Liberia: growing anxiety over ritual killings and the political fallout from the recent surge in ritualistic murders

Liberia is again in the grip of ritualistic murders. An alarming wave of insecurity terrorizes the population. Reportedly, secret and ritualistic murders are being committed. The Liberia National Police is pressed by the public to do more. President Weah is being asked to address the nation and speak out against these heinous crimes, which are far from uncommon in Liberia.

In the past, ambitious politicians have been found involved in ritualistic activities including murder. The presidential elections of 2023 are still far away but politicians and their supporters are already preparing for a fierce election campaign. Moreover, on November 16 of this year, by-elections will be held in Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties to fill the vacancies in the House of Representatives following the election of Representatives in the Senate in December 2020.  

The combined opposition – the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) including the ANC, ALP, UP and the LP – has to come to grips with the internal battle for a unique, common presidential candidate for the 2023 elections if it wants to defat the incumbent president.  However, its political leaders: ANC leader Alexander Cummings, the UP candidate and former Vice President Joseph Boakai, ALP’s Benoni Urey and Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, are not on the same line when it comes to a common candidate.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change is also far from homogeneous. The coalition is composed of Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change plus the National Patriotic Party of warlord-turned-into-president Charles Taylor, now led by one of his ex-wives, Jewel Howard Taylor, currently Vice President in the Weah Administration, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of the corrupt and for this reason disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler. It is a public secret that relations between the Present and his Vice President are far from harmonious.

The foregoing does not pretend to provide an answer to the question why there’s currently a surge in ritualistic killings in Liberia – assuming that reports of a surge in ritual murders are not unfounded. Moreover, as one newspaper commented, ‘There is speculation that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.’ 

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Patrick Sudue, has labelled the reports on ritualistic murders as fake news, accusing the opposition of tarnishing the good reputation of the Weah Administration. In sharp contrast, however, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor publicly disagreed with him, pleading for an end to the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

Be that as it may, Liberia’s human rights reputation, which wasn’t that good anyway, is being further damaged by these reports of ritualistic and secret killings whereas critics  of president Weah who accuse him of inaction will be more convinced than ever that he is not the right man in the right place. 

As an observer of Liberian politics since the 1970s I’m afraid that this is not the end of the story…

To be continued (webmaster FVDK).

Public anxiety over ritual killings increases; President Weah must address the nation and speak out on the scourge of ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Editorial Board, Front Page Africa, Liberia 

THE SPATE OF KILLINGS for ritual purposes is gradually assuming an alarming rate in Liberia with little or no effort by government of President George Weah to checkmate the trend.

OFFICIAL STATISTICS indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. 

THERE IS SPECULATION that the majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.

ONE WOULD HAVE expected such acts to be a thing of the past following decades of civil war in Liberia which claimed the lives of over 150, 000 people, and made hundreds of thousands became refugees throughout the region. 

BUT SADLY murdering people to appease the deities appears to be on the increase in Liberia.

THESE RITUALISTS hide under different covers to get their victims. For some, they kidnap their victims from various points, while others who pretend to be commercial drivers, pick unsuspecting commuters at bus-stop only to take them to their slaughter slabs to carry out what they know how to do best.

RECENTLY, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A DAY EARLIER, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, the perpetrators have not been arrested.

GIVEN THE RATE of increase of ritual killings in Liberia, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. 

ALSO, PEOPLE living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.

IT IS DISHEARTENING to point out that as developed countries invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, Liberia is still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.

IT’S TIME the government of President Weah play a more active role in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?

POVERTY AND ECONOMIC hardship in the country are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.

ANOTHER REASON for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. 

WE SHOULD also consider poverty and unemployment as significant risk factors. If Liberians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry and human killings for ritual.

THE HIGH INCIDENCE of serial ritual killings in Liberia demands an urgent action at the level of the government of President Weah.

TO CURB THE INCREASE in ritual killings, government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing.

RECORD OF SUCCESSFUL prosecution of ritualists is not in the public domain. When there are no consequences for deviant behavior, it is incentivized.

THE CONSCIENCE of Liberians are being troubled by reports of recent ritual murders including that of  those whose body parts were ripped out for ritual purposes.

LIBERIANS SEEM to be rapidly losing faith in the ability of President Weah and his government to detect and punish ritual killers, and it’s time President Weah act to address the scourge in ritualistic activities in Liberia.

THE SOONER, the better..

Source: President Weah Must Address the Scourge of Ritualistic Killings in Liberia

and:

A heartbreaking plea to political parties, religious and civil society leaders

Just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives?

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Staff Editor – The Daily Observer, Liberia

This is a plea to Civil Society, Religious Leaders and political parties, especially the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), to act in concert and speak with one voice on the deteriorating security situation in the country. Every God-sent day is replete with accounts of mysterious and brutal killing of peaceful citizens apparently for ritualistic purposes.

This is also a plea to civil society and their respective organizations to become seized of the current situation and also speak with one voice on the current situation. From all indications, this government is failing to protect the people and this does not augur well for peace and national security.

We say this because there is an inherent danger in allowing things to deteriorate to the point where ordinary citizens begin to take action to protect themselves from harm. Judging from reports, it appears that females are being particularly targeted but in the face of such assaults against our women, especially, not a word has been heard from the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) and the same goes for other women groups.

Religious leaders, Muslim as well as Christian, etc., have also failed to take up the issue as a matter of priority concern. Innocent children of God are being slaughtered like animals, but the voices of our religious leaders have either been silent or at best feeble. Just where are our so-called men of God in the face of such brutal onslaught against the children of God, one is tempted to ask.

More importantly, just where is our President and why has he maintained such a conspicuous silence in the face of mounting cries of the people craving the intervention of the state to protect their lives? The Police have not proved very helpful in the eyes of the public. 

Such displayed ineptitude by the Liberia National Police (LNP) in addressing urgent security concerns of the people is leaving most people with the impression that the rise in ritualistic killings and other forms of violence is linked to top officials of this government. In their view, this is why such killings continue to happen despite massive public outcry.

In such situations, opposition political parties, religious leaders and civil society organizations are usually looked up to for help and guidance. But to the disappointment of the public, they also seem to appear helpless to deal with the situation. Whether their inaction is borne out of fear and trepidation, or out of a desire to ingratiate themselves into the good favors of the President, remains unclear.

For now, it is basically the media which has inadvertently found itself thrust into the fore to speak out on behalf of a seemingly helpless people. Their efforts are indeed commendable but grossly insufficient without the active support of civil society, including political parties and religious organizations. They cannot afford to wait until things run out of hand before they can muster the courage to step up to the plate.

For the past few weeks, the media has been awash with reports of the ongoing feud within the CPP, which has been touted as the last bastion capable of restoring hope of Liberians for sustainable peace and giving the people some respite from the suffering and hardships being experienced under the leadership of the Coalition for Democratic Change.

This coalition composed of the National Patriotic Party of disgraced and imprisoned war convict Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of disgraced former House Speaker Alex Tyler, was hailed by its supporters as the answer to Liberia’s problems, following President Weah’s selection of Charles Taylor’s ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as Vice President. 

Under the rule of her ex-husband Taylor, Liberia became a pariah state largely as a result of runaway corruption and the massive and egregious human rights abuses committed under his watch by his security forces.

But those very vices that eventually led to Taylor’s disgraceful exit from power and subsequent trial and conviction on war crimes, appear to have now taken center-stage under the current ruling Coalition. In the face of this, civil society, including political parties especially the CPP, appear to have their attention fixed elsewhere. The CPP, for example, finds itself locked in a bitter and seemingly unending internecine feud.

Whether ANC leader Alexander Cummings and UP leader and former Vice President Joseph Boakai will find common ground on the question of who has the popularity and political strength to lead the Collaboration to elections in 2023 is anyone’s guess.

While Joseph Boakai appears to enjoy overwhelming support in vote-rich Lofa County, the same cannot be said of Alexander Cummings in any county including his home country Maryland. It may therefore be suicidal were he to quit the CPP to go it alone. And apparently he realizes this and such could be reasons why he has declared that leaving the CPP is a non-option.

Similarly, it can be said that it would be suicidal for Joseph Boakai to leave the CPP to go it alone. Both individuals appear hopelessly stuck together with each wanting out, but too timid to make the break for fear of the consequences. But the Liberian people cannot forever wait for justice, neither can they forever wait on the government to bring ritualistic killings to an end.

This can perhaps explain why there are increasing calls from the public for the reintroduction of the Death Penalty to serve as deterrent to would be ritual killers. They point to the United States of America, the foremost global champion of Human Rights, which still maintains the Death Penalty without censure from international human rights institutions. Then, why not Liberia, they ask.     

And their point of reference is the 1977 trial, conviction and public hanging, in Harper, Maryland County of several individuals including a former Superintendent involved in the ritual murder of Moses Tweh, a popular folk singer, which put a stop to ritual killings in that country for a long period.

Source: A Plea to Political Parties, Religious Leaders and Leaders of Civil Society

PS Note of the webmaster: For a detailed overview of the arrest and trial of the defendants accused of the ritual killing of Moses Tweh, see: ‘The Maryland Ritual Murders – Liberia’s most notorious ritual killing case‘. Warning: some readers may find the graphic contents, description of the ritual murder and the accompanying pictures disturbing (FVDK). 

The 7 convicted ritual killers who were sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Moses Tweh: Allen Yancy, James Anderson, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Wreh Taryonnoh, Putu Dweh and Thomas Barclay.
For more information click here 
The public execution took place in Harper, Maryland County, on February 16, 1979

More recent articles:

Liberia National Police Inspector General says reports of ritualistic killings, disappearances are fake news and intended to malign government’s image

Published: September 30, 2021
By: Willie N. Tokpah – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Monrovia — In recent months, reported cases of ritual killings have surged in Liberia, but the country’s Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue and his deputy Prince Mulbah say such reports are untrue and being fueled by opposition politicians to tarnish the image of the government.

Sudue and Mulbah, at a news conference Wednesday, disclosed that the police are only aware of a single ritualistic incident, which occurred in MaryLand County recently, adding the perpetrators are facing justice.

“People are being paid to tarnish the image of the country and to raise false national security alert. There are inconsistencies in their statements,” Sudue says.

Meanwhile, Mulbah, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration, described information about ritualistic killings in the country as a ploy designed by the opposition to create fear for diaspora Liberians who want to return home.

“As far our investigations are concerned, we haven’t established anything called ritualistic killing apart from what happened in Maryland County,” Mulbah says.

“We have heard a lot of people talking on social media of people being kidnapped and taken away, these are paid agents.”  

A rising number of mutilated bodies on streets in Monrovia and other parts of the country this year has sown fear in Liberians.

Recently, the lifeless body of a girl believed to be in her 30s was discovered in Caldwell with body parts extracted.Till date perpetrators of the dastardly act are yet to be found.

A day earlier, another lifeless body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found in the Soul Clinic community. As at the time his body was recovered, some parts had been removed. They included his penis, eyes and tongue. Still, perpetrators have not been arrested.

Liberians have taken to social media to raise alarm about the rise in ritual activities, urging commuters to always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles as they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. 

But Sudue said most of these social media pictorials and videos about ritualistic incidents are not a representation of what is unfolding in the country.

He warned those involved in orchestrating a negative image about the country to desist, or face the full weight of the law.

The rise in ritualistic killings has claimed the attention of opposition political leaders, who are calling on President George Weah to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his 55th birthday celebrations on Friday, October 1.

Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Wednesday said the country is fast becoming a cesspool of crime ranging from these mysterious killings, armed robbery, drug dealing, and money laundering.

“This is in addition to the numerous past mysterious deaths of the auditors, the missing boys and other violent crimes that are yet to be investigated or the perpetrators found,” he says.

“It is clear that our security sector is under-staffed, under-paid and overwhelmed. This can not continue. I am calling on the President to redirect every penny he intends to spend on his elaborate and glamorous birthday celebration, into the security sector. We need to empower our community policing and night patrol and strengthen community vigilante groups to work with the Police in each community. This should include the distribution of basic materials and basic training. We need to also investigate these crimes with a sense of urgency and bring perpetrators to justice. The government needs to get to work.”

Grand Bassa County Senator and political leader of Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who’s in the United States of America, said she would start a women movement against the ritualistic killings of children, mothers and sisters, brothers and  husbands upon her return to Liberia.

Sen. Karnga-Lawrence called on all women to rise up and ensure that the serial killings are brought to an end. “The voices of women must be heard at every level, from the vice president down. This must stop, our survival is at stake and Liberia must be safe for all of us,” Sen. Karnga-Lawrence says.

Dr. Daniel E. Cassel of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), whose secretary general, David Beyan, was reportedly shot by unknown gunmen, called on the government of President George Weah to address the issue of ritualistic killings in the country. 

“This is the time for President Weah to act quickly and bring an end to the end to the rise in ritualistic killings,” Dr. Cassel says.

Reacting to the reported shooting incident of Beyan, Sudue rejected claims that the PLP secretary general was shot by unknown gunmen.

He claimed Beyan lied about being shot infront of his fence when medical records showed that he (Beyan) told doctors that he shot by himself.

“I think if this young man would have killed himself, the whole country would say it is the government that killed him. He lied about being shot,” Sudue says.

Sudue claimed a shell from a firearm was seen in Beyan’s vehicle, which confirmed medical records that he shot himself.

After being thoroughly quizzed about the situation, coupled with medical proof, Beyan couldn’t lie, Sudue said.

“He told us that he criminally and knowingly took the weapon from residence as far as 20 Street and then to Soul Clinic community to hide the weapon,” Sudue claimed.

However, he said the police are in possession of a weapon by Beyan as he undergoes investigation at the Police headquarters in Monrovia.

“We will prosecute him for illegal possession of firearm and raising false alarm to security apparatus.”

At the same time, Inspector General Sudue has disclosed that the LNP has increased its patrols in major streets and communities, and has begun vigorous search and inspection operations to combat crimes in the country.

He said the LNP will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the country is stable and peaceful and that citizens are protected.

Source: Liberia: Inspector General of Police Says Multiple Reports of Ritualistic Killings, Disappearances Are Fake News Intended to Malign Government’s Image

And:

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor disagrees with Liberia National Police Inspector General  that opposition is responsible for reports of ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Henry Karmo – Front Page Africa, Liberia 

MONROVIA – Vice president Jewel Howard has joined the many voices of Liberians calling for an end to the mysterious killings of Liberians and wants those in authority of the security to take action that would end the many mysterious deaths that are linked to ritualistic killings.

In an interview with reporters, Liberia’s Vice President said, women in Liberia are feeling more insecure   than ever before in the history of Liberia. She placed more emphasis on the mysterious deaths of women for ritualistic purposes.

“I like to call upon our security sector to please put in place a regime that will enable our people to remain safe. The situation involves instances where women’s private parts are being cutoff, stories of young people being taken in specific location where others allegedly were being used for ritualistic purposes are very alarming.”

The VP also expressed hopes that in this 21st century, it will be easy for security apparatus to discover and arrest people involved in such killings of Liberians for the purpose of ritualistic killings because these acts have far reaching negative implication for the peace and security of Liberia and the investment climate.

Madam Taylor: “As far as I know, Government’s responsibility is to provide the peace and security of its people, that is why we have the different security apparatus of our country. If this was just one case people will want to wait but it is alarming; every single morning there is a report of a dead body somewhere.

“In a country like Liberia, such a thing that is happening should not be happening, so I believe we should call on all of our security forces to do more.”

 The VP also told reporters that complaints from the police and other security entities about the lack of logistic should not be an excuse, because that is a responsibility they have taken.  “The police should be more vigilant if it requires bringing in the army, we should do that because it is alarming,” she said.

She also seems to have a different belief to that of many, especially those in government, who think the alarming rate of mysterious deaths is a strategy implored by the opposition to make the state ungovernable for the ruling CDC.

According to her, such portrayal of what is happening is hard to believe because nobody will want to kill innocent Liberians because they want to make Liberia ungovernable.   

“If an opposition or politicians do that, it will be ungovernable for everyone. If we are the sitting government we must now do more to make sure that whatever is happening will be brought to an end. This is a planned act carried out by some group of people.”

Source: Liberia: VP Taylor Differs Calls on Police to Take Charge; Disagrees that Opposition is Responsible for Reports of Ritualistic Killings

Finally:

Federation of Liberian Youth condemns series of secret & ritualistic killings

Published: September 29, 2021
By: Press Release – Front Page Africa, Liberia

MONROVIA – The Federation of Liberian Youth said it is troubling the alarming wave of insecurity currently existing in Liberia.

The group through its President Amos Williams said the terrifying decline in national security is worrisome and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Williams said the growing waves of recent ritualistic and series of secret killings have the propensity to undermine the current and uninterrupted peace which the general population has enjoyed for over fifteen years now.

As a means of addressing the issue, FLY has therefore called on the attention of President George Weah including the Ministry of Justice and the Liberian National Police (LNP) to promptly act in addressing decisively the current state of insecurity by providing safety and security to all citizens and foreign residents alike in the borders of Liberia. 

Mr. Williams at the same time encouraged all citizens to be supportive and attentive in providing any important information which can be used by national security apparatus in accordance with the growing waves of insecurities in the country.

In a move to practically address the issue, FLY wants the Government to acknowledge the issue of insecurity in the Land and address it hands down.

Source: FLY Condemns Series Of Secret & Ritualistic Killings

Liberia – political map

Uganda: human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

The death penalty as a deterrent – or as a revenge. Will this legal sanction provide a solution to the curse of ritual murders and the end of superstition in Uganda? 

Whereas all actions of the government to end ritual killing in the country must be applauded, I personally believe more in education as a tool to end these heinous crimes than in the capital punishment – which is considered a violation of the basic, human rights of the perpetrator(s) and for this reason rejected by the international community

Having said this, the following article contains a chilling mention of the state of affairs in Uganda with respect to the occurrence of ritual murders (‘human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon‘). 
(webmaster FVDK)

Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi (right) appears at the Supreme Court early last year during hearing of his appeal against his conviction for murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye in 2012. Persons found guilty of committing acts of mutilating and or causing death of another person for purposes of performing a ritual, and those found in possession of human body parts, will suffer death upon conviction. PHOTO /JULIET KIGONGO.

Published: May 6, 2021
By: Daily Monitor, Uganda – Esther Oluka, Arthur Arnold Wadero 

Whoever will be found guilty of sacrificing a person for ritual purposes faces a maximum punishment of death following the passing of a law on human sacrifice.

The Human Sacrifice Bill (2020), once assented to by the President, will also see those who finance acts of human sacrifice facing death.
Clause 1 of the Bill defines human sacrifice as killing, mutilation, removal of organs or body parts of a person for sale or for purpose of witchcraft, rituals or any harmful human practices. 

While presenting the Private Member’s Bill yesterday, which was overwhelmingly supported, Ayivu MP Benard Atiku argued that the current law does not provide for the offence of human sacrifice and that the human sacrifice related cases are prosecuted as murder or related offences under the Penal Code Act.

Human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon involving people who seek quick means of amassing wealth or power. 
A renowned case is that of 2008 involving Joseph Kasirye, a boy (then aged 12 years) whose torso was found in a swamp, headless and with no genitals.

Businessman Kato Kajubi was found guilty of murder and was handed life imprisonment on conviction.
A section of MPs welcomed the passing of the Bill. 

“In fact, it is long overdue. Human sacrifice is not only inhumane but it is evil,” Mbale Woman MP Connie Galiwango said. 
Ms Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LoP) and Gulu Woman MP, said she did not understand why people were sacrificing children. 

“You go to a witchdoctor expecting to give you riches, yet that witchdoctor stays in a grass-thatched hut?” Ms Ocan wondered.
Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary commended the passing of the Bill after reasoning that adults are victims too. 

Previously, the perpetrators of human sacrifice have targeted people with specific features, including albinos, those without body piercings, big umbilical cords, a gap in their front teeth, among other features. 

Authorities, including police and religious leaders, have repeatedly highlighted that there is no connection between human sacrifice and riches. 
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Jor Ongiertho, the Jonam County MP, had earlier recommended a harsher punishment for human sacrifice culprits. 

“I suggest that the people involved in the practice should be tried by the military and if found guilty, be put on firing squad because we really want to deter people from this practice.” 

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga stated that Parliament had now provided an opportunity for justice to all the victims of human sacrifice. 

“On a number of occasions, when children delegations come to visit me at Parliament, they ask me: ‘where is justice for Kasirye’. I think today (yesterday), we can answer that question and say that Parliament has now provided an avenue for justice for Kasirye and other victims like him,” Ms Kadaga said. 
Children often the most victims of human sacrifice.  

More on the Bill
●  Clause 5 says whoever encourages or advises any person to use human body parts in any ritual or their use in any treatment or other forms of healing would be liable to life imprisonment.
●  Under Clause 6, whoever is found in possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice is liable to life imprisonment.
●  Clause 9 provides for psychosocial support to survivors of human sacrifice. 
●  Clause 10 provides for compensation, rehabilitation or restitution to be made by court in certain cases.

Source: Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Zimbabwe – Editorial comment: combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

A recent surge in ritual murders of children has shocked Zimbabwe. Within a short period, three children were murdered for ritualistic purposes: Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa. I have extensively covered the murder of Tapiwa. The following days I will provide more details about the murder of Delan and Melissa.

The child sacrifices have led to many reactions. One of these comments follows here. It contains a plea for tougher measures for the culprits, even the capital punishment. There is much to say about (and against) the death penalty but let us know focus here on the editorial comments. 
To be cont’d.
(webmaster FVDK)

EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Published: April 27, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe

The murder of three children for what appears to be ritual purposes in just seven months is a worrying dark cloud over Zimbabwe and requires action at both community level and among a number of sections of society.

These are not the first such killings, perhaps just the best publicised for some time since the victims were all seven-years-old and the police moved swiftly and effectively to track down the suspects, with other family members among those arrested and remanded.

There is a superstitious belief among a minority that killing a child or another young person in a particular way, which can be equated to torture before the murder, and then processing certain body parts in a set-down manner will create, increase and maintain wealth.

This is nonsense, and with the competent homicide investigations now in progress it must be becoming obvious that initiating such a killing is totally unlikely to bring anything, but a very long jail sentence for the killers.

Although the death penalty is still on the books for aggravated murder by an adult man, and aggravating circumstances do not come more aggravating than pre-meditated murder of a child for financial gain, the fact remains that Zimbabwe does not implement death penalties any more, and instead life imprisonment is substituted.

There are already many positive developments that can help to end this practice of ritual killings. It is now clear that communities are willing to take action, rather than quiver in fear and keep quiet. 

People are not afraid to stand up and be counted and are willing to pass on whatever information they have to the police. 

In fact one of the major problems now in such investigations is that some are passing on confusing fifth-hand hearsay, which still needs to be properly investigated, rather than hard fact of what they saw. But homicide detectives are trained to separate the chaff from the hard fact, and better that too many try and help than too few.

A second problem is more serious, and has already been mentioned by legislators, including recently Senator Michael Nyambuwa who visited the Mutasa families. 

We need investigations to be pursued to bring the person who gave the ritual advice and who might well have promised to process any body parts.

Even if they did not initiate the killings, and accept some sort of lie when organs are presented, they are still involved in a murder and can be tried as an accomplice. 

N’angas still have a lot of respect and are feared by some, so it can be difficult to get a name, let alone evidence. 

Obviously the actual killers believe in the powers of the n’anga they are using; even in the days when the killers were hanged they refused to give the name and walked silently to the gallows.

Here communities need to encourage people to come forward. There will be a lot of vague and wrong information, but police can then run down the leads. The point is that a person ready to apply their traditional learning to criminal purposes cannot be totally unknown in an area.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association can also become more involved, first by teaching very clearly that such killings do not create wealth, only misery, and then encouraging people to come forward. 

In fact traditional healers in a particular area might well have a better idea of which one of their number has turned to the dark side than the average lay person, and should be encouraged to pass on this information.

Traditional leaders, who have already made their abhorrence of such crimes very clear, can also go further in prevention, as well as doing what they do now by calling on their communities to assist after a crime. 

The ideal is to have a murder trial with both the killers and the n’anga who offered advice all in the dock, with sufficiently good evidence that all can be convicted and then go to jail together. 

Detectives chosen for such investigations might need to be carefully selected; there is still a significant number of superstitious people, and even some Christian churches who worry about the creativity of evil, although this is a heretical belief in mainstream Christianity.

Such severely aggravating murders also stress the need for Zimbabwe to upgrade its sentencing laws for murder, now that we have effectively abandoned the death penalty as an active punishment. 

The reforms need to give judges setting sentences more discretion, and as we have argued before we need a system of parole.

In his latest clemency order, the President, with Cabinet consent and what must have been detailed advice, in effect set 15 years behind bars as the absolute minimum for a life sentence. This is not unreasonable and is the effective minimum period of incarceration in many jurisdictions for an “ordinary” murder.

However, countries that have formally abolished the death penalty and substituted life imprisonment usually allow the sentencing judge to make a recommendation over the minimum term in each case. 

In most cases this is whatever the standard is in that country before parole can be considered, frequently 15 years. 

But where there are aggravating circumstances the judge can set a longer minimum term before release can even be considered and, in exceptionally aggravating circumstances, can even call for a “whole life” sentence, or “life imprisonment without any possibility of parole”, as some American states word it. 

Because the killer is not executed this can always be adjusted later if perceptions change or new evidence emerges, but meanwhile the deterrent is in place.

A parole system also means that a released lifer is monitored for the rest of their lives, forbidden to do certain jobs, enter certain businesses and possess anything on a list of prohibited items, such as anything that could be used as a weapon.

And parents clearly need to be protective. This is always difficult, of deciding where do you draw the lines. But one general rule is safety in numbers and having older children helping to shepherd younger children.

We have all seen gaggles of schoolchildren who live near each other moving as a group and automatically having some older teenagers in that group.

Admittedly a lot of this breaks down, as in the latest two cases, when relatives are suspected to be involved, people who are normally trusted. 

But every bit helps and at least there are witnesses if a child is whisked away by an uncle or aunt. 

That is precisely how the police made their initial arrests in the latest two child killings, by following up reports from people who saw something that in retrospect needed to be told.

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

The focus of today’s posting is not on ritualistic murders or comparable and related crimes, such as kidnapping, torture a.s.o. However, the topic is related: in more than one African country, the public and also the authorities want the introduction and the carrying out of the death penalty for convicted perpetrators of ritual killings both as a deterrent to prevent future crimes and as a justified revenge of the community for the senseless loss of life of one of its members.

It is a controversial topic, as will be clear from the article below. Whereas many African countries have abolished the capital punishment, there seems to be a resurgence of the death penalty in various parts of Africa, notably in southern Africa (Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe), but also in West Africa (Nigeria e.g.). Recently, Catholic officials across the continent have rejected the increasing calls for the introduction of the death penalty, saying “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”

The latter argument makes sense. There are more reasons to defend the abolishment of the death penalty. However, supporters hold the opposite view for reasons cited above.

Whatever the position is, in favor of or against the death penalty, the article reproduced below shows one more time the ugly practice of ritualistic murders in Southern Africa.  

More on the killing of people with albinism in Malawi in a few days time (webmaster FVDK).

Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

Boniface Chibwana, coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Malawi’s bishop’s conference (Provided photo)

Published: March 15, 2021
By: National Catholic Reporter – Tawande Karombo

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Catholic officials and human rights campaigners across Africa are reiterating their opposition to capital punishment after Botswana carried out two executions for murder convictions in February.

Botswana, located north of South Africa, confirmed the executions of 33-year-old Wedu Mosalagae and 29-year-old Kutlo Setima on Feb. 8. Both had been found guilty in separate cases of killing a woman.

Oluwatosin Popoola, a legal advisor for Amnesty International on death penalty issues, told NCR that the organization is “very concerned” about the executions, especially as they are the fifth and sixth since President Mokgweetsi Masisi came into office in 2019.

This as “a high number for Botswana within a 16-month period and an indication that the country is not relenting in its adherence” to the use of the death penalty, said Popoola.

“The recent executions are regressive and they slow down Africa’s push against the death penalty,” said Popoola. “There is no unique imperative for any country to use the death penalty.”

Although many African nations have abolished use of the death penalty in the past decade — including Guinea, Benin, the Republic of the Congo and Madagascar — Botswana’s government claims it can be a good deterrent to prevent violent crimes.

In nearby Malawi, proponents say it prevents the murdering of people with albinism for ritual purposes. Amnesty international said earlier in February that more than 20 murders of people with albinism have been committed in Malawi since 2014.

In 2019, three Malawians were sentenced to death for the killing of a person with albinism. (See tomorrow’s posting – FVDK). But the country has not carried out any death sentence since 1994, joining other countries such as Zimbabwe that have been imposing death sentences but not carrying out executions.

Boniface Chibwana, coordinator for the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Malawi’s bishop’s conference, told NCR he thinks African Catholic officials can be doing more to drum up support for the dropping of the death penalty across the continent.

“To deter crimes such as murder, the church needs to progressively and actively socialize the young using the human rights approach, so that many of its followers should grow in Christ while respecting the human rights culture to build societies where such rights as the protection of life are a norm,” he said.

In 2019, there was a 53% jump in death sentence convictions across sub-Saharan Africa compared to 212 convictions a year earlier. These death sentences resulted from murder convictions in Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Popoola said Chad, which borders Libya, Niger and Sudan, was the latest country in Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

In South Africa, there have been calls for the restoration of the death penalty from some sections of society, especially as gender-based violence and killings of women increase. South Africa abolished capital punishment in 1995.

Fr. Dumisani Vilakati, director of the regional conference of Catholic bishops across southern Africa, told NCR that the church is often blamed for not being vocal enough against the death penalty. But he said the church “is part of the solution” for the promotion of the right to life, from conception to natural death.

“Here in Africa, we have to put the death penalty in the pro-life scheme that has been espoused by Pope Francis,” said Vilakati.

“We are a church that preaches conversion of human beings, and we believe that people can change for the better,” said the priest. “The death sentence cannot be a solution, especially considering how poor our justice system still is across most of Africa.”

Vilakati explained that there have been numerous wrongful convictions across the continent, and inmates are increasingly having to wait longer and longer for their trials to be conducted.

“What we need to do as a society is to educate people, and the church should play its role in espousing the sanctity of life [rather] than having society eliminating people through death penalty,” said Vilakati. “We should be pro-life and give people a second chance.”

Source: Catholic officials decry resurgence of death penalty in southern Africa

Map of Southern Africa

Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

A bizar incident occurred recently in the Ugandan capital Kampala. Allegedly, a man, carrying the severed head of a five to eight-years-old child, hidden in a gift box, tried to enter the building which houses the nation’s parliament. Not surprisingly, rumors started floating suggesting a case of ritual murder. True or not true? And was maybe a parliamentarian involved? If yes, who? The mere fact of the rumors is an indication, in my opinion, of the phenomenon of ritualistic murders in Uganda – besides, previous posts on this site confirm the occurrence of ritual murders in the East African country. The rumors also show the people’s suspicion and mistrust of rich and famous people in cases of ritualistic activities. Moreover, it is interesting to note and very significant that the incident occurred when Ugandan parliamentarians are discussing a law which intends to punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty!  

I hope that the police will do its work independently and will reveal the truth. If again a ritual murder has been committed, the perpetrators must be arrested and tried. If not, let it be established. Of course, it is crystal clear that a crime has been committed and that a child was the victim. The rule of law must apply, as I have repeatedly underlined in this place. Without the rue of law there is no justice, no progress, no development (webmaster FVDK).

Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

Published: September 15, 2020
By: Metro, Uganda – Joe Roberts

A man has been arrested after attempting to enter the Ugandan parliamentary building carrying the severed head of a child in a gift box. The child was aged about five to eight-years-old, but no more details were given by police.

It comes as politicians in the east African country consider a bill that would punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty. Ugandans on social media expressed outrage over the incident, with some pointing out that it had the hallmarks of a ritual killing.

Children are frequently targeted in such killings across Uganda, according to police and some watchdog groups. Officers said they can ‘assure the general public that the investigations are vigorously being undertaken to ensure that the perpetrators are taken to court’.

The gruesome package was apparently intended to be delivered to the office of the parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga. A spokesman for Ms Kadaga, a member of the governing National Resistance Movement party, who has held the speaker’s post for two terms, declined to comment.

Source: Man carrying a child’s severed head arrested outside Ugandan parliament

Related article:

Ugandan police nab man entering parliament with severed head

Published: September 14, 2020
By: Sports grind Entertainment

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan police on Monday arrested a man attempting to enter the parliamentary building in the capital carrying the severed head of a child in a wrapped gift box.

Police said in a statement that the victim was a child of about five to eight years, giving no more details.

Police “assure the general public that the investigations are vigorously being undertaken to ensure that the perpetrators are taken to court,” said the statement.

Parliamentary Watch Uganda, a local group that monitors the activities of the legislature, said the gruesome package was intended to be delivered to the office of the parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.

A spokesman for Kadaga, a member of the governing National Resistance Movement party who has held the speaker’s post for two terms, declined to comment.

Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would punish the crime of human sacrifice with the death penalty. Supporters of the bill say such legislation is long overdue.

Ugandans on social media expressed outrage over the incident, with some pointing out that it had the hallmarks of a ritual killing. Children are frequently targeted in such killings across the East African country, according to the police and some watchdog groups.

Source: Ugandan police nab man entering parliament with severed head

Nigeria: ritual killing: Osun man sentenced to death by hanging

Several Nigerian states (Osun, OndoRivers) have enacted laws making it possible for judges to pronounce the death sentence for a specified number of crimes. Osun State is one of them. Ritualistic murders occur frequently in this southeastern state. Among the crimes mentioned in the law which carry the capital punishment when found guilty is murder committed for the purpose of a ‘money ritual’, as ritualistic murders are called in Africa’s most populated country.

More than one Nigerian state faces this phenomenon which seems difficult to eradicate. In my view it will not be eradicated by any severe jail sentence, not even by the capital punishment. The only solution is education, to instruct people that superstition does not lead to success, power or wealth. Nonetheless, the rule of law must apply and perpetrators of heinous crimes must pay for their deeds. (webmaster FVDK).

Ritual killing: Man sentenced to death by hanging

Published: July 7, 2020
By: The News, Nigeria 

An Osun State High Court sitting in Ile-Ife on Tuesday sentenced a 37- year-old man, Ogunyemi Oluleke, to death by hanging for murder.

Oluleke was arraigned on March 6, 2013 on two-count charge of murder and conspiracy to murder contrary to Sections 319 and 324 of Criminal Code, Laws of Osun State.

The offences were allegedly committed at Iredunmi area of Ile-Ife and at Oketase area in Ile-Ife around 10:00 a.m on Feb. 17, 2010.

At about 10:00am on Feb. 17, 2010, one Moshood Babalola was killed by cutting off his head with knife at Iredunmi area, ile-ife.

Mr Babalola Sikiru lodged the complaint of his lost son (Moshood Babalola) at More Police Station, Ile-Ife, on Feb. 18, 2010.

The Prosecution Counsel from the Ministry of Justice, Lawyer Tijani Adekilekun, called five witlessness and rendered several exhibits to prove the case.

Adekilekun also informed the court through one of his witnesses, Insp. Rasheedat Olanrewaju, that she was among the three policemen that went to a village in Agbedegbede area.

Olarewaju said that her team went to the house of the convict for a search and during the search, they saw decomposed body of one person in the convict’s house.

In his additional statement after the discovery of deceased corpse in his house on Feb., 2010, Ogunyemi confessed that he killed Moshood Babalola for rituals.

Justice Adedotun Onibokun found the accused guilty of the charges preferred against him.

The Defence Counsel, Mr Olalekan Banjo, pleaded to the court to temper justice with mercy, claiming that his client was a first offender.

Onibokun sentenced him to death by hanging.

Source: Ritual killing: Man sentenced to death by hanging

Related article:

Osun man to die by hanging for ritual killing

Published: July 8, 2020
By: Punch, Nigeria – Bola Bamigbola, Osogbo

Source: Osun man to die by hanging for ritual killing

What the **** is goin’ on in Ogun State, Nigeria? Alarming increase in ritualistic murders!

Killing for ritualistic purposes is rampant in Nigeria. In most states, ‘money ritual’ is a well-known phenomenon. I have already reported many cases on this site. In many states ritual murders are being committed. Reporting on these cases is erratic. Not always there is a follow-up, informing the public of any arrest made, or – in case suspects are arrested – whether they are put on trial, and what the outcome is.

Unfortunately, ritualistic murders or murders for ritualistic purposes are not rare in Ogun State, in Nigeria’s southwest. This year alone I already reported various cases, my most recent postings were on April 27 and March 15

Below I’ve listed four cases which happened during the past few months. Mind you, these are cases which have been reported. How many cases go unreported? To be correct, the fourth case, a seven-year old boy who was murdered for ritualistic proposes by his mum and step-father was already reported on April 27, from a different source. It does not make it less serious. I’m afraid ritualistic killings in Ogun State will continue, as they will in other states. How to end this barbaric practice?
(webmaster FVDK).

Notorious cultist arrested in Ogun State, confesses to killing three

Published: June 3, 2020
By: The Eagle Online, Nigeria

A notorious cultist, Adewale Adeoye, popularly known as 16, has confessed to killing no fewer than three persons since joining the Eiye cult.

Adeoye made the confession on Tuesday when he was paraded alongside 30 others by the Ogun State Police Command for different crimes.

The Commissioner, Ogun State Police Command, Kenneth Ebrimson, who paraded the suspects at the command headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, accused them of involvement in cultism, armed robbery, murder and illegal possession of firearms.

Ebrimson said Adeoye, who has been on the wanted list of the police in connection with cult-related killings in Ijebu-Ode and its environs, added that he was arrested alongside five others at their hideout in Ijebu-Ode.

He said two locally-made single-barrelled pistols, one double-barrelled pistol, 11 live cartridges, assorted charms and Indian hemp were recovered from them.

Adeoye told newsmen that two of his victims were the killers of the leader of the Eiye confraternity in Ijebu-Ode, identifying them as Vandan, Koledowo and Abas.

He said he had been arraigned twice for similar crimes between 2012 and 2017.

He said: “I have been arraigned twice.

“I was first arraigned in 2012 and regained my freedom in 2015 because the complainant did not show up in court and they could not find anything incriminating against me.

“A few days after, the police came for my arrest again and kept me in custody for another two years before I regained my freedom again in 2017.”

Adeoye said he was the fourth in command in the confraternity in 2017 and later became the second in command a year later.

When asked if he renounced his membership of the cult after his arrest, he said: “I have not renounced my membership.

“They didn’t give me the chance because they told me that they would kill me if I renounced my membership.”

Source: Notorious cultist arrested in Ogun, confesses to killing three

AND

Ogun State:
Pastor seeking ‘power’ to grow congregation killed by native doctor for ritual

Published: May 27, 2020
By: The Eagle Online, Nigeria

A Pastor, Kalejaiye Ezekiel, who went to seek traditional power, has been killed by the same native doctor from whom he sought help.

According to available information, the pastor said he needed the power to draw worshippers to his church.

The Ogun State Command has since last month arrested the native doctor, Isiaka Ogunkoya, for the murder of the pastor.

The 48-year-old native doctor has also confessed to killing Ezekiel.

Ogunkoya told policemen mid last month: “The Pastor came to me for power so that his church would  grow.

“I used the opportunity to use him for my personal job.

“I mixed some sleeping solution for the pastor to drink and he slept off moments afterward.

“As he dozed off, I  picked a knife and slaughtered him.

“I am a native doctor and I have helped so many people, including pastors who want their congregation to grow, in the area.

“This particular incident happened because I personally needed human parts for a particular concoction that I wanted to prepare for one of my clients in Isoyin.

“When the Pastor came, saying that he wanted power so that his congregation could grow, I used the opportunity to kill him and used the needed parts for the concoction.

“I gave him some solution to drink and he fell deeply asleep and that afforded me the time to slaughter him and cut out the parts I needed for my concoction.

“I know I have done wrong, but I want forgiveness because if you go around and ask about me, people will tell you that I am a good person.

“This one just happened the way it did.”

The spokesperson of the Ogun State  Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the native doctor was arrested by policemen on routine stop and search duty along Isoyin Road.

Oyeyemi, a Deputy superintendent of Police, said Ogunkoya would be profiled to know how many people he may have killed in the same manner.

He said the native doctor would be charged for murder at the end of investigation.

Source: Pastor seeking ‘power’ to grow congregation killed by native doctor for ritual

AND

Ogun State:
Human parts dealers go violent after customers fail to pay N1m for ‘fresh hand’

Published: May 21, 2020
By: The Eagle Online, Nigeria

Alleged human parts dealers in Ogun State last week went violent following the failure of three of their customers to come up with the N1 million agreed for the supply of a “fresh human hand”.

According to available information, after the customers failed to pay for the human hand, the human parts dealers lured them to a bush, where they had them beaten thoroughly for a couple of days before releasing them on May 17, 2019.

According to the spokesman of the Ogun State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police Abimbola Oyeyemi, the development led to the arrest of four persons involved in the deal.

Oyeyemi, in a statement on Wednesday, said the operation, carried out in conjunction with the Ogun State Security Outfit, So-Safe Corps, also led to the recovery of the fresh human hand.

The Command’s spokesman, who identified the buyers of the fresh human hand as Matthew Idosu, John Feyisetan and Samuel Adegbola, said they were arrested alongside a 40-year-old herbalist, Michael Itomu, by operatives of the Police and So-Safe Corps at Idi-Iroko in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state for being in possession of a fresh human hand.

He said the suspects, through Idosu, had contracted someone in Abeokuta, the state capital, who promised to get the human hand for them for N1 million for money rituals.

Oyeyemi said in the statement: “On delivering the hand, the dealers demanded the agreed N1 million, but the money was not readily available; this led to a serious scuffle between them and they angrily took away the duo of Samuel Adegbola and John Feyisetan into a bush, where they thoroughly beat them before they were released on May 17, 2020.

“It was the action of those, who supplied the hand, that made the whole secret to leak out and which eventually led to their arrest.”

He said following a tip-off, the Idi-Iroko Divisional Police Officer, CSP Sunday Opebiyi, detailed his detectives in collaboration with men of the So-Safe Corps to ambush the suspects, leading to the arrest of three of them in Owode-Yewa, adding: “Their arrest led to the arrest of the herbalist in the early hours of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.”

Oyeyemi said the fresh human hand had been taken to the Idi-Iroko General Hospital for preservation, adding that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Kenneth Ebrimson, had ordered the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation.

He said: “He also directed that other members of the syndicate, who provided the hand, should be hunted and brought to justice.”

Source: Human parts dealers go violent after customers fail to pay N1m for ‘fresh hand’

AND

Ogun State: Mum, stepdad kill boy for ritual, bury him in upright position with parts missing

Published: April 26, 2020
By: The Eagle Online, Nigeria

Operatives of the Ogun State Command have arrested three persons, including the mum and stepdad, of a seven-year-old boy in the state, Pelumi Apalaya, for allegedly killing him for ritual.

The spokesman of the Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, revealed this in a statement on Saturday.

According to the police, those arrested were the boy’s mum, Adetutu Apalaya; her husband, who is the boy’s stepdad and a herbalist, Lajuwon Ogunleye; and his friend, Fatai Sefiu.

Oyeyemi said in the statement that the boy, who lived with his mum and stepdad until he died in Abigi area of Ogun State, reportedly slumped and died on the spot without being ill.

This was said to have aroused the suspicion of some neighbours who trailed Apalaya, Ogunleye and Sefiu to a bush, where the corpse of the boy was reportedly buried in a mysterious way.

The incident was then reported at Abigi Police Station, with the Divisional Police Officer, SP Tarkighir Joseph, leading a crack team to track down the suspects in Iwopin area of Ijebu Waterside, Ogun State on Wednesday.

The three suspects led the policemen to where Pelumi was buried.

There, it was discovered that the victim was buried in an upright position with some of his parts removed.

Oyeyemi said: “On interrogation, the second suspect, Fatai Sefiu, told the detectives that the boy was actually used for ritual by the stepfather (Ogunleye) in connivance with the deceased boy’s mother.

“He stated further that the couple had reached a conclusion before he was co-opted into the business.”

He stated that Apalaya initially denied knowledge of her husband’s plan to use Pelumi for ritual, but later admitted to the crime, adding: “She was dumbfounded when asked whether or not she followed them to the bush where her son was buried and the mode of burial of the boy.

“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, CP Kenneth Ebrimson, has ordered the immediate transfer of the case to the homicide section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and prosecution.”

Source: Ogun: Mum, stepdad kill boy for ritual, bury him in upright position with parts missing

Osun State Assembly okays death penalty for ritual killers and kidnappers (Nigeria)

Recently, on March 2, I posted an article – dated February 26 – on the subject mentioned in the heading: ritual killers and kidnappers who have been found guilty may face the death penalty in Osun State. I added critical comments which I won’t repeat here. Readers are referred my March 2 posting.

Now it has become official. On Tuesday, March 10 the Osun State House of Assembly has passed into law a bill that makes kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing a crime which is punishable by death. Will the capital punishment act as a deterrent? Or will in practice it serve s a means to revenge the heinous crime committed, not more and no less? Only the future will tell. We will follow up on the upcoming events in Osun State (webmaster FVDK).

Osun Assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers 

Speaker Timothy Owoeye

Published: March 11, 2020
By: The Nation – Toba Adedeji, Osogbo 

Osun State House of Assembly has passed into law, a bill prohibiting kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing.

The bill, which was passed into law on Tuesday, was read for the third time, having passed through debates to correct identified grey areas by the committee of the whole of the House of Assembly.

Speaker Timothy Owoeye said that with the passage of the bill, Section 364 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Law of Osun, which stipulated 10 years for kidnappers, stood repealed and replaced with the death penalty.

He said: “Where the life of the person kidnapped, restrained or seized is lost in the process, the kidnapper(s) is liable on conviction and will be sentenced to death.”

Owoeye said any person who kidnaps another person by any means or instilling fears or tricks or compels another to do anything against his will commits an offence.

Said he: “Where the life of the person kidnapped is lost in the process and the kidnapper is liable on conviction, he or she is to be sentenced to death.

“Not lost in the process, but he is released upon payment of a ransom or performance of a ransom act, the kidnapper is liable on conviction to repay the sum he/she received as ransom and to imprisonment for life and the ransom act shall be reversed.

“Any person who knowingly or willingly allows his premises, building or place belonging to or occupied by him or her and which he has control over to be used for purposes or keeping a kidnapped person, commits an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years and such building shall be forfeited to the government for public use.”

Owoeye said the passed bill will soon be transmitted to Governor Gboyega Oyetola for his assent as soon as administrative processes are completed.

(…….)

Source: Osun Assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers 

Related articles: 

Osun Assembly passes death penalty for kidnappers 

Published: March 11, 2020|
By: Legit – Rahaman Abiola            

  • Osun state assembly has passed the bill seeking to impose the death penalty for kidnappers, bandits and money ritualists
  • The move became necessary in order to tackle the insecurity concern in the southwest state
  • Explaining the mission of the bill, Osun speaker Timothy Owoeye said the kidnappers will be sentenced to death should the victims die

    The war against kidnapping received a massive boost as Osun assembly completed the passing of a bill which will henceforth tackle abduction and ritual killing in the southwest state.

    The assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, March 10, which will also hopefully tackle the cases of banditry in the state, The Nation reports.

    Speaking at the assembly complex after the bill scaled through the legislative hurdle, Osun speaker Timothy Owoeye said any kidnapper found henceforth will be made to face the wrath of the law and be sentenced to death.

Source: Insecurity: Osun Assembly passes death penalty for kidnappers 

And:

Osun assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers, ritualists

Published: March 11, 2020
By: Blueprint

The Osun state House of Assembly has passed into law a bill that makes kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing punishment by death sentance.

The bill, which was passed into law on Tuesday, was read for the third time, having passed through debates to correct identified grey areas by the committee of the whole of the House of Assembly.

Speaking after the passage, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, said with the passage of the bill, Section 364 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 law of Osun, which stipulated 10 years for kidnappers, stood repealed and replaced with the death penalty.

“Where the life of the person kidnapped, restrained or seized is lost in the process, the kidnapper(s) is liable on conviction and will be sentenced to death.”

“Where the life of the person kidnapped is lost in the process and the kidnapper is liable on conviction, he or she is to be sentenced to death.

“Not lost in the process, but he is released upon payment of a ransom or performance of a ransom act, the kidnapper is liable on conviction to repay the sum he/she received as ransom and to imprisonment for life and the ransom act shall be reversed.

“Any person who knowingly or willingly allows his premises, building or place belonging to or occupied by him or her and which he has control over to be used for purposes or keeping a kidnapped person, commits an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years and such building shall be forfeited to the government for public use.”

Owoeye said any person who kidnaps another person by any means or instilling fears or tricks or compels another to do anything against his will commits an offence.

Owoeye said the passed bill will soon be transmitted to Governor Gboyega Oyetola for his assent as soon as administrative processes are completed.

Source: Osun assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers, ritualists

Kidnappers and ritual killers to face death penalty in Osun State (Nigeria)

Is the capital punishment a justifiable sanction or a sufficient deterrent to ritualistic murders, money rituals, muti murders, or whatever one calls the heinous crimes which ruthless criminals commit to increase their wealth, prestige or power? In Osun State, Nigeria, legislators contemplate to prescribe the death penalty for kidnappers and ritual killers. See the article below.

The United Nations has voted in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty (though Nigeria was among those voting against the resolution). It is to be doubted seriously if the capital punishment serves as a deterrent to ritual killers. Wouldn’t it be more logical and useful to eradicate superstition – which lies at the base of the belief in juju – by providing the necessary education and to create more job opportunities? (webmaster FVDK).

Kidnappers to Face Death Penalty in Osun

The Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Timothy Owoeye

Published: February 26, 2020
By: This Day, Nigeria – Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

The Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Timothy Owoeye, yesterday said the state kidnapping and other related crimes (prohibition) bill 2020 would prescribe death penalty for kidnappers and also compliment efforts of the Amotekun Corps when fully inaugurated.

The Speaker at the public hearing on Osun State kidnapping and other related crimes prohibition bill 2020 stated that it is imperative to have an enabling law to ensure quick and diligent prosecution of kidnappers.

Owoeye pointed out that ever since the issue of Amotekun Corps arose, there has been a downward trend in the cases of kidnapping in Osun and other South-western states.

He held that the seveth Assembly under his watch is reviewing the existing laws on kidnapping which recommended that 14 years would be reviewed to death penalty.

The Speaker added that should the bill scale through the needed stages, those caught with human parts and kidnappers whose victims dies in the process of abduction would face death sentence as against imprisonment obtainable before now.

Owoeye noted that with the way kidnapping is becoming lucrative, it is sacrosanct that laws with severe consequences be put in place to protect Nigerians from kidnappers.

According to him, “Ever since the issue of Amotekun came up, I have noticed downward cases of kidnapping in Osun and other South-western states; however I am more afraid of the surge in ritual related cases.

“The country was saddened at the gruesome murder and dismembering of a 23-year-old 400 level LASU student, Favour Oladele, for money ritual purposes. We the Osun people are sadder that the killing took place in Ikoyi town, in our own soil.

“As parents and community leaders, we must begin to re-orientate our young ones on this prevailing get-rich-quick syndrome. There is no shortcut to success, the only way is preparation, hard work, patience and perseverance.”

Also, the Chairman of Osun Civil Society Coalition, Waheed Lawal, has given reasons for government at all levels to re-double their efforts to create job for employable youths, stating that it would go a long way in reducing the crime rate in the country.

Police Community Relations Committee Chairman in the state, Amitolu Shittu, on his own, commended the seventh Assembly for championing the crusade to bring sanity to the society.

Source: Kidnappers to Face Death Penalty in Osun

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