A gruesome murder in Chipata, Eastern Province, Zambia.
It is not the first time that the Eastern Province is in the news with an attack on a person with albinism. Also last year, in 2019, the province made headlines with the murder of an albino. Often, Zambians point an accusing finger to neighboring Malawi when a mutilated body of an albino is found. However, just recently, in January of the current year, a prominent Zambian, MDD president Dr Nevers Mumba, alleged that ritual killings are common in Zambia and have always happened towards elections.
POLICE in Chipata have picked up a dead body of an albino without a tongue, arms and eyes.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner Lackson Sakala said police recoverd the body at Yamene farms along the Chipata/Lundazi road yesterday.
Mr. Sakala said the incident occurred between 15 hours and 17 hours adding that the deceased was found in a maize field at a distance of about 60 metres from the Chipata/Lundazi Road.
He said when police officers visited the scene of the suspected murder they discovered that some body parts were missing.
“After inspecting the body they discovered that the following body parts were missing; there was no tongue in the mouth, the tongue was cut, both eyes were removed and both arms were also removed by way of amputation. The victim at the time he met his untimely death was wearing a jean trousers, red t-shirt and black shoes,” Mr Sakala said.
He said the body had since been deposited in Chipata Central Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem.
“May I appeal to those that may miss their relative, an albino to come through so that they identify this unknown albino who was murdered yesterday. As police we have actually instituted investigations into this gruesome murder,” Mr Sakala said.
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) fears that this will increase the already fragile position of people living with albinism in Malawi. History teaches us that attacks on people with albinism increase during election campaigns. The Malawian government fails to react properly. Since 2014, 171 attacks against people with albinism were carried out of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing. Hence, the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi has launched an anti-killings campaign. (webmaster FVDK).
Malawi persons with albinism launch anti-killings campaign
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has launched a campaign to condemn killings of people with albinism for rituals ahead of the fresh presidential polls in the country.
APAM President Ian Simbota, told local media Sunday after the launch that members of the Association fear for their lives as some study showed that persons with albinism are targeted for rituals during elections. Simbota told Xinhua Monday that as of March 23rd, 2020, APAM had recorded 171 cases of attacks against people with albinism of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing since 2014. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
“We received the February 3 judgement with mixed reactions because on one hand we were happy that we will be given back our ballot power but on the other hand looked at the threatening times that we always go through because of the same election exercise,” said Simbota.He said during the campaign the APAM members want to sensitize mostly political leaders to desist from beliefs that killing a person with albinism and getting their body parts for rituals can make them win an election.
“Those things don’t exist, it’s just some evil way of thinking. We are the voters and politicians should use us as such and not as rituals; it does not work,” said Simbota.”We are a population of 134,636 people and those are the votes that we are worth,” he added. In 2015 UN Human Rights Expert on Albinism Ikponwosa Ero, linked the killings of persons with albinism in Africa to elections, saying many political hopefuls believe that body parts of persons with albinism can be used as charms for one to win an election. (bold added by the webmaster FVDK)
Much has already been written (and said) about the late Thomas G. Quiwonkpa, one of the main perpetrators of the bloody 1980 coup in Liberia – if not the most important – who savagely toppled the regime of President William Tolbert. Thomas Quiwonkpa was a Gio from Nimba County and at the time of the coup a corporal in the Liberian Army. The reason why he did not emerge as the leader of the coup was that his comrade Samuel Kanyon Doe, a Krahn from Grand Gedeh County, was a master-sergeant in the same army, hence one military grade higher than Quiwonkpa. Doe thus became leader of the PRC, the People’s Redemption Council. Quiwonkpa was promoted General and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
However, the two comrades later fell out and – to shorten a long story – in 1983 Quiwonkpa fled to the United States to escape an inevitable death by Doe loyalists. After fraudulent elections in 1985, Quiwonkpa returned with a group of armed men to install the real winner but the attempted coup against Samuel Doe failed. Quiwonkpa was captured by Doe’s forces, killed and partly cannibalized, his mutilated body publicly exhibited.
Using parts of Quiwonkpa’s body for ritualistic purposes and exposing his mutilated body publicly was meant to create juju and to enhance his killers’ power and prestige. Notably Samuel Doe and his Krahn soldiers who had captured the late General were to benefit from the thus created juju. (Source: Fred van der Kraaij, ‘Liberia: From the Love of Liberty to Paradise Lost’. African Studies Centre Leiden, 2015, p.52-56).
Liberia’s history is full of irony. When in 1990 President Samuel Doe was tortured to death by rebel commander Prince Johnson and his group he suffered the same fate. Doe’s mutilated body was publicly exposed in Monrovia (Source: Idem, p. 63) Warning – readers are warned that the picture of the late President Doe (below) might be found disturbing.
On March 10, 2020 an article appeared in the Daily Observer, one of Liberia’s leading newspapers, entitled ‘Memorial to Late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa Under Construction in Ganta, and for shortness sake it will be reproduced below.
Memorial to Late Gen. Thomas G. Quiwonkpa Under Construction in Ganta
It appears to be one of the most unlikely places but, the Sanana Funeral Home in Ganta, along the road leading to Sanniquellie, Nimba County, has sealed on its wall the memorial of the late General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa. Quiwonkpa was killed in an aborted coup staged by him in 1985, and there is no trace of his grave as reports at the time noted that he was butchered with his heart extracted and testes placed in wine and drunk by his killers.
General Quiwonkpa, like some others including then Head-of-State Samuel Doe of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), who seized power in 1980 following the assassination of President William R. Tolbert on April 12, do not have graves and therefore their surviving families and relatives are not able to memorialize them on Decoration Day on the second Wednesday in March of every year.
The proprietor of the Sanana funeral home, Ebenezer Williams, told the Daily Observer that the late Quiwonkpa was one of Liberia’s heroes, but nothing has been enshrined in any part of Liberia as a memorial. The memorial, still under construction, is expected to be covered in marble.
“I saw him at the Du-Side Hospital when I was small at the time. He used to visit the hospital for an eye treatment, and was always sharing with us every time we visited him,” he said.
“Today, he is gone, but nothing is left of him as a memorial for someone to lay wreath or pay homage on Decoration Day or even the Armed Forces Day,” he said.
“This marble design in his honor will certainly make his memory not to be lost and will create an avenue for people for come to pay their respect,” he added.
The late General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa was born July 24, 1955 and was a member of the People’s Redemption Council, a governing military junta that overthrew President William Richard Tolbert on April 12, 1980, by assassination.
The late General Quiwonkpa defected from the PRC in 1983 after he was removed as Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia and given the position of Secretary-General.
He later went into exile and returned in 1985 as head of a dissident group called the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, which staged an aborted coup and was killed.
Since the brutal death of the late Quewonkpa, there has been no memorialization of him, neither in his county nor the country. Similar fate befell President Samuel Doe, who was also captured on September 9, 1990 and killed by the rebel group, Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) of Prince Johnson who is now a Senator of Nimba County. Sen. Johnson’s testimonies during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings indicated that Doe’s body was buried, then exhumed following request for an assessment. By tradition, since he could not be buried twice, the late President’s body was cremated and the ashes scattered in the river in Caldwell, where the INPFL had its base.
Williams, proprietor of the Sanana Funeral Home, is not a native of Nimba; however, he believes the slain General Quiwonkpa was a good and honest man in the Armed Forces of Liberia who needs to be remembered.
“We want people to constantly pay homage to this place and lay a wreath, either on his birthday, Decoration Day, or even the Armed Forces Day,” he concluded.
The people of Grand Gedeh County are also contemplating on erecting a monument in memory of slain President Samuel Doe to memorialize him. Scores of PRC members including Vice Head-of-State Thomas Wey-sehn and Deputy Vice Head-of-State, J. Nicholas Podier, also seem to have no identifiable graves to decorate.
Recommended additional reading for those interested in Liberia’s politics and history:
Quote: “Quiwonkpa was captured and on November 15 was killed and mutilated by Krahn soldiers loyal to Doe . His killers then dismembered his body and reportedly ate parts of it. His body was publicly exhibited on the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Monrovia soon after his death.” Unquote Source: Thomas Quiwonkpa – click here
Warning: a shocking account with graphic contents (webmaster FVDK): General Quiwonkpa and Marconi: a connection of deadly proportions – click here
Warning: the follows contains graphic details (webmaster FVDK): The Rise And Fall Of Samuel Doe Of Liberia (graphic Pics & Video ) – click here
Police have questioned several ‘persons of interest’ in connection with the dead 9-year old, named Lee Arthur, but have not arrested a suspect. This automatically leads to rumors of a cover-up in Liberia, where ordinary people are used to the impunity of ‘big shots’, as highly placed citizens are called, usually politicians or high ranking civil servants and law makers.
There are multiple reasons to remain vigilant and follow this case closely. The link between elections and ritual killings needs to be broken. In fact, the phenomenon of ritualistic murders should be banished from Liberia and become part of its history. After all, its 2020! (webmaster FVDK).
Published: February 6, 2020 By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers
SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – Despite efforts being exerted by police in Nimba to identify the murderer of Lee Arthur, a nine-year-old boy who was likely a victim of a ritualistic killing in late January this year, no suspect has yet been arrested.
A police source, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said those who were invited by the police in Bahn as persons of interest in the murder case have all been signed for by stakeholders in Lorplay and released to the community because of the lack of evidence linking them to the murder.
On Jan. 23, the boy was found dead in a hideout in Sahn Village in Nimba’s sixth district with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts, including his vocal cord. His arms were also skinned. The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts are an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.
Following police arrival on the crime scene, several persons were invited for questioning to determine whether they were linked to the murder. However, the police source has told The Bush Chicken that, after a thorough investigation of those individuals, they were released.
“They could still be invited at a later time, should the police find sufficient evidence enough to link any one of them,” the source said. “So they are going about their normal activities back home as the police try to find the perpetrators of such an ugly act.”
The source further noted that the community has been cooperative with the police during the investigation.
Meanwhile, following examination of the child’s body by police, medical personnel, and the coroners, he has been buried.
The source noted that because police in the area lacked the capacity to preserve the body as the investigation continues, they turned the corpse over to family members for burial.
Meanwhile, police in Nimba have not yet made any official statement about the case, as the investigation continues.
Sometimes even I am surprised, astonished, flabbergasted. I read about ritualistic killings, witchcraft and superstition nearly every day, but what I just read is mind-boggling.
Read below what Zambia’s MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba recently said (webmaster FVDK).
Zambia can be shipwrecked, Nevers warns pastors Published: February 1, 2020 By: The Mast (Zambia) – Tobias Phiri
RITUAL killings have always happened in Zambia towards elections, says MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba.
And Mumba says very few politicians operate without the use of charms, black magic.
He says he “knew the day would come when the Church’s relevance was going to be exaggerated because once these issues begin and people begin to kill for blood that they get into power or remain in power then it goes beyond politics. It’s now the spirit world as much as you [pastors] do and if you do not provide the necessary answers, Zambia can be ship wrecked.”
Speaking during a pastors’ conference in Lusaka’s Chawama township on Thursday, Mumba said it was the Church’s responsibility to pray for the country.
“We have issues going on in Chingola right now, people are being killed, sacrifice for blood and it is true. The Lord spoke to me many years ago that as we come close to any election in this country, those aspiring for power are going to be required to provide amounts of blood in order for them to win their elections. This is not a secret, it’s not [only] happening today, it happens always. Only that it has not been highlighted but I want you to understand that there is witchcraft in politics. Ever since I joined politics what I found is amazing,” he said.
“Very few [politicians] walk free. What they have wrapped around their waists, around their necks and their fingers, you may think its mere clothing but it’s what they use to survive and to win elections. That is why I say when the Church moves in and these things start falling off that is when Zambia shall be saved.”
And commenting on Nigerian prophet Andrew Ejimandu popularly known as Seer 1, Mumba asked Zambians to remain calm as nothing would happen. He urged the people to pray for their leaders.
“What is happening in our country should not scare anybody, its nothing. Zambia is firm on our Christian principles. Someone may ask, ‘what about what Seer is saying?’ None of that moves us, the only people who should be concerned are those who are seeking ‘power’ from him,” Mumba said.
“Pray for leaders whether in opposition or in government. Don’t say you can’t pray for that president because you don’t love him, pray because you love the Word of God [and] that you are the defender of Zambia. If you don’t pray for that president he will make a decision tomorrow that is going to make your children die along the way. I take time to pray for President [Edgar] Lungu myself as often as I can because the bible commands so – ‘pray for those in authority’.”
Mumba said: “If you turn to social media, you will be amazed by the intensity of debate on spiritual matters that affect our country today”.
“I knew the day would come when the Church’s relevance was going to be exaggerated because once these issues begin and people begin to kill for blood that they get into power or remain in power then it goes beyond politics. It’s now the spirit world as much as you [pastors] do and if you do not provide the necessary answers, Zambia can be ship wrecked,” he warned.
Mumba said the MMD under his leadership was going to turn around fortunes of the country.
“There are two forces that rule in every nation, the physical and the spiritual. I am not just in politics for political power, I am a double sim which is extremely dangerous. That is why spirits will fight me more than any other politician because I’m saying let us change the atmosphere. The atmosphere of Zambia must be changed and we are going to do it in Jesus’ name,” said Mumba.
Yesterday morning I posed a question – in fact, I made a statement expressing my opinion – but could not imagine that a sad event would soon confirm my view.
I stated: “Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.” See yesterday’s post Ritual murders and elections in Liberia
Then I read the news, later, yesterday evening. “Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites”.
Sad news. I prefer to have been wrong. When will it end in Liberia? When will it stop, ritualistic murders? How come that it does not stop in Liberia (and elsewhere)?
Many questions. Now first the facts. (webmaster FVDK).
Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites
Published: January 31, 2020 By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers
SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A 9-year-old boy has been found dead in a hideout in Nimba’s sixth district, with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts. The body of Lee Arthur was found on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Sahn Village.
The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts is an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.
Coroners from Boe and Quella administrative districts, as well as Liberia National Police officers in Bahn, Nimba’s seventh district, who visited the scene crime, have all ruled out death from natural causes, suggesting that the child was murdered.
The head of Boe and Quella Administrative District’s Coroner Office, Moses Kargou, described the incident as “too scaring” and the first of its kind in the district since he took up his position in 2005.
“Since my father who was the district coroner died in 2005, and the district people chose me to serve [in] the position, this is my first time to see such ugly act,” Kargou said. “People can get drowned in water, and several other deaths have been happening here. But today, to see someone butchered like [an] animal, it is bad.”
Kargou expressed doubts that the crime was committed by a stranger to the village, suggesting that the perpetrator must be a member of the community. His passionate plea, therefore, was for the police to bring the killers to justice. Kargou then pledged the village’s fullest cooperation in the investigation.
“We can only hear about these kinds of acts on the main road, but for someone to travel this far to commit such an act is really serious,” he noted.
Four persons are already suspected in the alleged murder and are currently in police custody in Bahn.
Following the coroners’ examination and police forensic investigation, the victim’s remains were turned over to his family who, without money to preserve it at a mortuary, has gone forward with burial.
There has been no formal indictment of any suspect as the police investigation continues.
Sometimes you have to read between the lines. Sometimes half a word is enough to understand what is meant. Sometimes a casual remark hides a world which makes you shiver. Senator Thomas S. Grupee of Nimba County, Liberia, who recently spoke at the induction ceremony of local youth leaders in Gbar Chiefdom, Nimba County just did it.
I want to share his remarks with you. Then judge for yourselves whether ritualistic killings have been eradicated from Liberian society. I will tell you my view in advance: Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.
I invite readers to react to my – maybe – provocative opinion. Am I right or wrong? (webmaster FVDK).
”We Should Not Be Belly Driven Voters” – Senator Thomas Grupee
Senator Thomas S. Grupee of Nimba County says citizens not to be a “belly driven” voters come October 2020 Special Senatorial Election.
Speaking at the induction ceremony of local youth leaders in Gbar Chiefdom, Nimba County recently, he warned them to be very careful of politicians who come, showing their “white teeth and black hearts”; and these politicians mostly come with huge money to dash it on the citizens/voters.
“We have so many white teeth, black heart, deceitful politicians, who will be coming to you with bags of rice; in fact with stolen money — money of your own,” he said in a loud voice, followed by an applause from the crowd.
He told them to be very careful, because these deceitful politicians will come at the eleventh hour of the campaign and dump money on the voters in order to win.
“Even though we lived in poverty, but we are not stupid and not destitute,” he added.
Although, Senator Grupee did not name such unscrupulous politicians in his remarks, he reiterated his warning by saying: “Even though you did not go to school to be educated, you have education on your own, like the late Chief Tuazama, the late chief Gblorzou Toweh and many former chiefs in Nimba’s history.”
Senator Grupee, who just returned home from the USA, where he underwent a month-long medical treatment praised Nimba as one of the best and prosperous counties in Liberia that need good face to represent them in the Senate.
“Nimba needs a fighter that will fight for you and need a person with integrity and with good record that is not tainted in any way,” he said.
He explained that it was through God’s grace that we survived the war and Nimba can also survive any situation through the same Almighty God, who helped the county and the country during the civil war.
He advised the citizens not to sell themselves to any politician come October 2020 election, as they will be coming to seek for their votes. Earlier, he on warned the citizens to desist from any unscrupulous behaviors, like ritualistic killing and respect the rights of everybody, regardless of whether that person is a child, poor or rich.
He noted that God made everybody equal and, under the law, everybody is also equal. Therefore, he added, “taking the life of other for ritual purpose in order to get rich or get highest position was wrong,” he said.
He observed that the level of deceit in Nimba is too much; something he said the county will be develops when deceit and hatred are the key backbone.
“If am a good leader, I should not lead you in harmful way or mislead you in any way. If I go wrong, I should be able to apologize for wrongdoing,” he said.
Senator Grupee still remains one of the formidable candidates in the coming senatorial election slated for October this year. During his tenure, he visited nearly every part of Nimba, undertaking and contributing to development initiatives.
Among the key the development initiatives, he built a modern school building in Glann Town in Gbi and Doru, making it the first modern school building in the district.
Published: September 9, 2018 By: Daji Sani (ThisDay)
Yola — More than 20 children have been reported missing in Adamawa State in the last three months, THISDAY has learnt.
Investigation revealed that the state had been receiving several complaints over missing children, which had caused panic among parents in the state. Some residents, who spoke privately with THISDAY, alleged that the incessant abduction of children may not be unconnected with the political activities in the state.
One of the residents alleged that the abducted children “are used by some politicians to gain spiritual powers and oust any opposition that stand on their way come 2019.” Another resident from Yola North Local Government Area, Mr. Usman Aliyu lamented that over 20 children “have been reported missing following their mysterious disappearance and have not returned home to their parents.”
He said almost every week, advertisements “are place in the media over missing children and nobody knows their whereabouts. This rampant missing of children have become a serious threats to children’s upbringing in the state”.
“Our wards cannot longer move freely due to the political activities because it is believed that the children are missing because some politicians are using them for spiritual powers to win the coming 2019 general elections,” he alleged.
Another source revealed that some people “are heartless to the point that they are kidnapping children for rituals. The security agencies in the state need to beef up security. They should step up operation to arrest those behind the heinous crime.
“Following the development, the State Police Command has alerted the general public over the incessant disappearance of children saying this has become a serious threat to the citizens of the state. The command in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Habibu Musa urged the residents to be alert and be security conscious due to the rising case of abduction. It urged parents and residents “to be security conscious and be watchful over the movement of their wards. Those related to those that convey their wards to school to and fro.”
It urged parents to warn their wards from free rides and receiving gifts from strangers. However the police did not mention the numbers of missing children in its press release.
I’ve highlighted the fear of people with albinism in Malawi – in general but notably during elections campaigns – on more than one occasion. See my previous postings (click ‘Malawi’ in the dropdown menu under ‘African countries’ and scroll through the articles). On May 21 general elections were held to elect the President, National Assembly and local government councillors. Incumbent President Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) successfully ran for a second term in office though the election results were contested by the opposition and led to much protests, supporters of the opposition accusing President Butharika and Jane Ansah – the chair of the Malawi Electoral Commission – of election rigging. Be that as it may, once more it became clear that the position of Malawians living with albinism is difficult and not without dangers, notably during election periods, as the author of the article states. I have left out the political paragraphs of this article which are not relevant for the purpose of this website, but readers interested in the political background of the fight for the presidency are recommended to consult the original article (see Source, below). (webmaster FVDK)
Published: May 20, 2019 By Chakuchanya Harawa (BBC Africa)
Nearly seven million Malawians will have the chance to vote for a new president on 21 May in one of the most unpredictable elections in the country’s history.
7. Murder of people with albinism
Another issue that has dominated the campaigns is a spate of attacks on people with albinism ahead of the vote.
There is anxiety in presidential circles that the issue could damage the DPP’s chances.
A UN report suggested that attacks and killings of people with albinism increase during election periods “because of false beliefs that their body parts can bring good luck and political power when used in witchcraft related rituals”.
Recently, a key suspect in the abduction of a person with albinism died while in police custody.
An independent forensic autopsy revealed he had been electrocuted, raising fears among some Malawians that powerful people could be behind the attacks.
Opposition parties accuse the Mutharika administration of not doing enough to stop the attacks.
The president disputes this and appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the killings.
News from Swaziland, a tiny country in Southern Africa, surrounded by the republic of South Africa, seldom reaches the outside world. Yet it is one of the most amazing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, not the least because the country is ruled by a king with absolute powers. Ritual killings occur frequently in Swaziland, sometimes during election campaigns, and the monarch has on more than one occasion spoken against these atrocious crimes. In this 2018 article the Swaziland Conference of Churches speaks out against ritual killings, condemns the barbaric act of killing innocent persons for muti purposes and has issued a stern warning (webmaster FVDK).
Published: June 8, 2018 By: Sifiso Nhlabatsi (Swazi Observer)