Mphatso Pensulo, another person with albinism.

In the denunciation of this recent judgement, the IBAHRI reiterates its recognition of the difficult situation for people with albinism, which is particularly worrying in Malawi and other countries of the region due to frequent ritual killings and trading of body parts. In its 2018 report ‘Waiting to disappear’ International and Regional Standards for the Protection of the Human Rights of Persons with Albinism , the IBAHRI suggests that the legal protection of the rights of persons with albinism needs to be dramatically improved.

The IBAHRI condemns all attacks against persons with albinism and the violation of their rights, but believes that the imposition of the death penalty infringes the universally guaranteed right to life and amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, contrary to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

IBAHRI Co-Chair, Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc, stated: ‘The death penalty is amongst the worst of human rights violations, where the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment are completely ignored. The decision to resort to the death penalty is incompatible with a country that supports the rule of law and good governance.’

In 2008, the IBAHRI Council passed a resolution stating: ‘the Human Rights Institute shall in the future actively promote the abolition of the death penalty’.

Source: IBAHRI denounces death sentence delivered against three in Malawi