Incredible news comes to us from Uganda and – maybe even worse – it is not even NEW news. This has been going on for years. According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week. A human sacrifice!
Recently, we have noted a surge in the frequency of ritual murders in Uganda. Read the article below. One wonders why the Ugandan law enforcement authorities do not step up efforts to wage war on the traditional healers who are allegedly implicated in this repulsive practice which thrives where ignorance and superstition rule (webmaster FVDK).
Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders
Published: March 26, 2020 By: Daily Monitor – Fred Muzaale
Residents of Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-County, Kayunga District are recovering from shock they suffered after one of their own was beheaded last week.
Tarsis Mutesasira, 60, was beheaded on March 17 and his head taken by unknown assailants.
Residents discovered Mutesasira’s torso lying in a pool of blood in the bedroom. A week later, police are still hunting his killers.
On the fateful day, neighbours say the deceased, who lived alone in his small house, spent the entire day in his garden tending to his crops.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that Mutesasira murder was an act of human sacrifice and two traditional healers have since been arrested to help police with investigations.
Both suspects practise their trade in Kitimbwa Sub-county.
Mutesasira’s murder is one of the several acts of human sacrifice cases that have occurred in r Kayunga District about 60kms from Kampala city.
Mr Isaac Mugera, the officer in-charge of the criminal investigations in Kayunga District, says they do not know why Kayunga continues to register many cases of murders linked to human sacrifice.
He, however, says the big concentration of traditional healers in the district could be the cause of such increasing acts.
“There are more than 200 traditional healers in this district and our preliminary investigations revealed that many are fake, which could be the reason they engage in unlawful acts,” Mr Mugera says.
He adds: “We have tried to register all the native doctors in the district with a view of weeding out the fake ones but it seems we have not yet succeeded.”
Similar incident Mr Mugera cites a September 2018 incident when traditional healer Owen Ssebuyungo, 27, a resident of Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county, Kayunga District was arrested on charges of human sacrifice.
Security operatives recovered five bodies from his shrine. The bodies were recovered from shallow graves each containing a Shs5,000 note.
The suspect is on remand at Luzira prison and hearing of the case at Mukono High Court is ongoing.
Mr Mugera adds that given the strategic location of the district, wrongdoers from Nakasongola, Kamuli, Luweero, Mukono and other neighbouring districts find it easy to hide in the area and commit such heinous acts.
“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by medical personnel,” he says.
Mr Mugera reveals that since this year began, police have recorded a total of nine murder cases.
He, however, explains that two of these are suspected to have been acts of human sacrifice.
Last year, a total of 35 murder cases were registered in the area while 29 murder cases were recorded in 2018.
“As police, we have been successful in prosecuting the suspects in most of these cases because there is overwhelming evidence to pin them,” Mr Mugera notes.
Mr Tom Sserwanga, the Kayunga District chairperson, says acts of human sacrifice are rampant in the greater Mukono area that includes Buikwe, Mukono, and Buvuma districts.
“Many people in these districts believe in witchcraft and when they fall sick, they go to witch doctors for treatment,” Mr Sserwanga says.
According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week compared to the seven cases of child sacrifice reported to Uganda Police in 2011. The report adds that people carry out human sacrifice seeking wealth and fortune, among others.
The Kayunga District traditional healers’ association chairperson, Mr Badru Ssemisambwa, however, dismisses the claims that traditional healers are involving in acts of human sacrifice.
“No genuine traditional healer can kill a person. Those who murder people are fake and only masquerade as healers to make money,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
He says they have in the past three years cooperated well with police to arrest and prosecute quack traditional healers but many others keep joining the trade.
“We are planning a fresh registration of all traditional healers and those without proper documents will be arrested and prosecuted,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
Way forward The Kayunga Resident District Commissioner, Ms Kikomeko Mwanamoiza, says they are working with local leaders and security organs to wipe out the vice.
Ms Mwanamoiza expressed concern over the rampant acts of human sacrifice in the area, adding that there is need to sensitise residents.
“ It is a pity that a big number of people spend most of their time visiting shrines and some are forced to part with their hard-earned money in the name of pleasing their gods,” she says.
Background Call for regulation. The number of traditional healers who engage in criminal acts are increasing by the day, not only in Kayunga but in other districts too.
Several local leaders in many districts in central region have on several occasions urged Parliament to regulate activities of traditional healers, accusing many of duping their gullible clients.
Jailed. The High Court sitting in Mukono in 2018 handed a 40-year jail term to a man and his daughter-in-law after finding them guilty of human sacrifice.
In February last year, police in Luweero District with the help of residents stormed shrines belonging to a prominent traditional healer in Butiikwa Village, Kikyusa Sub-county in Luweero District and set nine of the ablaze, after he was accused of killing a resident in a suspected ritual murder.
When police confronted the traditional healer in a bid to search his shrines, he put up strong resistance but was overpowered.
Police found a mutilated human body and hundreds of human bones from eight shallow graves.
During interrogation at police , the suspect said his accomplices took a adult male to his shrine for ritual sacrifice.
In March 2018, police recovered a headless body dumped at Kalongo Miti Cell, Kizito Zone in Luweero Town Council.
Superstition is a curse. Its spread is like a virus… and it kills… How on earth can one believe that by murdering someone one increases wealth, power or prestige? ‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria cannot be compared to the traditional ritual killings which were performed for the sake of the wellbeing of the community – but which also don’t have a place in a modern society. Taking someone’s life is a crime. And should be punished.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details of the gruesome crime (webmaster FVDK)
Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta, flees
Published: March 28, 2020 By: Punch Nigeria – Afeez Hanafi
The joy heralding the birth of a child is usually indescribable let alone arrival of twins. That was the feeling seven years ago when Chiagozie and Chidalu Agwunobi, were welcomed to the Oliseh clan in Oko Ogbele Community, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. They were a bundle of joy to their parents as they grew up happily in months and years.
Few days ago, that joy was blown away like a candle in the wind when they went missing and their dismembered bodies later found in a bush. They were cruelly killed by their uncle, Onuwa Oliseh, who is still at large.
Onuwa reportedly lured the seven-year-old male twins to the bush within the neighbourhood on Friday, March 6, after they returned from school and butchered them. He was said to have removed some of their body parts for money rituals and dumped the remains.
Investigation by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in the state led to the arrest of Onuwa’s accomplice, Kelvin Uzor, who is also a relation of the twins.
“Police got information that on March 6, the twins were missing from their parents’ house. Their bodies were later found in the bush on March 8 with some parts of their bodies mutilated. Their eyes, hands and private parts were missing. Police began investigation and generated enough intelligence that led to the arrest of Uzor. He confessed that they were a three-man gang and wanted to do money ritual with the body parts,” a senior officer told Saturday PUNCH.
Our correspondent learnt that Onuwa’s younger brother, Iweka, who attended the same school with the twins, told the police that the suspect asked him to lure the deceased from the school.
“I am a primary four pupil of Ekeanya Primary School. On March 6, at about 6.30am, my elder brother Onuwa Ajei Oliseh, asked me if I would go to school and I told him yes. He asked if I can help him bring out the twins from the school before the school closes that day and I told him no because their teacher would not agree.
“That day when I came back from school, I saw my brother place a cutlass on the table where he was eating while I went to the backyard. It was later I heard that the twins were missing and their dead bodies were found in the bush,” he told detectives.
The twins’ father, Agwunobi Oliseh, stated that Onuwa visited his house that Friday in the morning and asked him if they (the twins) would go to school. He said he responded in affirmative, unknown that Onuwa was plotting to kill his beloved kids.
The 52-year-old farmer said when his children returned from school, Onuwa came back and asked them to follow him to the stream in the community.
He said, “I am a traditionalist and a farmer. I’m married with seven kids. My twins were seven years old. On March 6 in the early morning, Onuwa came to my house and inquired if my late children would go to school and I said yes. I later learnt he told his younger brother, Iweka, to help him take my children out of the school premises. He said he wanted to go somewhere with them.
“Later in the day, he went to their school and tried to take them out but he was chased away by their teacher. As soon as they came back, he came to my house and asked them to follow him to the stream. I think they were on their way when he brought out a cutlass and killed them.”
The distraught father, who noted that he and his wife were not around when Onuwa took the twins away, said he was told the suspect ran home with bloodstains.
“According to his brother, he ran back home with his hands stained with blood. He then asked the brother to pour water on his hands while he washed the machete with which he killed the twins. He left for Uzor’s house and both of them went to one Anam.
“It was when I came back later in the day with my wife that I realised the twins were missing. While I was running around, Iweka told me that it was Onuwa who took my children. Onuwa ran away but we were able to find Uzor who told us where their bodies were dumped. We went there and found their mutilated bodies. Their eyes, tongues and hands were removed,” he added.
Uzor, in his statement, admitted the twins were killed for rituals but denied partaking in their murder.
He said one of his friends, called Chukwudi, told him of a traditionalist in Anambra who could help them to perform money rituals with children not above age 12.
The 18-year-old primary school leaver stated that he informed Onuwa, who agreed to the plan.
He said, “I stopped schooling after my primary school education because my parents did not have money. I worked for a farmer called Egwiyo. I served him for many years and he promised to give me money this year. Chukwudi told me there was a place where we could do money rituals in Anambra and he asked if I was interested.
“We later told Onuwa who agreed to do it. I told them I was not interested but if they want to do it, they could go ahead. I told them I would be happy if they succeeded. I was sleeping when Onuwa called me and said he had killed the twins. He said he took their bodies to one native doctor in Delta but the man told him he wasn’t into money rituals.
“He later called me when the heat was much and told me where he dumped the bodies. Now, police said I was the one who killed the twins. Onuwa took the body parts to a herbalist in Aguleri, Anambra.’’
Uzor said immediately he learnt about the twin’s murder, he ran to Anambra where he was tracked down by the police. He added that he gave tacit support for the crime in the hope that he would be given money to buy a car and build a house if it worked out.
He said, “I wanted to become a young chief because most of the young men I know did not work as hard as I did and now they are millionaires. I am a farmer and hardworking but I was not making enough money. I have no savings. That was why I somehow agreed to be part of the plan.
“Onuwa convinced me it was the fastest way to make money and that most of our colleagues made money through that means. My greatest mistake was that I did not inform my family when Onuwa suggested that we should use the twins.
“I love the twins so much and their parents are nice. I cautioned him but I don’t know that he would still go ahead to kill them. They normally went to his house to play; so it was easy for him to take them out without anyone being suspicious. I was not in the bush when he killed them.”
Uzor revealed further that the initial plan was to use an elderly woman in the community for the money ritual but he prevailed on the gang to spare the woman because she was generous.
“Initially, they wanted to use one old woman known as Nne Amaka, but I pleaded with them to leave her because she is nice. If I passed by and begged her for water, she would give me water and even food.
“I feel bad because he betrayed me. I am appealing to young men that money ritual does not pay. I am a hard working man and well known. Even when my name was mentioned in the crime, a lot of people came out to defend me. I am sorry. I want the family to forgive me,” he added.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the remains of the twins had been deposited at the General Hospital, Igbuzor while IRT detectives led by DCP Abba Kyari had launched a manhunt for the fleeing suspects.
The ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia is as old as their cultures. The Kara, Banna and Hamar are not the only ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that kill ‘cursed’ or ‘mingi’ infants. Also in e.g. Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria tribal elders decide that the well-being of their clan or ethnic group is best served by the killing of young, innocent and often defenseless life – and I am certain that infanticide is practiced in more SSA countries.
As with other ritualistic killings (murders!), superstition ‘is the root of all evil’. Ignorance, superstition, AND the lack of law enforcement keeps this ugly practice alive. Let’s all work hard to eradicate these practices from society. Today is 2020. We’re living in the 3rd millennium!
I highly recommend the article below. CNN is to be commended for its publication! (webmaster FVDK)
Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?
Published: November 5, 2011 By: CNN – Matthew D. LaPlante
His top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. That is how elders of the Kara tribe determined that a healthy baby boy needed to be killed.
The child was “mingi” — cursed, according to their ancient superstitions. With every breath, they believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village.
Murderous though it was, the decision to kill the boy was the easy part. It was the sacrifice of one infant for the good of the entire tribe — a rite that some of the elders had witnessed hundreds of times throughout their lives in Ethiopia’s remote Omo River Valley.
The tribe’s leaders were less certain of what they should do about the boy’s twin brother, who had died of sickness shortly after birth. After some debate, including a pensive examination of a goat’s intestines, they decided the dead child must have been mingi, too.
So they dug up the corpse, bound it to the living boy, paddled a canoe into the center of the Omo River and threw them both into the murky brown water.
That was five years ago — a time before many outside of this isolated basin had ever heard of mingi.
Today, nudged out of acquiescence by a slow-growing global condemnation of the ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia, regional government officials have begun to take action — threatening prison for those complicit in mingi killings.
Meanwhile, a small band of Banna Christians has taken it upon itself to give sanctuary to the mingi children of their tribe; an enlightenment among some young and educated tribesmen of the Kara has spawned an orphanage for the condemned; and global Samaritans, drawn by the plights of these defenseless children, have offered money and adoptive homes.
The combined efforts have saved scores of children.
But none of the interventions has brought an end to the deep fear that stokes the slaughter. And so it is estimated by some government officials, rescue workers and village elders that hundreds of children are still being killed each year, by drowning, suffocation and deliberate starvation.
‘All the people’ Bona Shapo steers a dugout canoe through crocodile-infested waters, guiding the craft ashore where the Omo River bends at the bottom of a crumbling precipice near the tiny stick-and-thatch village of Korcho.
The sun is setting into the ravine. Across the river, a troop of colobus monkeys whoops and howls, stirring a flock of gangly marabou storks from their perches on a stand of flat-topped acacia trees.
“This is where they do it,” says Bona, who stood upon these same muddy banks on the day the twin boys were thrown into the river. “Sometimes they take the babies out in a boat. Other times, they just take them to the edge of the water and throw them in.”
The mingi rites of the Kara are slightly different from those of the Banna, which are, in turn, different from the Hamar. But common among all is a profound fear of what might happen if the killings were to stop.
There has been little academic scholarship on the subject, but some observers have speculated that it might have started many generations ago as a way to purge people who are more likely to become a burden or who cannot contribute to the propagation of their people. That might explain why children who break a tooth or injure their genitals are among those singled out for death. Others are killed because they are born out of wedlock or to married parents who have not completed a ceremony announcing their intention to have children — a brutal enforcement, perhaps, of the deep-rooted duty that members have to the tribe first, their family second.
As far as the Kara elders are concerned, these rules are as old and unyielding as the Omo River — and every bit as crucial to their survival. Allowing a mingi child to live among the Kara, they believe, could cause the rains to stop falling and the sun to grow hotter.
“If they have the mingi, there will be no water, no food, no cattle,” Bona says. “But when they throw the baby away, everything is good again.”
Elders bitterly recall times in which their sympathy for mingi children prevailed over their fear. They believe that heedlessness cost the tribe most of its cattle and many of its members. Today, Kara leaders say, a more respectful adherence to the brutal obligations of their beliefs has allowed their tribe to thrive.
“So yes, it is sad, but we are thinking about the village, the family, all the people,” Bona says. “We tell the parents, ‘don’t cry for your baby, because you will save everyone. You can always make another baby.’ ”
‘No other option’ She wasn’t permitted to nurse him, hold him or even see him. But Erma Ayeli still clings to an image of the baby she lost — fantasy though it may be.
“I think he must have been a beautiful boy,” Erma says as she rests on a pile of sticks, surrounded by a playful mob of younger children. “I wanted to keep him.”
Her chin sinks into the tornado of colorful beads draped around her neck.
Apparently sensing her sorrow, a young boy rests his half-shorn head playfully on her lap. Erma tugs at his ear, smiles and reclaims her composure.
She still mourns. But she does not question why her son was killed. “There was no other option,” she says.
Sex outside of the confines of marriage is acceptable among the Kara.
But if a woman becomes pregnant before participating in a marriage ceremony, her child is considered “kumbaso,” a mingi curse that occurs when parents fail to perform the appropriate series of rites before conceiving. Erma cannot marry, though, until her older sister has first been wed. Her hands fall to her swollen stomach; she is pregnant once again.
“It was an accident,” she laments as she rubs her bare waist. “I don’t want to lose this baby, too.”
There is a potion she can take; the village medicine man can mix a concoction of roots and herbs that will make her sick and might cause her body to reject her pregnancy, taking her baby’s life before others can take it from her.
Many women choose this path. Erma won’t. Because this time, at least, she has some reason to hope that her child might be spared a violent death. Far away from her village, she has heard, there is an orphanage for mingi babies. She has pleaded with village leaders to let her child go there.
Either way, though, she won’t be allowed to see her baby. Once again, she’ll be left to dream about what her child might look like. “This time, I think, I might have a girl,” Erma says. Again, her head hangs low. Again, the boy next to her drops his own head into her lap, glancing up with a wry smile.
This time, though, Erma doesn’t smile back. She gently strokes his smooth brown cheek.
‘This was our culture’ They have taken her tribal clothes. Her beads, her animal skins and her jewelry have been replaced by a tattered shirt and loose-fitting skirt. In that and most other visible regards, Mashi Lamo is indistinguishable from the other inmates at the Jinka Prison Institute.
Yet everyone in this ragtag penitentiary knows who she is. “The mingi mother,” says one guard, a woman whose crisply pressed khaki uniform seems to stand out in defiance of this dirty, dilapidated jail, cut into a hillside in the South Omo region’s administrative capital. “Yes, we all know what happened to her. It is very sad.”
It is not typical for Kara mothers to be asked to kill their own mingi children — and none are known to have done it of their own volition. In any case, fellow Kara say Mashi could not have killed her baby; she was far too weak after the birth to have done such a thing. It was other women who took the child away, they say.
But when police arrived, Mashi took the blame. Within days, she had been sentenced to three years in prison. She had no attorney, and there was no trial.
She may be a prisoner today, but her past and future are inexorably Kara. Mashi can speak and understand only her native language. She’s never been to school. When she is finally released, there will be only one place to go.
And so, under the watchful eyes of several other Kara prisoners, Mashi stands by her story.
“What they say is false,” she says of those in her tribe who have proclaimed her innocence. “I did it all myself.”
But asked if she deserves to be in prison, the teenager sinks her face into her hands. “I hate it here,” she says.
“I wanted to keep my baby, but that was not allowed. This was our culture.”
A few feet away, another young prisoner — girlish in figure and demeanor — hides behind a corrugated metal wall and listens in. Prison guards say she is the only other person serving time here for a mingi killing, and they say she shares Mashi’s plight.
But she cannot bring herself to speak of what happened. “This one prefers to forget” the shipshape guard says.
Unevenly executed as it might be, the government’s effort to crack down on mingi killings has had an effect on the Kara. Combined with other interventions, the fear of prison might be helping to save some children.
But not all of them.
“Before, they did it in the open,” says Solomon Ayko, a gangly young Kara man who has witnessed several mingi killings. “Now, it just happens in secret.”
‘They are human’ The Kara don’t count the passing years as outsiders do, but by Ari Lale’s recollection, it happened about 15 years ago, when he was a young man, eager to prove himself to the rest of his tribe.
A kumbaso baby had been born. Leaders asked Ari to supervise the child’s execution.
“The baby was crying,” Ari says, “so we put sand in its mouth and he was still trying to cry but couldn’t anymore.”
Soon, the child was dead, and Ari escorted a group of women away from the village to throw the tiny boy’s body into the bush.
What became of the child’s remains? “The hyenas or other animals took it away,” Ari says with a shrug.
Today, Ari is the leader of Korcho village, and he counts his participation in the boy’s death as one of his proudest memories.
“All the families would thank me for throwing away that baby,” he says.
“If I had not done it, they would have been angry.” It is extremely uncommon for police officers to make the arduous trip from Jinka to any of the Kara villages, but Ari says he and other leaders are nonetheless wary of the threat of prison. At some point, he says, the government will want to make an example out of someone of his stature.
But Ari, who wears his hair taut under a hard, red clay bun in the way of his tribe’s warriors, has not stopped believing in the dark magic of mingi. And so he and others have found a different way to carry out the killings.
They will not drown or suffocate the children, as they once did.
But they have forbade anyone from the village to have contact with a cursed baby.
“If a mother was to give the baby her breast, she would also become mingi,” he says. “After the baby is born, we keep it alone in the house and we do not give it water or milk.”
Without nourishment, the infants quickly die, and there is little that can be done to prove that a baby wasn’t simply stillborn.
Ari appears to be pleased about this solution. Yet he balances his pride with a lament for the dead.
“They are human,” he says of the mingi children.
For all of the praise he got for carrying out that first killing, Ari says, he would have much preferred to let the child live, if only there had been another way.
For some, now there is.
‘A sickness in our culture’ Kara children die all the time.
Many succumb to disease. Others are killed by wild animals. And some are sacrificed in the name of mingi.
For Shoma Dore, that was simply part of life.
“This is something that came down from generation to generation,” Shoma says. “If a baby comes with the top teeth before the bottom teeth, it must be killed. If it comes without the ceremony, it must be thrown away. … I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.”
Not, that is, until Shoma left the tribe to attend school in his early teens. In Jinka, he says, he realized for the first time the evil that was being done by his tribe. And when he returned, two years later, he found that others among the Kara’s more educated youths had come to the same realization.
“There are many important and good parts of our culture — there is also a sickness in our culture, and we have to change ourselves,” says Aryo Dora, who decided a few years ago to go with Shoma and about 30 other young Kara to plead with tribal elders to stop the killings.
Their plan, developed with the assistance of a team of Westerners, was simple: If mingi children could be sent far away from the village, they would pose no risk to the tribe.
“Once we explained the plan, they agreed quite easily,” Shoma recalls.
And that is how the orphanage began.
It wasn’t long before Webshet Ababaw was drawn into the fight. The professional tour guide and driver was in Jinka when he received a call from the orphanage. Leaders there had received word that a kumbaso girl was about to be born in the Kara village of Labuk. They needed someone with a four-wheel-drive vehicle who wasn’t afraid to race across the axle-breaking savannah to get to the village in time to save her.
No one seemed inclined to help find the child when Webshet and an official from the orphanage arrived in the village, but they finally found the infant lying on the ground behind a stick hut. Her mouth was filled with dirt and sand, but she was alive and seemed to be in relatively good health, Webshet says.
Piecing together a newborn first-aid regimen from what he’d seen in the movies and in a high school health class, Webshet unstrung a lace from his shoe and tied it around the baby’s broken umbilical chord. When no one in the village would give him a blanket, he wrapped the shivering child in his jacket. And when no one would give him milk, he found a goat, crouched beside it, and took a small amount for the girl.
None of the Kara had helped him on that day, but as he raced back to Jinka, Webshet looked at the small bundle in the passenger seat beside him and smiled.
There she was, improbably cooing as he bumped along the rugged dirt road.”
At least someone decided to contact us,” he says. “That is the only reason why she was alive.”
Orphanage officials later named the baby Edalwit, which means “she is lucky.
“Today, more than 30 mingi children live together in a small single-story home in a quiet Jinka neighborhood. Aryo, who is co-director of the orphanage, won’t grant permission for outsiders to check on the children — a rule intended to protect the orphans from potential exploitation, he explains. But, he says, they are loved, cared for and schooled with the hope that one day, they will be allowed to return to their families.
“These children are the future leaders of their tribes,” Aryo says. “They are going to grow up big and strong. They are the ones who will end mingi.”
‘We did our best’ It is a bright May morning in Korcho. In the communal spaces between the round, grass-topped huts, dozens of women are on their knees, vigorously thrusting their body weight into stone hand mills, grinding sorghum into flour.
Zelle Tarbe, though, is working inside. It has been just six days since she gave birth to her baby boy. Her breasts are still swollen — full of milk that will not nourish her child. The shock of losing him is still plastered across her face.
Zelle, who is unmarried, knew she would have to give up the child, but it was harder than she expected. “I wanted to keep him with me,” she says.
But she is nonetheless feeling very fortunate, “because my son is alive.”
Zelle was able to spend a few short moments with her baby before orphanage officials spirited him away.
“He was so sweet and beautiful,” she says from the shadows of the hut as a friend butchers a goat and hangs its carcass on the wall beside her. “But I did not give him a name because he was mingi and could not stay with me.”
Already, though, she is dreaming of a day in which she might make the journey to see her boy.
“Someday, I hope, I can visit him in Jinka,” she says.
No one, least of all Zelle, would argue that the rescue mission isn’t preferable to death for mingi children. But the orphanage has nonetheless been a controversial solution. A Christian group that supported the effort for two years withdrew its backing this spring after accusing the orphanage’s director of stealing money donated by American benefactors.
Orphanage officials counter-accused the Americans — who had helped arrange the adoptions of four mingi babies — of stealing the children from their families. The adoptions were, in fact, all legal under Ethiopian law, which treats mingi children as abandoned. But the orphanage leaders have argued that the biological parents surrendered their babies under cultural duress and should have the right to reclaim those children if their situation were to change.
Either way, adoptions and orphanages don’t address the root causes of mingi. And even when it had the support of a determined and resourceful team of Westerners, the rescue and shelter system was able to save only a fraction of the endangered children.
“At one point, there were six women we knew about who were pregnant with mingi children,” recalls Jessie Benkert, one of the Americans who supported the rescue effort. “We only got one.”
Geography is as much an obstacle as tradition. The Kara tribe is separated into three main villages, and the only telephone able to reach the outside world is in the main village of Dus, an hours-long hike from the other communities. Hundreds of other Kara live deep within the bush and, tribe members say, are more likely to carry out mingi killings there without notice.
Getting from Jinka to any of the Kara villages in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is, in the best of situations, a half-day’s trip across soft savannah sands and muddy river beds. A light rain can delay the trip by days. And during the rainy season, which lasts for up to eight months each year, the route can be washed away entirely.
Tribal leaders in Korcho say about 20 mingi children have been born into their small village since the orphanage opened. Orphanage workers have arrived in time to save only about half of them, they say.
Last year, rescue mission leaders learned that a Kara woman had given birth to a mingi boy whom tribal elders had promptly attempted to kill by ripping out his umbilical cord. The wounds had quickly gone septic, and there was no time to send a car to retrieve the child. Evacuation by air was the only solution; chartering the aircraft cost $3,500.
“That was the sum of all the money we had,” said Levi Benkert, Jessie’s husband. “And we couldn’t be certain that, even if we did it, he was going to live.
“They did it anyway — and saved the boy. An online fundraising effort quickly recouped the costs of the evacuation, but rescue mission officials knew they couldn’t sustain those sorts of expenses. And, in any case, they’ve since been pushed out of the Omo River Valley by local government officials who have sided with the orphanage’s Ethiopian director.
“We did our best,” Levi Benkert says. “We saved as many children as we could. And we continue to pray for them every day.”
‘Out of fear’ The people of the Omo River Valley love their children.
That is what Andreas Kosubek has come to believe over six years of organizing medical mission trips into the Kara heartland.
“These people are really good people,” says the German missionary, who recently gained permission from tribal elders to build a home on Kara lands. “They are not doing this because they are evil, wild, dumb monsters. They’re doing it out of fear. They fear for the lives of others in the tribe.”
From Kosubek’s point of view, the fear will end only if the Kara come to believe in something stronger than mingi. In his way of thinking, that means introducing them to Christianity.
“But we cannot do that,” the 29-year-old evangelist says, “unless we approach them with humility and a dedication to service.”
And Kosubek says he has often failed in that regard.
Not long ago, a Kara man brought his sick daughter to Kosubek, who was on tribal lands to work on his home and not accompanied by anyone with medical training.
The toddler was breathing rapidly and not responding to her father’s words or touch.
“She was the same age as my daughter and, you know, if my daughter had been sick like that, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done to save her,” Kosubek says, noting that he would have immediately evacuated his own daughter to a hospital. “But so many things crossed my mind: It’s difficult, it’s expensive.”
The girl later died, probably of simple pneumonia.
“I could have helped her,” Kosubek says. “And I am ashamed.”
Kosubek recognizes the need to end mingi killings, but he doesn’t feel entitled to condemn those deaths.”
Far more children are dying in other ways,” he says. “These are ways that we can address and prevent immediately if we just cared enough. Before we judge, we have to ask ourselves what we have done to help these children.
“In that question, he believes, is a model for truly bringing an end to the slaughter — through genuine selflessness and compassion.He’s seen it, firsthand, among the people of the nearby Banna tribe.
‘My children are also mingi’ In a smoke-filled mud hut in the village of Alduba, Kaiso Dobiar dips a ladle into a tar-black pot of coffee, filling her home with the aroma of the brew as she stirs the simmering liquid.
Kaiso is proud to be Banna, and she follows many of her tribe’s customs and beliefs. But she is also Christian and, wary of false idolatry, she and her husband refused to perform the rites mandated by tribal leaders before they conceived.
“So my children are also mingi, in that way of thinking,” says Kaiso, who is fostering two additional mingi children in her home.
A tiny girl crawls onto Kaiso’s lap, reaching over to help stir the pot. “This is Tarika,” Kaiso says. “She is 2 years old, and she is mingi.”
The girl was born without the appropriate Banna ceremonies, but her birth mother hid the child for six months. “Then the rains stopped for a short time,” Kaiso says. “The people rose up and said, ‘You must get rid of her. Throw her into the bush.’ But I said, ‘do not throw your child into the bush, give her to me.’ ”
Also sharing this small hut with Kaiso’s family is Tegist, another mingi child who guesses her age at 7 or 8 years. Kaiso says her foster daughters cannot play with other Banna children and must remain in her family’s small compound.
“They will have to stay here until they are older,” Kaiso says. “After that? God, he knows.”
Missionaries first came to the Banna decades ago, and the Christian church here is larger than any other among the tribes of this region. Still, their numbers are small; Banna’s Christians make up just 1 or 2 percent of the tribe’s population.
But their collective efforts have been enough to almost eliminate mingi killings within their tribe. With little money or other means of support, Banna’s Christians have accepted responsibility for nearly all of the tribe’s mingi children. Many, like Kaiso, are already caring for one or more mingi boys and girls. One family has taken in 17 foster children.
They do so at great potential risk to their own families. As she steps outside her home, the precariousness of Kaiso’s situation becomes clear.
“Kaiso, why are you protecting those children?” an angry neighbor screams from beyond a stick fence. “Tell us why!”
The Banna have not faced drought or a significant bout with deadly disease for many years. That, local Christians say, has kept much of their neighbors’ anger at bay.
But if the tribe’s fortunes were to change, its leaders would be swift to identify a culprit, Banna tribesman Andualem Turga says.
“What you need to understand is that, to these people, these babies are like an influenza,” he says. “If it is not stopped, it can kill many people. That is what they believe. … And when things go badly, the people believe this more than ever.”
Another foster mother, Uri Betu, tries not to think about such things. Her faith, she says, is clear on her responsibilities to the two mingi children who live in her home — and any others that need her care.
“For now, we do not worry,” Uri says as she watches her pair of 2-year-old foster daughters, Tariqua and Waiso, play in her yard.
ver time, Uri prays, the Banna will see that the presence of mingi children in their midst is unrelated to the patterns of rain and sun that sometimes cause their crops to fail.
Still, she laments, “there is a long way to go to change the beliefs we have had for so long.”
Children who are accused of witchcraft. Children who are abused. Children who are discriminated, punished, beaten, tortured, mutilated, killed. The following story is again one which makes you shiver, like yesterday’s article. I read the article reproduced below with growing disbelief and disgust.
As with ritualistic crimes, superstition lies at the base of this evil. It saddens to read that these children are not protected by their parents, their families, their communities, not even by the State. The protection of the weak and the poor is an obligation of the State. In the DRC the central and regional authorities fail miserably (webmaster FVDK).
Witchcraft horror sees teen attacked and accused of sorcery by own family
Gabrielle’s life was turned upside down when she found herself at the centre of a chilling witchcraft craze sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Published: February 23, 2020 By: Daily Record UK – Stephen Stewart
Gabrielle is like any other bright teenager. She loves learning new things, chatting with pals and watching TV.
But her life has been turned upside down after she was accused of being a child witch – by her own family.
She is one of thousands of young children and teenagers at the centre of a new, chilling witchcraft craze sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This epidemic – reminiscent of the infamous 16th century European witch hunts – has seen girls as young as four burned to death.
The Sunday Mail recently travelled to the Central African nation with Scottish charity SCIAF to see their work helping female victims of sexual violence.
As revealed in our sister paper The Daily Record, armed factions illegally mine a mineral called Coltan – used in phones and electronic devices – to finance their atrocities, including gang rape and sexual slavery.
These mind-numbing levels of violence have plunged much of the country into the Dark Ages with economic and educational catastrophe triggering a related rise in beliefs in superstition and witchcraft.
Gabrielle is just one of a skyrocketing number of kids facing accusations of sorcery.
The 15-year-old said: “I felt like a princess when I was at school. I was first in my class and I was very proud of that.
“Then things went bad. I remember sleeping and my uncle came home and he started beating me around the head with a piece of wood.
“He beat me and beat me and beat me and then he took me to the hospital because he felt bad about what he had done.
“He felt pity and they told him at the hospital not to beat me because I might die. I do not want to stay at home any more because they plan to kill me or leave me to the bandits.
“People go into churches and say I am a witch. They say that it is because of me that they have death and misery in their family. I don’t know why they say these evil things and abuse me.”
SCIAF is helping to fund various projects in the Bukavu archdiocese to help women victims of sexual violence.
These projects often deal with other vulnerable people such as Gabrielle and other children accused of witchcraft.
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in Africa, according to the UN, but until recently, violent allegations were not usually aimed at children.
There are now alarming numbers of killings of children accused of being “sorcerers” and a growing phenomenon of witchcraft accusations against children and adolescents.
The main power attributed to child witches is the ability to inflict harm from the invisible world to the visible.
This could consist of transmitting an illness to a relative who must be “sacrificed” with fellow witches.
Children are accused of causing diarrhoea, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS, and the fatal consequences that may follow.
They are also often suspected of bringing about general misfortune, poverty, unemployment, failure and bereavement.
Gabrielle’s dad Vincens – who is blind and battles ill health – was even one of her accusers.
Victims are now trying to rebuild their lives through SCIAF and local partners at the Centre Olame Bukavu which seeks to defend the human rights of women and girls.
Sciaf launches the WEE BOX Big Change appeal this week, which will help vulnerable women and girls.
Gabrielle now often feeds her father, 55, and helps him get around. He said: “I know now these were very bad things. When she was forced out of the home, she had to sleep outside.
“I was living in ignorance and believing in ignorant things. As a Christian, I can only ask for forgiveness. My whole family have went to Gabrielle and said, ‘Please forgive us for these bad things we did and the awful superstitions we believed in’.
“I was sad when she went away and lived outside. As a father, there are things you do through ignorance but you then regret your weakness and ignorance. I felt pity and regret and wanted to find her.
“Through this centre, I have seen how I went wrong. Now, if neighbours or someone else say things about my daughter, I don’t accept it as I can’t allow these things.”
Lisette, 14, is another victim of the witchcraft craze. She said: “I don’t like staying with my family. I suffer a lot when I stay there. I don’t feel well at home because they hit me and say bad things about me.
“If I try to do the dishes, they hit me and say, ‘Don’t touch those things because you will kill us’. They make me isolated and force me to stay outside. I want to be a nun to stop these things and make people live better lives.”
Captain Innocent Rutema Baguna is a police officer who has seen the horrors of the epidemic.
Dad-of-10 Innocent, 54, who became a police officer in 1998, said: “I have witnessed horrible things. One of the worst was when I saw a girl who was four and was accused of being a witch.
“She was burned alive as people had accused her and then put her in a house and then set it on fire. I can never forget that. I do my best to protect the children.
“It can be a dangerous job as you have to go to places to interview people where the rebels are very active.
“My work is a matter of sacrifice but I am an orphan, my mother died when I was only six.
“So, now that I am a father, it is very important that I do my best to protect and help the children. Our future depends on it.”
SCIAF’s chief executive Alistair Dutton has just returned from DR Congo.
He said: “The lives of thousands of poor, vulnerable women and girls are being destroyed by sexual violence and exploitation.
“They need our help. SCIAF and our partners are on the ground providing medical care, counselling, legal aid and support so they can recover and rebuild their lives.
“But the need is great. I’d ask everyone to please give what they can so we can do more to help women and girls in need.”
As the Sunday Mail team left, Gabrielle shyly handed us a drawing she had been working on.
Her poignant message reads: “May peace reign around the world but especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Warning: the article reproduced below contains graphic details of the heinous crime committed (webmaster FVDK).
Successful surgery of boy rescued from ritual sacrifice
Published: February 25, 2020 By: Uganda Christian News
Robert Mukwaya suffered severe spinal injuries in 2014, it was thought he would never walk again.
He had been resting in his grandmother’s kitchen in Mukono district when a witch doctor heartlessly dragged him out of the room and stabbed him in the neck, leaving him with a spinal damage and feet permanently facing down.
Robert was left paralysed, but the surgery he had on 20th February, 2020 at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Salt Lake City, USA might change his story.
Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Christian charity organisation founded by Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga issued a statement saying the young man’s surgery was “all success.”
He had a “big operation on his hip, foot and hands” among other areas.
“More prayers for healing,” the statement read. “He has done very well this brave and strong miracle gem! His post operation recovery is longer, but doctors are confident in helping him improve.”
Kyampisi Childcare Ministries helps child sacrifice survivors and their families rebuild their lives and overcome the trauma. The organization has helped over ten victims since its creation in 2009.
In an update shared online, Ms Anne Mitchell who interacted with Robert in USA before his Thursday surgery had this to say:
“Robert was unfortunately cut in his neck by a witch doctor. He was left with many issues especially in walking and using his arms. He was left a partial quadriplegic. Hopefully his surgery can allow him to walk and move much better. He will need considerable rehabilitation, but Robert is a wonderful resilient boy. Praying for the best outcome possible.”
Since 2014 Robert has undergone a series of operations, all aimed at seeing him walk again. In 2017, he has surgery performed at the John Hunter Hospital in Australia.
“On that day I left him alone at home and went to the church to pray, when I came back I found him laying on a mat in a pool of blood,” Robert’s grand mother, Yowani Nakiwala told Transterra Media earlier. “His neck was almost falling off, the doctors worked on him and dressed him with a collar around his neck.”
Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga told Transterra Media: “The condition we find them is quite sad, those that die, we find their bodies completely a part – they cut the head and drain the blood – They can cut the stomach and take the organs out of their bodies. They are shocking incidences, shocking pictures. Those that survive need huge medical attention.”
“Children are sacrifice because there is a growing belief that when you sacrifice a child, you get wealth, you get protection, you get healing and this belief which is a lie has spread all over the country and there has not been a tiger reaction from the Government or from people concerned to be able to educate masses that you don’t have to kill a child to get wealth or you don’t have to kill a child to get protection. Wealth comes from hard work, protection comes from God and because people are desperately poor and desperately in need of wealth issues, there is a witch-doctor in the community who claims to bring healing, to bring joy and happiness and blessings – the people go to that person and they are lied and they are sent for body parts of children,” Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga said.
Police have questioned several ‘persons of interest’ in connection with the dead 9-year old, named Lee Arthur, but have not arrested a suspect. This automatically leads to rumors of a cover-up in Liberia, where ordinary people are used to the impunity of ‘big shots’, as highly placed citizens are called, usually politicians or high ranking civil servants and law makers.
There are multiple reasons to remain vigilant and follow this case closely. The link between elections and ritual killings needs to be broken. In fact, the phenomenon of ritualistic murders should be banished from Liberia and become part of its history. After all, its 2020! (webmaster FVDK).
Published: February 6, 2020 By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers
SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Despite efforts being exerted by police in Nimba to identify the murderer of Lee Arthur, a nine-year-old boy who was likely a victim of a ritualistic killing in late January this year, no suspect has yet been arrested.
A police source, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said those who were invited by the police in Bahn as persons of interest in the murder case have all been signed for by stakeholders in Lorplay and released to the community because of the lack of evidence linking them to the murder.
On Jan. 23, the boy was found dead in a hideout in Sahn Village in Nimba’s sixth district with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts, including his vocal cord. His arms were also skinned. The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts are an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.
Following police arrival on the crime scene, several persons were invited for questioning to determine whether they were linked to the murder. However, the police source has told The Bush Chicken that, after a thorough investigation of those individuals, they were released.
“They could still be invited at a later time, should the police find sufficient evidence enough to link any one of them,” the source said. “So they are going about their normal activities back home as the police try to find the perpetrators of such an ugly act.”
The source further noted that the community has been cooperative with the police during the investigation.
Meanwhile, following examination of the child’s body by police, medical personnel, and the coroners, he has been buried.
The source noted that because police in the area lacked the capacity to preserve the body as the investigation continues, they turned the corpse over to family members for burial.
Meanwhile, police in Nimba have not yet made any official statement about the case, as the investigation continues.
The recent outcry of the Sunyani traditional authorities leads to mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am glad with their protest against the rituals killings that plague the Brong Ahafo Region and terrorize the people of Sunyani and its environs. However, even though the declaration of war against ritual killers was wrapped in ritual and traditional rites invoking the powers of the gods and ancestors, it is also a token of mistrust in official local and regional security forces who fail to reassure the population by arresting and prosecuting the alleged perpetrators preventing further heinous ritualistic acts, in short, to maintain the rule of law. On the other hand, it is shameful and painful realizing that ritualistic killings and murders still take place on such a large scale that public demonstration against these criminal practices is warranted. Let’s hope that the traditional authorities thus contribute to tipping the scale and I wish from the bottom of my heart that their demonstration will act as a wake-up call for the official Ghanian authorities to make the region a safe heaven for all of its people, be it children, adults or elderly people (webmaster FVDK).
Sunyani traditional authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers Published: February 5, 2020 By: Christopher Tetteh – GNA
Sometimes even I am surprised, astonished, flabbergasted. I read about ritualistic killings, witchcraft and superstition nearly every day, but what I just read is mind-boggling.
Read below what Zambia’s MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba recently said (webmaster FVDK).
Zambia can be shipwrecked, Nevers warns pastors Published: February 1, 2020 By: The Mast (Zambia) – Tobias Phiri
RITUAL killings have always happened in Zambia towards elections, says MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba.
And Mumba says very few politicians operate without the use of charms, black magic.
He says he “knew the day would come when the Church’s relevance was going to be exaggerated because once these issues begin and people begin to kill for blood that they get into power or remain in power then it goes beyond politics. It’s now the spirit world as much as you [pastors] do and if you do not provide the necessary answers, Zambia can be ship wrecked.”
Speaking during a pastors’ conference in Lusaka’s Chawama township on Thursday, Mumba said it was the Church’s responsibility to pray for the country.
“We have issues going on in Chingola right now, people are being killed, sacrifice for blood and it is true. The Lord spoke to me many years ago that as we come close to any election in this country, those aspiring for power are going to be required to provide amounts of blood in order for them to win their elections. This is not a secret, it’s not [only] happening today, it happens always. Only that it has not been highlighted but I want you to understand that there is witchcraft in politics. Ever since I joined politics what I found is amazing,” he said.
“Very few [politicians] walk free. What they have wrapped around their waists, around their necks and their fingers, you may think its mere clothing but it’s what they use to survive and to win elections. That is why I say when the Church moves in and these things start falling off that is when Zambia shall be saved.”
And commenting on Nigerian prophet Andrew Ejimandu popularly known as Seer 1, Mumba asked Zambians to remain calm as nothing would happen. He urged the people to pray for their leaders.
“What is happening in our country should not scare anybody, its nothing. Zambia is firm on our Christian principles. Someone may ask, ‘what about what Seer is saying?’ None of that moves us, the only people who should be concerned are those who are seeking ‘power’ from him,” Mumba said.
“Pray for leaders whether in opposition or in government. Don’t say you can’t pray for that president because you don’t love him, pray because you love the Word of God [and] that you are the defender of Zambia. If you don’t pray for that president he will make a decision tomorrow that is going to make your children die along the way. I take time to pray for President [Edgar] Lungu myself as often as I can because the bible commands so – ‘pray for those in authority’.”
Mumba said: “If you turn to social media, you will be amazed by the intensity of debate on spiritual matters that affect our country today”.
“I knew the day would come when the Church’s relevance was going to be exaggerated because once these issues begin and people begin to kill for blood that they get into power or remain in power then it goes beyond politics. It’s now the spirit world as much as you [pastors] do and if you do not provide the necessary answers, Zambia can be ship wrecked,” he warned.
Mumba said the MMD under his leadership was going to turn around fortunes of the country.
“There are two forces that rule in every nation, the physical and the spiritual. I am not just in politics for political power, I am a double sim which is extremely dangerous. That is why spirits will fight me more than any other politician because I’m saying let us change the atmosphere. The atmosphere of Zambia must be changed and we are going to do it in Jesus’ name,” said Mumba.
It is not the first time that the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi speaks out against ritual killings in his country, disapproving and criticizing politicians and traditional rulers. See e.g. my August 21, 2019 posting entitled ‘Nigeria: Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings, corruption’. Recently, he again raised his voice. Read below what he said. The Oluwo is to be commended for his frankness and courage. I sincerely hope that he will be heard. Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country. It ranks in the top 5 of African countries where ritualistic murders are committed on a regular basis.
‘Operation Amotekun’ is the codename for the establishment of the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN). Recently, the Federal Government and the six governors of the region (Western Nigeria) reached agreement on the establishment of the WNSN, see: ‘Amotekun: Buhari, Osinbajo’s intervention smoothens rough edges’, published on January 29, 2020 by Muritala Ayinla in the New Telegraph, Nigeria (see below). (webmaster FVDK).
Amotekun should fight ritual killings, ‘traditional corruption’—Oluwo Published: January 29, 2020 By: Daily Trust, Nigeria
The Oluwo of Iwoland Oba, (Dr.) Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, on Wednesday called on Yoruba stakeholders to use the regional security outfot codenamed Amotekun to checkmate what he called the incessant traditional corruption and ritual killings.
The royal father said politicians should be held responsible for trading their game with kidnapping.
In a statement by his press secretary, Alli Ibraheem, Oluwo said: “Amotekun as an institution should be made to fight traditional corruption most especially ritual killings consuming our children’s blood daily. There is blood of innocent people in the street. It is a failure on the part of government, traditional institution and other stakeholders that no severe legislation is enacted to punish ritual killers and their accomplice”
“I’m not condemning Amotekun, but better direction of job specification should be streamlined. It is disheartening we misplaced our priority. Tell me a day you don’t read in the newspapers or hear on radio of innocent boys and girls being killed by ritual killers with part(s) removed?
“I want to charge all the stakeholders to streamline the activities of Amotekun to prioritize checkmating of ritual killings to protect innocent lives and enact death penalty for any culprit caught killing human for rituals. I’m not happy with ritual killers. They are not human. Government should help us by enacting a law against ritual killers.
It must stop. Human are not animals that you slaughter, killed and dismembered. It is an aberration. Such is never part of any culture. We should empower Amotekun to challenge such barbaric act.
“Additionally, to fight traditional corruption, we need agents of unquestionable characters and not accomplice of ritual killings. We need a transparent institution that will lead us out of daily killing of our children for money, promotion, popularity etc”
Lack of education and superstition go hand in hand. Compliments for the LNP and the Gender Ministry for this timely action! In 2007 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made primary school education compulsory and free (by the way, not for the first time in Liberia’s history…), what happened to the law? (webmaster FVDK)
Published: January 17, 2020 By: The Bush Chicken, Sualeh Ziamo
GANTA, Nimba – The Liberia National Police and authorities of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection have rescued 29 children who were taken to a church for deliverance after being accused of practicing witchcraft.
The Gender Ministry’s supervisor assigned in Nimba, Victor Zeegban, told The Bush Chicken that the children were taken to the Fire for Fire Deliverance Church in Ganta for spiritual cleansing, on suspicion that they were involved in witchcraft activities.
Zeegban said his office had received a tip from community dwellers about the kids being mistreated at the center and abandoned by relatives who took them there.
“After receiving the tipoff, we dispatched our social workers to the church to see for themselves and they came back and reported to us that the kids were actually abandoned by their parents and guardians,” he said.
“Through our fact-finding visits, we even got to know that some of the kids were taken there at the age of one and have spent over three years in the church’s yard.”
He also confirmed that the children were being mistreated and found in appalling conditions, with no access to medication when they fell sick. According to him, one of the children died in May last year.
“I saw with my own eyes one of the children’s hands [being] tied with [a] rope on grounds that he was possessed [by] a strong spirit from the dark world,” Zeegban explained.
He also disclosed that the Gender Ministry was relocating the children to a safe home in Sanniquellie, where they will remain until they are possibly reunited with their families. Zeegban assured that the children would be supported by partners of the ministry.
Meanwhile, the commander of the police’s Women and Children Protection Section in Ganta, Jenkins Mangou, has praised members of the community for the important role they played in the children’s rescue.