Published: May 11, 2019 By: The Economist – Lilongwe
His fists clenched on the tabletop, Bon Kalindo, an opposition mp, leans forward conspiratorially to list the magical properties of albino body parts. Place the fibula of one under a bottle of Coke and it will fizz manically, until the top pops off. Pass it in front of a torch and the light will go out. Most handily of all, a bone correctly inserted into a machine made by a reputable witch doctor will cause large amounts of cash to fly out; it’s the magnetic liquid albinos have in their bones, you understand. Sensing scepticism, Mr Kalindo brushes it aside. You are not from here, he says.
For some in Malawi, a belief in the numinous runs deep. Medicine men post flyers boasting of potions and charms to neuter rivals, punish the unfaithful or rekindle lost ardour. Such superstition is not uncommon in much of the world. But in Malawi, it can carry dark undertones. The most potent spells require ritual human sacrifice, according to a local journalist who has approached witch doctors under cover. Murders are not uncommon. Women and children are killed for their breasts and genitals. Albinos, who number no more than 10,000 in Malawi, are said to carry the most powerful magic and are thus most at risk.
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The killings, kidnappings, and physical attacks against people with albinism continued, despite government efforts to stop the violence, including several arrests. In Mozambique and some neighboring countries, people with albinism are hunted for their body parts, which are used for witchcraft.
In March 2017, the United Nations independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, told the UN Human Rights Council that the situation of people with albinism in Mozambique “requires urgent and immediate attention.” She estimated that more than 100 attacks against people with albinism had occurred in Mozambique since 2014. Many of the victims are children. In September 2017, according to the police, a 17-year-old boy with albinism was killed and his brain removed, in Tete province. Four months earlier, police uncovered an attempt by two parents to sell their child with albinism in the same province. In June, the Malawian press reported that a 12-year-old Malawian boy with albinism had been killed in Mozambique, and police had arrested five people allegedly connected with the crime.
There are so many reports on ritualistic killings in Liberia, one should almost lose track. Below is another article, dating from 2005, on ritualistic murders in Maryland County, perhaps the most notorious region of Liberia as far as ritual murders are concerned. (webmaster FVDK)
Some panic-stricken inhabitants of the southeastern county of Maryland, mainly in Harper city, over the weekend took the law into their hands when they staged a violent protest over the wave of ritualistic killings which has re-surfaced in the area.
The county is noted for ritualistic killings, despite serious actions taken over the years by the Liberian government – by putting perpetrators to death by hanging while giving others lengthy prison sentences.
According to latest report emerging from the county, hundreds of angry residents came out to protest the alleged failure of the appropriate security apparatus to curtail the wave of ritualistic killings in the county.
During the violence demonstration staged by the youth of the county, several persons were victimized while several business houses and private homes were reportedly attacked and looted by the mobs. Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Kabineh Ja’neh told journalists in Monrovia this week that the mobs attacked the National Police Headquarters on Green Street in Harper and released several prisoners sentenced for various crimes.
The Justice Minister explained further that the mobs ransacked the Harper Police headquarters and flogged two detainees severely. The two victims, according to minister, have been accused of being involved in the ritualistic killing in the county.
In order to restore calm in the area, the transitional government has imposed a dust to dawn curfew in the county, while at the same time the government has instituted a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the mob action.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein told journalists in Monrovia that the UN Mission in Liberia is carefully studying the situation in the county.
According to the UN diplomat, UN peacekeepers are on standby to move into the county should the situation continue in an effort to help ensure the safety and security of the people of Maryland. Warning the residents to remain in doors during he curfew which run from 6: PM to 6:AM daily, ambassador Klein said UNMIL will provide full security for the people of the county.
The situation in the past led to severe punishment administered against convicted sons and daughters of the county, with some of them being publicly hanged to death, while others were given long prison sentences. Among those hanged were the former Superintendent of the County, James Anderson, Jr., Allen Yancy, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Oldman Barclay and Madam Wreh Tarnyonoh, just to name few. They were hanged on 17th February 1979 during the regime of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. after a guilty verdict was brought down against them for killing a popular Kru traditional singer Moses Tweh.
Similar situation re-emerged in 1986 and took away the lives of two little kids in the county. Those connected to the act include former NDPL county chairman, David Clark, Alfred Davies, Jasper Bedell, Gbason Toe and one Gardner. They were arrested and brought to Monrovia where they were sentenced to prolong detention while under going investigation.
Another 200 persons were round-up by the former Superintendent of the county now Minister of Internal affairs, Minister H. Dan Morais for the mysterious death of Lt. Alphonso Chalde, former employee of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
KAKUMA, Kenya, June 18 (Xinhua) — Suspected Ethiopian warriors killed two Kenyans and wounded 14 others on Wednesday night in a ritual killing barely a fortnight when deadly clashes between Merrile and Turkana tribesmen killed dozens others along the common frontier.
Survivors and officials said on Thursday that hundreds of Merrile youths aged between 13 and 18 are queued for a circumcision ritual between this month and August and cultural dictates that they exhibit braveness by killing an enemy before being circumcised.
Once they kill, they chop off private parts and other organs oftheir victims, including ears, noses and toes, which they carry away and present as a sign of bravery.
And on Wednesday night, Merrile initiates from Namurupus area, Southern Zone travelled over 40 km inside Kenya and indiscriminately fired at a dancing crowd during Wednesday night attack at Kokuro village.
“The Turkana villagers were dancing ‘Edunga’ (a respected and popular traditional dance) when the intruders attacked at 23:00 (2000 GMT) and opened fire killing two and injured several others,” said JacK Obuo, the Turkana North District Commissioner.
The villagers were caught off guard as they were busy jumped up and danced before they could retire to bed.
The Edunga dance purposely is used as an occasion for men to lobby and hunt for women to marry and usually is conducted at night due to high heat during the day.
“We were about 200 people busy dancing and everybody was happy with the occasion when the gun shots were heard from all directions. But I thank God I’m that I’m alive,” narrated a survivor Ekiru Lokale recuperating from bullet wounds at Lodwar District Hospital.
Lokale said the assailants were repulsed when local Police reservists (home guards) were alerted and challenged them in a gunbattle.
The assailants were unable to chop off their victim’s organs which they must present no casualty was reported from the attackers’ side during the attack that last few minutes.
“They Merrile treked over 40 km inside Kenya and ambushed the villagers intentionally to kill and many could have died were not the immediate response from the police reserve,” added the DC.
Government official and rescue workers evacuated the injured people to Lodwar hospital nearly 400 km away from the attacked remote village.
Obuo could not confirm the number of the attackers but villagers put at 50 youthful boys who were armed with assault rifles.
The official said home guards have been supplied with enough ammunition to protect the villagers from ritual attacks.
Nearly 35 people were killed a fortnight ago in revenge fighting between the two communities over cattle raids and fishing row.
The clashes were elicited with theft claims of fishing nets by the Turkana fishermen at River Omo and Lake Turkana delta.
Cattle raids and row over fishing territories are common at Todonyang and hostilities have continued to hamper fishing activity, a major source for living for the two tribes.
Published: September 21, 2007 By: John Zodzi – Reuters
LOME (Reuters) – Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month.
The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers.
The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power.
Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighboring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy.
Togo holds legislative elections on October 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea.
In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month’s polls.
“Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they’re carrying out sacrifices,” said Joel Attigan, a geography student.
Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement.
“There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals,” said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome.
Togo’s media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin.
“We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things,” the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future.
The police have been cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis.
But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation.
The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.
Published: February 3, 2019 By: Godfrey Kahango @TheCitizenTz email@example.com
Njombe. Another child, Rachael Malekela was found dead on Friday night at Matembwe Village in Njombe District as the spate of reported ‘ritual’ could killings and appearances continues to rock the area. More below.
Published: January 28, 2019 By: Bukola Adebayo – CNN
Ten children kidnapped in Tanzania have been found dead with their body parts mutilated, authorities told CNN on Monday.
Tanzania’s deputy health minister Faustine Ndugulile said all 10 children had been missing since December in Njombe district, southwest Tanzania. Their bodies were discovered last week after police launched a search operation in the area.
“So far, we have found 10 bodies, and most of their private parts and teeth had been removed,” Ndugulile said. “These murders are linked to witchcraft practices because that is the trend for such crimes, where herbalists ask people to get these human parts for money rituals,” he added. The children, some as young as seven, were kidnapped from their homes last month.
Many children have been reported missing by their parents in the community since December, according to Ndugulile, who said the health ministry was also investigating the wave of killings. “We want to identify the perpetrators, but our focus is to educate the traditional practitioners in the area quickly and those in surrounding communities on the need to stop these acts,” Ndugulile told CNN.
The Deputy health minister told CNN that these killings are not linked albino ritual murders which are prevalent in Tanzania and other parts of east Africa. “These murders are not linked to albino killings,” he said. “But it is very sad because they are children and they don’t deserve to be used like this,” Ndugulile said.
Tanzania has one of the highest rates of albinism in the world, at one in 1,500 people.
Despite its prevalence, there’s still a lack of education and tolerance and albinos are regularly killed for their bones and organs, which are sold to witch doctors for “charms and magical potions”, according to Amnesty International.
Published: January 15, 2019 at 10:59 EAT By: Isaiah Gwengi
Police in Bondo on Sunday recovered the body of a seven-year-old boy who had been missing for two days.
The body of Geoffrey Otieno was found dumped in a bush at Pap-Komenya, less than a kilometre from Usenge town.
Usenge assistant chief Manase Osuri said police were informed of the body’s whereabouts after children who had noticed foul smell coming from the bush found it.
“The body was moved to Bondo sub-county hospital mortuary after the family identified it,” said Mr Osuri.
The administrator, who termed the incident shocking, said police were investigating the boy’s killing.
“From what we have gathered, the boy could have been murdered elsewhere and his body dumped in the bush. We also suspect it could be a case of ritual killing, as the boy’s genitals have been chopped off,” said Osuri.
He urged parents to monitor movements of their children to prevent such incidences.
“This shows there are criminals among us. We must be very careful, especially those who send their children to school without escorting them,” said Osuri.
Otieno, a Standard One pupil, was playing with other children when he allegedly went missing.
His mother, Molly Ouma, said they searched for him in the entire estate but did not find him.
“I became suspicious when my son did not return home by 7pm. After searching for him for more than four hours, I decided to report his disappearance to the police,” said Ms Ouma.
Otieno’s killing rekindled memories of suspected ritual killings.
Five years ago, a 20-year-old man was killed and his mutilated body found dumped in a bush at Sanda village, sparking protests.
Bondo OCPD Harriet Kinya said they had launched investigations into the matter. The officer said they would not rest until they apprehend those behind Otieno’s killing.
The year 2018 ended badly for a 10-year old boy in Ogooué-Lolo province in Gabon. Ravel Dinga was reported missing at Christmas. His parents had been desperately looking for him. On January 3, 2019 a man who was collecting fruits in the woods nearby Ravel’s home-town Koula-Moutou found his dead body, mutilated. The perpetrators of this horrible act had left the body of Ravel in a shallow pool of water in an attempt to make the murder look like a drowning. When the victim was found, his ears, eyes, tongue and penis were missing. (…..)
The original article, in French, contains many more details which I have left out here. I also omitted a very graphic picture of the deceased. Readers are hereby warned that the original article – following the link (‘Source) below – does contain this gruesome picture. (webmaster FVDK)
Gabon: un adolescent sacrifié à Koula-Moutou
Published: January 4, 2019 By: Matin d’Afrique / Jonas Moulenda
Vision d’horreur jeudi dans une forêt près du chef-lieu de la province de l’Ogooué-Lolo (sud-est du Gabon). Le corps d’un garçon de 10 ans y a été retrouvé par un homme qui se rendait en brousse pour y chercher des fruits.
Le petit Raven Diba, 10 ans, était recherché par ses parents depuis plus d’une semaine. Il avait disparu du domicile familial à Koula-Moutou en fête de Noël. Son corps a été retrouvé dans une forêt environnante jeudi par un homme qui se rendait dans en brousse pour y chercher des fruits.
L’auteur de l’effroyable découverte a aussitôt rebroussé chemin pour aller alerter les autorités judiciaires. Dès la première alerte, l’antenne provinciale de la Police judiciaire (PJ) et la brigade de gendarmerie se sont transportées sur les lieux. Les agents n’ont fait que constater la présence macabre.
Le corps était en décubitus ventral, trempé dans une flaque d’eau non profonde. Lorsque le macchabée a été repêché, les enquêteurs ont découvert des signes de mutilation. Selon une source proche de l’enquête, l’adolescent aurait été délesté de certaines parties corporelles, à savoir les oreilles, la langue, les yeux, le sexe, etc.
Le corps de l’adolescent a été jeté dans une flaque d’eau pour simuler une noyade (la photo du corps a été jugée trop terrible pour inclure ici, mais – AVERTISSEMENT – elle se trouve dans l’article original – FVDK).
Vraisemblablement, il a été supplicié lors d’un rituel satanique. D’après une source médicale, le corps présentait de traces de violence jusqu’à la partie anale. Ce qui crédibilise la thèse d’un viol satanique, avant sa douloureuse mise à mort par ses bourreaux.
A en croire nos sources, la découverte du corps du petit Raven Diba a été précédée d’intenses recherches menées par ses parents et les autorités judiciaires locales. Tous les espaces avaient été ratissés, fors le bois théâtre de la macabre découverte. Mais les enquêteurs se perdaient sur les traces du petit garçon.
Les assassinats avec prélèvement d’organes sont souvent commandités par des cadres du coin
Devant ce qui apparaissait comme un mystère, a rapporté une source, la famille du petit Diba a mis à contribution des voyants qui font la réputation de la région. Ces sommités spirituelles avaient révélé que l’enfant était gardé en captivité dans une maison d’un riverain, en attendant sa mise à mort programmée.
A la suite de ces révélations, les proches du disparu ont proposé la fouille de toutes les maisons environnantes. Mais un auxiliaire de l’administration, visiblement gêné aux entournures, s’y est farouchement opposé. « Le chef du quartier s’est curieusement opposé à cette option. Or, on pouvait sauver cet enfant si on avait fouillé toutes les maisons du quartier », a déploré une source proche du dossier.
C’est probablement après le scabreux sacrifice humain que le corps de la victime a été jeté dans une flaque d’eau située dans une forêt environnante pour simuler une mort accidentelle. Mais cette thèse ne semble pas convaincre la famille de l’adolescent et les enquêteurs, le cours d’eau théâtre de la macabre découverte n’étant pas profond. Il s’agit manifestement d’un sac d’embrouilles.
Koula-Moutou et d’autres localités de l’Ogooué-Lolo sont des terreaux des assassinats avec prélèvement d’organes, pompeusement appelés crimes rituels. Les cadres de la localité, en quête de promotion politique ou de maintien à des postes juteux, passent souvent des commandes d’organes depuis leurs bureaux feutrés. Malgré les dénonciations faites par des lampistes, les commanditaires de ces crimes effroyables ne sont jamais inquiétés par la justice.
This tribute to Salif Keita is long overdue. I first met this great Malian musician in Ségou, a regional capital city in south-central Mali in the early 1980s. With a big band of more than 20 musicians, Salif Keita performed in the open air court of a second-rate hotel in the outskirts of this modest city. It was a hot, humid Saturday night in August, 1984. We were in the middle of the rainy season. I was struck by the versatility of his music: African, Caribbean, Latin American, jazzy. He captivated the audience, all music lovers from Mali. I was the only white person in the crowd. From that day on, I was a passionate fan of this allround musician and singer.
I was also very much impressed by Salif Keita’s modesty. Greeting ceremonies in Mali are complicated and lengthy. One day, in the late 1980s, I was standing next to the reception desk in the lobby of (then) one of Mali’s most luxurious hotels – Hotel de l’Amitié in Bamako, the country’s capital – waiting for an appointment who was late. It was around 7:30 a.m. I saw Salif Keita stepping out of the elevator, walking towards the reception desk and greeting everyone behind the desk . When he was done he continued greeting the by-standers, including me. He took his time, he greeted everybody as if they were his brothers and sisters. Maybe they were, because in Mali many people are related – somehow, somewhere.
The third time I came face to face with Salif Keita was at the Africa festival in Hertme, the Netherlands, in 2013. Salif had become a middle-aged gentleman in his sixties, slightly corpulent, but his music was as brilliant as ever!
Salif Keita’s star will continue to shine, also after this retirement. As a person with albinism he has realized one of the most envied goals one can imagine. Millions have enjoyed his music – and still do. He is world famous. In the future he will continue to raise his voice against the discrimination of people living with albinism, against the murder and mutilation of innocent people, men, women, children, even babies who are being victimized because of their albinism. His last public performance was at a free concert on November 17 in Fana, in Mali, dedicated to the memory of Ramata Diarra, a five-year-old girl with albinism who was brutally murdered then mutilated in a ritual killing in May of this year. It will certainly not be the last time we’ve heard of Salif Keita. His struggle is our struggle. A luta continua! (webmaster FVDK)
Salif Keita retires, his Golden Voice falls silent
The great Malian musician Salif Keita, dubbed the “Golden Voice of Africa,” has announced his retirement from performing.
The 69-year-old Keita made the announcement after the release of, supposedly, the last album of his storied career. Titled Another White, it is a cry for the protection of people with albinism, a cause he has championed all his life.
Born into a local royal house, Keita was rejected by his family because of his albinism, considered either a sign of bad luck in many African cultures – or mysterious power, which drives the ritual killing of people with albinism.
In East Africa, Tanzania and Burundi are notoriously dangerous places to be a person with albinism.
Appropriately, Keita gave what could be his last major public performance at a free concert on November 17 in the town of Fana, in Mali, dedicated to the memory of Ramata Diarra, a five-year-old boy living with albinism who brutally murdered then mutilated in a ritual killing early in the year.
I am one of those Africans for whom Keita offered one of the defining sounds of our youthful years. There is something unique about Keita’s generation of musicians, along with other luminaries like Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, and Guinea’s Mory Kante, and on the more youthful end, Senegal’s Youssou N’dour, to name a few.
First, their music isn’t always overtly political, though it is. They sing in their native tongues, and draw heavily from folk imagery, local culture, history, and communal stories.
Probably as a result of that, they function like mediums, so bring a great ease to their art. It is almost annoying.
Some years ago, at an Africa arts festival in Copenhagen, over the course of a week I watched performances by Keita, N’dour, and Malian kora player Toumani Diabate one after another.
They mesmerised the crowds but Keita and Diabate especially barely broke a sweat. It was as if they could have still have pulled it off even if they were half asleep.
That was in stark contrast to watching the performances of Hugh Masekela or Fela Kuti, some of the most political musicians to have come out of Africa.
They laid into their music and its politics with incredible energy and fury that left you giddy with revolutionary spirit. Going to the street to protest oppression or the bush to join the rebellion, seemed to be the next logical step.
But it’s in that contrast that the music of Keita and others in his musical tribe reveals their relationship to the broader African liberation experience.
In the Cold War era, when music often ran into ideological walls, and the troubled 1970s and 1980s in Africa, Masekela and Kuti played to an internationalist solidarity crowd that had bought into the anti-apartheid and anti-imperialist movements, were angry at the World Order, and wanted to overthrow it.
People like Keita won over the fence-sitters, the ignorant, the soccer moms, and people of goodwill. They didn’t fit the stereotype of flame-throwing radicals, and thus lowered the cost of embracing progressive African causes in a polarised world.
Closer home, The Man, Congolese great Franco Luambo Makiadi, had a similar effortless genius.
One of the most accomplished musicians Africa will ever produce, on stage his massive figure seemed a strangely reluctant presence – until he opened his mouth and moved his guitar fingers.
Charles Onyango-Obbo is publisher of data visualiser Africapaedia and Rogue Chiefs. Twitter@cobbo3