Liberia: ‘Devils’ and ‘Dragons’ – defendant details victim’s death

The case presented below refers to a posting of early this year, on January 26, entitled More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County (published by The New Dawn, January 25, 2019). As noted in the article below it is a bizar, strange story and there is no proof that any of the defendants in the murder trial speaks the truth. However, the trial clearly establishes that traditional societies in which witchcraft and juju medicine play an important role still exist in Liberia. It is only one step further to the criminal practices of ritualistic killings. Did the father of the late Willette Nyewallah make this step?

We may never know the answer. However, we will continue to follow up on this story and, in case new developments occur, will inform you accordingly (webmaster FVDK).

Featured photo by Sampson David

Published: August 29, 2019
By: Sampson David – The Bush Chicken

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A suspect in the Sinoe gang rape and murder trial has testified in court, accusing the father of the late Willette Nyewallah of ordering his daughter’s murder.

Moses Solo is one of ten suspects the government is trying for torturing and gang-raping three women accused of witchcraft and murdering one of them.

Solo, who acknowledged being a member of the traditional society and called himself the spokesperson for the ‘devil,’ testified last week accusing the victim’s father, Amos Nyewallah, of being the acting traditional chairman of the district.

He said when the three women were turned over to the traditional society because they had been accused of witchcraft, Amos Nyewallah called the devil to come take the women away. The town crier then asked all those around to go indoors, he said.

Solo said once all townspeople were indoor, the devil took the three women to the boundaries of the town. He said it was then that Amos Nyewallah ordered the devil to take away his daughter and extract a body part of hers to use in ritual to solidify his position within the traditional society.

“He told us that he wanted something from his daughter’s body to correct his medicine because the position he currently occupies is someone else’s position, but the person was suspended and if the suspended traditional chairman pays his fine, he could come back to his position,” Solo explained, noting that the victim’s father asked for her left eye.

In a bizarre twist of an already strange tale, Solo said the pain brought on by the removal of the victim’s eye drove her to get angry and she transformed into a dragon to attack the devil. Provoked, the devil then knocked the victim down, killing her. Solo said she was buried near a small creek at 6:30 p.m.

Although activities occurring within the traditional society are meant to be completely secret, Solo said he could not hide anything because the matter has reached to the court.

He also claimed that members of the traditional society were less likely to have raped the women because a traditional law had been passed by the devil that would fine anyone found guilty of rape US$50 and one bag of rice.

He said the two survivors do not know the identities of their rapists, but he knows them. Solo added that of all the suspects on trial, only he and Alex Carpeh, who was also on trial, were members of the traditional society.

On Tuesday, August 27, Amos Nyewallah, the victim’s father, took the witness stand to deny Solo’s allegations that he ordered his own daughter’s death.

While he acknowledged being a member of the traditional society, he said he held no position there and warned that Solo’s statements could damage his reputation.

Nyewallah noted that he worked through the commissioner’s office as chairman of Nomorpoe District, where he is responsible for settling disputes between residents and the Golden Veroleum concession company.

Nyewallah further said he was not present when the incident occurred, but when he returned, he went on the scene at about 6:00 p.m. to where the women were being held to ask the traditional people to release his daughter. His request was, however, refused.

Nyewallah said he then went to the commissioner to complain, but the commissioner told him to continue to plead with the traditional people.

The following day, Nyewallah said he was informed by one of the survivors, Florence Tarkleh, that his daughter had been killed and buried. He said when that happened, family members of the defendants took large sums of money to him to appease him over the death of his daughter, but he told them that the matter was now before the government.

For his part, the district commissioner of Nonorpoe, Alfred Jawolo, corroborated Nyewallah’s story that the victim’s father attempted to get the district commissioner to assist in releasing his daughter.

On the first day of the trial of the case, the Criminal Services Department commander for Sinoe, Joseph Doeplay, also testified that Amos Nyewallah had reported to the police that his daughter was being beaten along with two others. Doeplay said it was because of Nyewallah’s complaint that the suspects were charged and sent to court.

Meanwhile, the court has jailed a man for interfering in the trial by signaling to defendants who have been testifying. Dickson Brown, a resident of Greenville, Sinoe, was first caught signaling to defendants on August 19 when the defendants first began testifying. However, he was pardoned by the court based on the intervention of authorities from Sinoe who were also watching the trial.

The next day, Brown repeated his actions, prompting the court to charge him with contempt of court. He was placed behind bars at the Upper Buchanan Prison Compound from August 20 until August 27. After he was released, authorities directed him to avoid the premises of the Second Judicial Circuit Court until the case has ended.

Source: ‘Devils’ and ‘Dragons’ – Sinoe Gang Rape Case Progresses as Defendant Details Victim’s Death

Zimbabwe: life in jail for 24yr old man who murdered fellow villager for body parts

There is a difference between ritualistic murders which are intended to gain more wealth and/or prestige or increase one’s chances to win elections and the cold-blooded murdering of people to sell their body parts. However, both types of crime have in common that the murdering of innocent people is based on the superstition that the juju or muti which result from these heinous practices works. The following example illustrates this.
(The editor FVDK).

Published: July 5, 2019
By: ZimEye

A 24-year-old man from Chimanimani who killed a fellow villager and harvested body parts for ritual purposes has been slapped with a life jail sentence after he was found guilty of committing murder with actual intent.

The suspect, Victor Dinga of Munaka Village under Chief Chikukwa, showed no remorse since the trial began. He struck the victim with a machete, took several body parts which he then placed in a bag and later asked his brother-in-law to refrigerate.

While reading out the sentence, Senior Mutare High Court Judge, Justice Hlekani Mwayera, said Dinga was supposed to hang for committing the crime and was only lucky due to the ongoing debate around the death sentence.

During trial Dinga left court officials in a state of disbelief as he gave a chilling account on how he committed the grisly murder.

He told the court that he planned the murder because he wanted to sell the body parts in South Africa and then buy a house and a car from the proceeds.

However, his plan hit a brick wall after his brother-in-law refused to refrigerate the body parts and subsequently sold him out to the police.

Ms Jane-Rose Matsikidze prosecuted.

“Dinga and the deceased Cephas Mubarenyana lived in seperate villages and the deceased stayed alone,” she said.

“On September 24 last year in the morning, the accused person approached the deceased at his home and asked him to help carry some planks from Martin Forests for a fee. Unknown to the deceased, the suspect had a machete hidden inside his pair of trousers.”

On arrival in Martin Forest, the accused suddenly pulled out the machete and struck the deceased on the neck and above the left ear, killing him instantly.

He then dragged the deceased’s body into a bush before proceeding to harvest certain body parts. He took the body parts to Chikukwa Business Centre where he asked his brother-in-law, Aaron Mashava, to refrigerate them for him.

“Having refused to refrigerate the human body parts, the brother-in-law later mobilised other villagers leading to the recovery of the body parts and the arrest of the suspect. A post-mortem examination concluded that the death was as a result of severe head injury and exsanguinations,” said Ms Matsikidze.

Mashava told the court that he was inside his shop when the suspect approached him asking him to refrigerate the bag containing the body parts.

He became curious when the suspect told him that the bag should not be opened. On being asked about its contents, the suspect told him that it contained human body parts.

Suspecting that the accused person had killed a person, Mashava informed his neighbour who in turn called the councillor and the trio then approached Constable Blessing Muroda.

The quartet went to the suspect’s house where he led them to a disused toilet where the bag and its contents were hung.

Source: Life In Jail For 24yr Old Man Who Murdered Fellow Villager For Body Parts

Provinces of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: MP Shocked As School Kids Made to Research Ritual Murders

The reproduced article below is interesting as it refers to the occurrence of the phenomenon of ritual murders in Zimbabwe and the removal of private body parts to practice juju though it does not cite a particular case. I found the news relevant enough for the purpose of this site. Definitely, not all cases of ritualistic killings are discovered or reported and what we know of these atrocities is only the top of the iceberg. Since the original article published  by the Zimbabwean news site NewZimbabwe.com could not be accessed I have used the reproduction by allAfrica.com. The reader should know that articles on the latter site disappear behind a paywall after a certain lapse of time.
(webmaster FVDK)

Zimbabwe: MP Shocked As School Kids Made to Research Ritual Murders, Vows to Fight for the Withdrawal of the New Curriculum

Published: February 4, 2018
By: NewZimbabwe.com

Zanu PF legislator, Joseph Tshuma, has taken a swipe at the education curriculum, describing the new syllabus as retrogressive and shocking.

The MP for Mpopoma-Phelandaba also vowed to fight for the withdrawal of the curriculum in parliament.

“I was shocked to hear of some of the contents of the new education curriculum when I visited various schools with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on a fact finding mission this week.

“For example, the new curriculum requires students to carry out research on how people practice juju by killing other people and get their private body parts. What values are we inculcating in our young people?” asked Tshuma.

He also criticised the new education programme for burdening students, especially those at primary school, with various research projects.

Tshuma and his committee visited various schools to gather information and views on the new curriculum.

“The parliamentary portfolio committee on education is on a fact finding mission to find out the effects of the new education curriculum and other related matters. The committee wanted to find out how the education curriculum is being viewed as well as the challenges which students and teachers are encountering in implementing this syllabus,” added the Zanu PF legislator.

On Tuesday last week, the committee visited Entumbane High school, Mpopoma High, Mpumelelo Primary School, Milton Junior and Petra High in Bulawayo.

The committee has also visited some schools in Norton, Gweru and Chegutu. The team is also expected to visit some schools in Matebeleland South and Matebeleland North.

The new education curriculum, introduced by former Primary and Secondary Education minister, Lazarus Dokora, has faced stiff resistance from parents but Dokora has defended it.

Dokora’s predecessor, Paul Mavhima, has promised to review some aspects of the controversial education programme although he said it was going to remain.

Sierra Leone: The country where children fear election time

WARNING: Readers may find this story disturbing

Mabinty Kamara – she was found murdered with several parts missing

Published: March 31, 2018
By: BBC

When elections come round in Sierra Leone parents are warned to take extra care of their children, as it’s feared that candidates or their supporters may abduct them and use their organs in black magic rituals. Olivia Acland reports on troubling signs that the rumours may be true.

At 10:00 on Friday 16 February, less than a month before Sierra Leone’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections, 14-year-old Mabinty Kamara clambered down the rocky path outside her house in Freetown. She was wearing a knee-length black skirt and grey polo shirt, and was swinging two plastic jerry cans.

The water pump was about 800m away – just a few minutes’ scramble down and up the stony mud lane carved into the hillside. With her mother away visiting relatives, Mabinty had been told to fetch water by her 25-year-old sister, Alimatu, who was at home finishing up the other morning chores. As Muslims, this was the first day of their weekend.

Alimatu swept the floor of their scruffy, tin-roofed house and shook out the bed sheets. She cooked some rice for her younger brother, sister, and cousin, and washed up the pans. After a couple of hours, though, she started to wonder why Mabinty had not returned. She scrambled down the path, shouting her sister’s name, expecting to find her sitting with friends and gossiping.

At the water pump a gaggle of women said that they hadn’t seen Mabinty, so she started knocking on neighbours’ doors and questioning people on the streets. After hours of fruitless searching she went home and waited, thinking that perhaps her sister had returned to the house when she was out, and since left again. Anxious hours passed and finally at 18:30 Alimatu went to the police station to report her sister missing.

“A policeman told me to go home and that he’d call me if they found her,” she says, twisting one of her short dreadlocks. “I couldn’t sleep at all that night, it’s not like her to stay out. I was very worried.”

The room where Mabinty lived with Alimatu, another sister and a younger brother

Alimatu spent the next four days wandering all over Freetown, checking areas where runaway children are known to sleep rough. She showed a zoomed-in picture of Mabinty, which she had downloaded to her phone from Facebook, to more than 100 strangers.

Five days later she had reached Waterloo, a traffic-clogged industrial suburb an hour’s drive from her house, when she received a call from one of her neighbours. He shouted down the phone that Mabinty had been found: her dead body was wedged between some buildings at the back of the Ministry of Education. She was identifiable by her black skirt, grey top, and the two empty jerry cans lying beside her. Her right leg had been cut off at the knee.

But she was missing more than just a leg, says Dr Owiss Koroma, Sierra Leone’s only pathologist. On examining her body he found that her tongue, ovaries, intestines, womb, fallopian tube and vagina had also been taken. Someone had removed them with surgical precision. The case, says Koroma, has all the hallmarks of a ritual killing.

These murders, carried out so that body parts can be used in black magic rituals, usually involve child victims, whose younger and healthier organs are thought to be more powerful than those of an adult.

“People use body parts for fame, wealth, or to gain power,” says Ibrahim Samura, head of media for Sierra Leone’s police force. The parts can be used in different ways, depending on the purpose. Tongues are thought to empower a person to speak well, for example. A juju man will say, “I need a female breast,” Samura says. “It will be used as a charm or a sacrifice.”

Ibrahim Samura: Parents should not allow unaccompanied children to the beach or to parties

It’s thought that the juju man’s clients could be local or national politicians, or anyone with a strong interest in the outcome of the vote – and that the body parts may sometimes be eaten.

Koroma says cases of ritual killing occur in Sierra Leone every so often, even when elections are not approaching, but he is aware of three cases in the last six months – significantly more than usual.

The first of the victims was a 10-year-old girl in Western Freetown, whose remains were found in a large, checked bag made from thick plastic. She was missing her left ear, left leg, left arm and part of her vagina. After this case, he examined Mabinty Kamara’s mutilated body, and most recently – on 15 March, after the first day of voting but before this weekend’s elections – the dismembered body of a four-year-old, found in a forest in Port Loko, in the north-west of the country. The child had been decapitated, and every organ had been removed, except for the liver. There were two holes in the back of the cranium. Koroma says he is alarmed by the precision of the surgery, as it suggests that someone with significant medical experience was involved.

Police also say there has been a spike in reports of missing children – though they are unable to provide statistics – and have responded with a nationwide publicity campaign.

“We use community radio stations right across the country to alert parents and community leaders about the trend of crime relating to missing children,” says Ibrahim Samura. We tell them that they shouldn’t allow their children under 18 to go to the beach or to parties unaccompanied.”

The message seems to have got through.

A shy schoolgirl told me last week that she is now scared to walk the 4km from school to her house in the village. Anxious parents have said that they are warning their offspring to be particularly cautious – not to accept sweets or lifts from friendly-looking strangers.

Outskirts of Freetown – Sierra Leone

But rumours can swirl out of control. When two children were found dead in the back of a car in January, an online newspaper reported that “cannibalistic rituals, by “devilish politicians” had long been a problem at election times. Pathologist Owiss Koroma examined the bodies, though, and says the children died from carbon monoxide poisoning; there was no evidence of ritual killing.

Those most at risk of abduction are children sleeping out on the streets. Jorge Crisfulli, country director for the Don Bosco Fambul child-welfare organisation, says that between 20 and 25 children have approached his staff seeking shelter in Freetown in recent weeks and that others have returned to their villages.

Twelve-year-old Abdul says he narrowly escaped a ritual killing after climbing on to a neighbour’s roof to retrieve a lost football. The occupants of the house seized him and started beating his head against a step, accusing him of trying to steal from them. He was then held for days in a room, where he was tortured and drugged, he says, until he overheard a chilling conversation between two of the men.

“One of the brothers said let him kill me, cut the parts that you want, and put the rest into black plastic bags to throw in the gutter,” Abdul says.

That evening he escaped and went to the police, who called Don Bosco asking them to take him into their care.

Adia Benton, a cultural anthropologist at Northwestern University in Chicago who has studied Sierra Leone for years, says ritual killing, or at least rumours of ritual killing, “escalate around elections, or times of power struggle”. She remembers hearing similar stories during elections in the country in 2007. The alleged victims were always children.

The country’s most notorious court case, however, involved an adult and was not election-related.

In 2015 a DJ, known as DJ Clef, was invited to play a set at a party in the house of famous herbalist Baimba Moy Foray. Clef, whose real name is Sydney Buckle, was later found dead, missing his genitals, toes, fingers and nose. It’s rare for anyone to be arrested and prosecuted in ritual killing cases, but Baimba Moy Foray and an accomplice were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging – though this was later changed to life imprisonment.

Nobody has yet been prosecuted in connection to Mabinty’s case. Thirteen suspects were rounded up and then released on bail. Alimatu is one of them.

“Every day I must report to the police station to sign in,” she says.

She would normally spend her days selling oil and rice to make money to support her younger siblings, but lately she’s just been sitting listlessly on the steps of her house.

“I don’t feel like selling now, I don’t feel good,” she says.

“It makes me so sad. Only God knows what happened to my sister.”

The police officer who was initially in charge of the case, A S P Mansaray, says three of the suspects were guards from the Ministry of Education and another nine were a random selection of Mabinty’s neighbours who were around at the time of the crime.

He hoped that even if they were not the killers they might be able to provide useful information. However, so far no leads or evidence have emerged. It looks set to be another unsolved crime.

Photographs by Olivia Acland

Source: BBC, 31 March 2018