Almost nine weeks have elapsed since my last post, on June 30. As was the case when I introduced a four-week pause in my reporting on ritualistic activities and killings in Sub-Saharan Africa, this silence does not mean that there weren’t any ritual murders in this period. On the contrary, far from it!
The nine weeks’ pause resulted in a substantial backlog. Newspaper articles published during this period report new ritual murders all over the continent. A quick scan shows that in the past two months ritual murders have been committed in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe (in alphabetical order), in most countries more than one. In Nigeria, with 211 million people Africa’s most populated country, ritual murders – aka ‘money rituals’ – were reported in the following states: Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Niger, Osun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and in the FCT Abuja.
Moreover, newspapers in Ghana reported extensively on the Kasoa case whereas in Zimbabwe the Tapiwa Makore trial was widely covered.
It is important to mention that the murder cases reported are likely to constitute the tip of the iceberg and that our quick scan only covers the anglophone African countries.
Of the countries mentioned above two countries stand out: Ghana and Nigeria. For this reason I will elaborate on the ritual murders in these two West African countries in my next postings (webmaster FVDK).
Due to circumstances I haven’t posted any article on this site for nearly four weeks. The reason for this silence on my part was certainly not the lack of ritual murder cases reported in this period. In the past four weeks African newspapers reported on ritual murder cases and related ritualistic acts in a number of SSA countries, notably in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe (in chronological order), with Nigeria leading this ugly list and Zimbabwe ranking second.
Having said this, two observations merit specific mentioning. First, as the list shows, the countries mentioned are all English-speaking countries (a heritage of their colonial past). This creates a distortion in the observation or analysis with a bias creating the impression that in non-anglophone countries ritual murders would not occur. Far from that! It is just a consequence of the fact that the collection of articles and reports on these heinous acts based on superstition is too narrow based. I have also reported this problem in a distinct section of this site (see under ‘Methodology’).
Secondly, and as I have also repeatedly stated on this site, we must fear that reported ritual killing cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Many cases of disappeared children, men and women remain unresolved, the bodies of the victims have successfully been hidden by the murderers. The effort of perpetrators to wipe out all traces of their crimes reveals an important aspect of nowadays ritualistic murders. The murderers know very well that their act is illegal, and constitutes one of the worst crimes one can imagine: to take the life of an innocent person for personal gains. Ritualistic acts may have been based originally – in the past – on traditional beliefs serving the interests of a community, in the course of the 20th century these practices have become criminal activities fed by a desire to become rich, famous or another selfish goal.
Another ritual murder case in Kenya. At least, all indications point to this cruel, senseless crime motivated by greed and based on superstition. Warning: the following stories contain graphic details of the murder of a young child (webmaster FVDK).
Murang’a: Girl, 8, found dumped with missing body parts hours after she disappeared
Shock has engulfed Kayu village in Kangema, Murang’a after a body of an eight-year-old girl was discovered badly mutilated and some body parts missing in what is believed to be a ritual killing.
According to the locals, the minor, Hannah Wambui went missing on Monday evening at around 7.30 pm. At the time, Wambui was at their shop located in their home compound and a search was immediately launched.
Kangema Subcounty Police Commander John Ogolla said they had arrested a 34-year-old neighbour of the deceased who is a casual labourer and was conducting investigations to establish whether he was involved in the murder.
Gideon Gitahi, the local Nyumba Kumi chairperson said after receiving a distress call from the deceased’s father, residents decided to move door to door in search of the little girl.
“Her mother had gone to look after a sick relative in Nairobi and so the deceased had been left under the care of her father. The girl went missing while the father was preparing supper in the main house,” said Gitahi.
He added that after conducting a search, the villagers found one of the deceased’s socks at the main suspect’s bedside and the police were promptly called.
Even after the police arrested the culprit, locals continued with their search mission for the whole night.
The long search came to an end after one of the neighbours who was involved in the search stepped on the body which had been dumped at a tea plantation.
Stephen Mwangi said the body had its private parts removed and skinned from the chest to the stomach.
“I could not look at the body twice, I made a distress call and when people came, they confirmed that it was the missing girl,” Mwangi said.
Mwangi joined his neighbours in alluding that the girl died of a cult activity but they also suspected that she could have been defiled before being killed.
“Her clothes were found in Kianguku shopping centre but her socks were found at the bed of the main suspect leads us to conclude that he could have defiled the minor,” locals claimed.
But it is the lack of bloodstains at the scene that baffled the locals who are yet to find any sign of bloodstains at any place in the village.
“Even if the girl was killed elsewhere and the body transferred to the scene, we could have seen bloodstains, and again the private parts were missing,” Gitahi said.
The deceased was a Standard One pupil at Rwathia Primary School and was the firstborn in a family of two.
Outrage over ritual-like murder of 8 year-old girl in Murang’a
Published: March 2, 2021 By: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation – Sylvia Ombuya/ Wambui Mwangi
Police in Murang’a County have launched investigations into the mysterious murder of an 8 year-old girl.
The badly mutilated body of Hannah Wambui was discovered shortly after she went missing on Monday evening
According to residents of Kayu village in Kangema Constituency , the minor went missing on Monday evening at around 7:30 pm at their shop located in their home compound when the search ensued.
According to area Nyumba Kumi Initiative chairperson Gideon Gitahi, residents decided to conduct a door to door search for the girl after receiving a distress call from the deceased father.
“Her mother had gone to look after a sick relative in Nairobi and so the deceased had been left under the care of her father. When the father was preparing supper, the girl was in their shop located in their homestead. After conducting a search from door to door, we found one sock at the bed of the main suspect and we called the police, it was around 10pm,” Gitahi said.
Even after the police arrested the culprit, locals continued with their search mission overnight.
“Her clothes were found in Kianguku shopping centre but her socks were found at the bed of the main suspect leading us to conclude that he could have defiled the minor,” locals claimed.
One of the neighbors who was on his way to answer the distress call stumbled on the body which had been dumped at a tea plantation bringing to an end the long search.
According to Stephen Mwangi, the body had its private parts removed and skinned from the chest to the stomach in what has triggered fears that the murder could have been a ritual killing.
“I could not look at the body twice, I also made a distress call and people came and confirmed that it was the missing girl,” Mwangi said.
The deceased was a Standard One pupil at Rwathia Primary School and was the first born in a family of two.
The body of an eight-year-old who went missing last night (Monday) was on Tuesday, March 2 found in Kayu Village, Murang’a county. The girl was brutally murdered and dumped at a tea plantation
Hannah Wambui was a grade one pupil at Rwathia Primary school went missing on March 1, 2021. According to residents, she had been left in the care of her father after her mother left for Nairobi to care for a sick relative.
She reportedly went missing at 7:30 pm at their shop in the homestead while her father was making supper. The father called the local Nyumba Kumi Chair, Gideon Gitahi who called for an immediate door-to-door search.
“Her mother had gone to look after a sick relative in Nairobi and so the deceased had been left under the care of her father. The girl went missing while the father was preparing supper in the main house,” stated Gitahi.
One of the members of the search party raised an alarm after finding one of the girls’ socks in a man’s house.
“Her clothes were found in Kianguku shopping center but her socks were found at the bed of the main suspect leading us to conclude that he could have defiled the minor,” the locals reported.
However, police are also pursuing the angle of a ritual killing as the girl’s private parts had been removed.
The man was arrested but the search went on until one neighbor stepped on the body of the girl in a tea plantation.
“I could not look at the body twice, I made a distress call and when people came, they confirmed that it was the missing girl,” said Mwangi who has found the body.
There were no bloodstains at the scene where she was found which led the locals to believe that the act must have been propagated elsewhere.
“Even if the girl was killed elsewhere and the body transferred to the scene, we could have seen bloodstains, and again the private parts were missing,” added Gitahi.
Kangema Subcounty Police Commander John Ogolla said they arrested the 34-year-old man in whose house a sock was found and investigations are underway to unravel the murder.
Today, a voice from Kenya: the voice of Isaac Mwaura, senator for persons living with disabilities (PWDs). He is the first Member of Parliament (MP) in Kenya with albinism. It is important to emphasize the fact that Isaac Mwaura himself is a person living with albinism, so he knows what he’s talking about. He knows the constraints which people living with disabilities have to face in society, he knows what discrimination means in practice, he knows the dangers which notably people living with albinism have to confront.
You’ll find his impressive Wikipedia page here. Isaac Mwaura can be followed on Twitter where he tweets as @MwauraIsaac1
In the message reproduced below senator Isaac Mwaura sumps up what he has been able to achieve since he was elected in parliament. It is an impressive list, though far from complete. Still much has to be done to protect the interests of people living with albinism which forms a broad and varied group. It is significant that – inter alinea – he mentions that he has been able to rescue Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing.
In several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa people with albinism are being hunted, kidnapped, mutilated and killed for obscure reasons based on superstition. The example of Isaac Mwaura merits to be duplicated in other SSA countries. Let his voice be heard! (webmaster FVDK).
People have been asking me what has been achieved so far in representing people living with disability in Parliament and politics in general.
My answer is simple: A lot has really been achieved, against all odds.
It’s important to note the marginalisation, stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities has been going on for thousands of years. This is largely because of the way many societies perceive the functional, and indeed, utilitarian aspects of a human being, especially a child who is born differently.
Disability in many societies has been seen as a taboo, a bad omen or even a disease. Therefore, very few people are socialised to embrace it. This means a lot of the work we do is to ‘deconstruct’ these notions on one hand, and also to increase equal opportunities for PWD.
In my journey for eight years since the constitutionally recognised representation of PWDs, the first thing I did upon assumption of office was to form an association of all MPs with disabilities.
I formed the Kenya Disability Parliamentary Association (Kedipa) with 13 members, five of whom were nominated to represent persons with disabilities, six directly elected by the people in single member constituencies, and one being a parent.
Kedipa became the first caucus of its kind in the history of Parliament. The aim was to create synergy amongst MPs for the disability agenda to be promoted in Parliament.
For example, Parliament wasn’t as accessible to wheelchair users and people with other mobility difficulties. In this regard, we pushed for the modification of the chamber and provided an extra aide to assist those with mobility difficulties.
Through legislative proposals, I have been able to to increase the retirement age of PWDs from 60 to 65 years to compensate for years lost due to lack of employment.
I have also been able to help hundreds of PWDs secure jobs in the public and private sectors. I have also ensured several of them were appointed to constitutional offices such as constitutional commissions.
A very interesting innovation is the enrollment of youth with disabilities into the National Youth Service. This paramilitary training was perceived as not attainable by PWDs, yet hundreds have since graduated with useful skills for the nation. This is the world’s first programme of its kind.
In terms of education, I have successfully pushed to increase funding to special schools, helped create a full directorate of special needs education from a division at the Ministry of Education.
I pushed to create a special allocation of funds to education assessment resources centres and ensured all boards of management in all public schools include a representative of PWDs.
For the first time in the history of Parliament, special schools learners have visited the House to follow live proceedings, and I have enabled some of them to get school buses.
I have also visited special schools across many counties in far-off places such as as Lisa Hola School for the Deaf in Tana River.
PWDs are now represented in the NGCDF from the constituency level to the national board. They are also represented in all the Uwezo Fund committees.
Kenya Sign Language has now been elevated to to English and Kiswahili to ensure the deaf have an equal chance, over and above ensuring TV stations provide this critical service.
In government budgeting, I pushed to increase the funds allocated to the NCPWD from Sh700 million to Sh1.8 billion to cater for amongst others, cash transfer for Kenyans with severe disabilities.
Further, persons with albinism receive free sunscreen lotion, protective gear and skin cancer treatment from the government, thanks to my work.
I also started the Mr & Miss Albinism beauty pageantry to create awareness. Then other African countries have adopted this.
I have also lobbied for the creation of the position of the Africa Union Special Envoy on the rights of persons with albinism. I have also lobbied the EU Parliament to adopt fair treatment of albinism as a human rights issue.
Additionally, I have also rescued Kenyans with albinism, including children, from ritual killing. In 2019, I helped PWAs to be counted for the first time, including the intersex persons who heretofore hadn’t been recognised in Kenya.
Through the AT2030 project, I have pushed for the production of a local electric wheelchair that is affordable and durable in our terrain.
I have sponsored the highest number of bills in the Senate.
A lot remains to be done but we have progress to build upon for a better tomorrow for all of us. As someone said, disability is a club, anybody can be a member.
See my January 20 and January 25, 2021 postings for background information on this ritual murder. Warning: some readers may find the story disturbing (webmaster FVDK).
Tharaka Nithi girl killed in bizarre ritual sacrifice buried
Published: January 27, 2021 By: The Nation, Kenya – Alex Njeru
The nine-year-old girl from Tharaka Nithi who was beheaded last week in what was suspected to be a ritual sacrifice was on Tuesday buried in an emotional ceremony at her home in Mpingu village, Maara Sub-county.
Bitter relatives, local leaders, teachers and the villagers eulogised Debra Kagendi, who was a Grade Two pupil at Kiurani Primary School, as an obedient girl and demanded justice over her killing.
The Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders led by Maara Constituency chapter vice-secretary, Mr Gilbert Kathendu, also castigated the heinous act and urged the residents to remain calm as the matter goes on in court but vowed to conduct a traditional ritual to curse the act.
The clergy also announced plans to conduct prayers in the region to cleanse the area of evil activities such as witchcraft.
Marimanti MCA Susan Ngugi and her Mwimbi counterpart Jonnes Kinegeni asked police to conduct thorough investigations and build a water-tight case against the suspected criminals.
Ms Ngugi decried the rise in child abuse and gender-based violence in Magutuni area and asked the local administration to weed out the criminals.
“We are urging those handling the murder case to make sure that the truth is known and justice is served,” said Ms Mwindu.
Mr Kinegeni urged parents to be keen on the whereabouts of their children, especially girls, because cases of child abuse are on the rise in the region.
Mwimbi Deputy County Commissioner Elaine Kaale assured the residents that investigation officers are doing everything to unearth the truth that they will present in court against the suspects.
She called for calm and warned the villagers against taking the law into their hands by doing any vengeful act.
The body of the girl was found at the home of a suspected witch-doctor, Mr Suleiman Mati Mukiira, 94, on January 17, 2021.
Maara Sub-County Police Commander Mohammed Jarso said they found the head of the girl at a different place from where the torso was.
He added that they also found carcasses of a goat and chicken with missing hearts.
Following the incident, police arrested Mukiira and Mr Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, who were presented in court as suspects.
Police asked for seven days to continue holding them as they conclud investigations.
On Monday, the two were brought before Senior Resident Magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi but did not take a plea as police asked for more time to conduct a post-mortem on the girl’s body and also take the suspects for a mental tests.
Suspects in Tharaka Nithi ritual sacrifice remanded 7 days
Published: January 19, 2021 By: Nation, Kenya – Alex Njeru
What you need to know:
The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32.
Police in Tharaka Nithi County have seven days to conclude investigations into the gruesome murder of a nine-year-old girl from Mpingu village in Maara Sub-county.
The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighboring Ganga Ward.
In their application, police said they needed enough time to thoroughly probe the shocking incident believed to have been a ritual killing.
They further argued that the two should remain in police custody because their security is not guaranteed.
Before Senior Resident Magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team also said the first suspect, Mr Riungu, is a flight risk.
“Police are seeking seven days to conclude the investigation before preferring charges,” said the prosecution.
In their affidavit, police also told the court that Mr Riungu, who had visited Mr Mukira for his services, beheaded the Grade Two child of his neighbour.
Asked whether he was against the police request for him to remain in custody for the seven days, Mr Riungu did not object.
Mr Mukira requested to be released on bond arguing that he is old and sickly and that since the incident happened, he has been suffering from depression. He also cited a urinary tract infection.
The court remanded the two, nothing the need for them to undergo mental checks before standing trial.
• Court orders suspected witchdoctor and client detained for seven days for investigation and psychiatric assessment in connection with an apparent ritual beheading.
• When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.
An elderly man and his ‘client’ accused of beheading a nine-year-old girl will be detained for seven days on suspicion of witchcraft ritual murder.
The killer or killers ripped out the heart of the victim, Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni, who regularly delivered milk. She was brilliant, cheerful and talkative, a Chuka High Court was told on Tuesday.
The girl’s father, Ignasius Mutunga, who spoke at their home said his daughter was attending church when she was summoned to his home by the elderly traditional healer. She went willingly because she often delivered milk to him.
The girl’s brother, Evans Mawira, said he had asked the old man where his sister was. He said the old man told him to take his cows in exchange for her, the court heard.
Police in Tharaka Nithi county were allowed by a Chuka High Court on Tuesday to detain Suleiman Mati Mukira of Mpingu village in Mwimbi whom the police described as a “witchdoctor”.
Also ordered detained was his accused ‘client’, Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighbouring Ganga ward.
In an affidavit, police told the court Riungu had visited Mukira for “spiritual treatment” and beheaded the Grade 2 neighbour girl.
When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.
The detention is to allow for investigations. The two men have not been charged in connection with the Sunday afternoon murder and suspected witchcraft.
They will undergo a psychiatric assessment before being charged and entering a plea.
It is against the law to practice witchcraft and sentences can be as long as 10 years. Murder carries a life sentence.
Police told senior resident magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team considers Riungu a flight risk. They said both men’s lives were in danger from an enraged public if they are released.
Congregants at the nearby Ambassador for Christ Fellowship heard the girl’s screams, called police and rushed to the scene.
The body was found hidden in a gunny in a goat shed. The head was found in the compound.
The four-year old toddler whose body had been found in the Thuci river ten days ago has been laid to rest. The bereaved parents can only hope that there is justice, but they depend on action of the authorities. It is not the first murder case in the area. Three months ago a little girl was also found dead in a nearby water. What happens in Kenya these days? (webmaster FVDK)
A cry for justice: murdered boy buried in Embu County; Brayden Mutwiri murder linked to ritual killing
Published: January 23, 2021 By: KTN news, from The Standard – video
A somber mood engulfed the burial ceremony of Brayden Mutwiri, a four year old boy whose body was found decomposing at river Thuci last week in Embu County. The boy whose death is suspected to have been linked to a ritual killing was today laid to rest in Kanyuambora, Mbeere North Sub-County, Embu County.
It’s not the first time that Kenyans take the law into their own hands – and it won’t be the last time either. Of course, this is wrong. The rue of the law must apply. People who are suspected of committing a crime should be apprehended, put on trial, and an impartial judge should find them guilty or not-guilty. However, the anger of local residents sometimes unlashes forces which result in mob justice. It happened in Kavengero village, in Embu County, after the mutilated, dead body of a four-year old toddler had been found in a nearby river.
An autopsy must confirm whether this was a case of ritual murder. Meanwhile the local population has no doubts. Their anger was fed by the fact that three months ago, a little girl was also found dead and floating in the water.
The obligation of the state is to protect its citizens and to arrest, try and sentence people who break the law (webmaster FVDK).
Angry Residents Burn Down 4 Houses Belonging to Trader
Angry residents on Wednesday, January 13, descended on the homestead of a trader in Embu burning down four houses, whom they believed was behind the kidnapping and eventual murder of boy in the area.
Confirming the incident, Mbeere North Sub-County Police Commander Kilonzo Kivinda stated that the residents went on a rampage after police discovered the body of a four-year-old boy dumped in the Thuci river.
“The mob became violent and destroyed property owned by the trader over the death of the boy but we are investigating the matter,” he stated.
According to the security official, the residents raided the man’s shop setting it ablaze using petrol before heading to his homestead where they burnt down all the buildings there.
The mob also uprooted his Muguka crop in their outrage.
The police commander warned the residents against taking the law into their own hands adding that they had arrested the trader for questioning.
We have picked up the trader and he is assisting us with investigations,” he stated.
The body of the boy who had gone missing in December 2020, was discovered by criminal investigation officers in between rocks in the river with the tongue missing.
The body was taken to Siakago Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem.
Area chief Charles Njeru noted that the residents launched a search for the boy when he had gone missing.
He added that the boy was the second child from the area to be retrieved from the river.
“Three months ago, a little girl was also found dead and floating in the water,” he added.
Recently, there has been an upsurge in ritualistic murders or allegations of ritual killings in the country. See my previous postings (January 2021, December 2020, November 2020) on suspected and reported cases – although we always have to bear in mind that very likely the number of suspected and discovered ritual murders are only the tip of the iceberg.
The reason for this apparent increase in the number of ritual murders is not known.
The case reported below has all the characteristics of a ritual murder. However, since the body found had decomposed beyond recognition after remaining in water for weeks, an autopsy will be needed the determine the cause of the victim’s death.
It was reported that three months ago another child had been found dead in the river. (webmaster FVDK).
Ritual killing? Embu pupil says he slaughtered cousin, drank blood
• Mutwiri went missing in late December from his home in Kavengero, Mbeere North.
• The suspect and his accomplices lured him as he played at home and took him to the river.
A Embu boy, 16, led police in the search and recovery of the body of his four-year-old cousin he allegedly murdered and drank his blood in a suspected ritual sacrifice.
The Standard 8 pupil on Wednesday led detectives to River Thuci where they recovered the body of Brayden Mutwiri. It had decomposed beyond recognition after remaining in water for weeks. Mutwiri went missing in late December from his home in Kavengero, Mbeere North.
The suspect and one of his accomplices were arrested on Monday and held at Siakago police station. He directed the police to the river where the body was found stuck between two rocks.
Speaking to the press at the scene, their uncle Nephat Nyaga said the suspect narrated how he and his accomplices murdered the boy, drank his blood, then threw his body into the river.
The suspect and his accomplices lured the boy as he played at home and took him to the river.
Area chief Charles Njeru told the press that the boy mysteriously disappeared from home in late December and residents had been searching for him since.
Njeru said the bereaved family will have to wait for the postmortem result to ascertain that the body is Mutwiri’s.
The local administrator said this was the second incident of a missing child being found dead in the river. The first was a girl who went missing and her body retrieved from the river three months ago.
Njeru cautioned residents against settling their family grudges by attacking and killing children, urging them instead to follow the legal procedures of resolving disputes.
Residents condemned the killing and called for quick investigations so the killers are brought to book.
Purity Muringo said parents from the area now live in fear for the security of their schoolchildren. She said lives are at stake. Muringo called for thorough investigations to unravel the mysterious killings of innocent children.
Warning: the graphic contents of the following articles may shock readers. (webmaster FVDK).
Girl’s severed head found in ‘witch doctor’s’ house
Published: January 19, 2021 By: The Star, Kenya – By Cyrus Ombati and Gerald Mutehia
•Residents at a church at Magutuni said they heard screams from the girl, so they rushed to the scene, a so-called ‘witch doctor’s’ house.
• She had been slaughtered, and so had a goat. The men were feasting on meat – whose?
Police are holding a suspected witch doctor and his client after a nine-year-old girl was beheaded and her heart cut out in a ritual murder in Tharaka Nithi.
When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his client – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose hearts had been ripped out.
The girl was a milkmaid who regularly delivered milk and was seeking payment.
Congregants from a nearby church said they had reprimanded Suleiman Mati Mukira 94, from Mpingu village, Kiroo sub-location and his client. The police report also named Mukira.
Congregants heard the girls’ screams, raised the alarm and rushed to the scene.
The body in a gunny bag and the severed head were recovered from the witch doctor’s home on Sunday afternoon.
Police said they demanded to be shown the girl who screamed and was shown a girl’s headless torso.
The homeowner told police his client had slaughtered the girl as a sacrifice.
Police identified the girl as Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni who had delivered milk to the homestead.
The men turned violent when police were called to the scene and conducted a search leading to more discoveries.
The body of the child was found hidden in a goat shed. The head was found nearby.
Police said they also found slaughtered chickens whose hearts had been ripped out.
Eastern head of DCI Jeremiah Ikiao said they are trying to establish if the murder was isolated or part of serial ritual murders.
“It looks like a ritual but we will know more as investigators work on the incident,” he said. The remains of the girl were moved to the mortuary.
Police plan to produce the two in court and seek time to hold them while they conduct investigations.
“OCS Magutuni, DCI officers and SCPC Maara rushed to the scene and found the child having been killed. Her body was concealed in a goat shed, her head was cut off and placed outside the goat shed.
“Outside the compound was a slaughtered goat. Inside Mukira’s house was a slaughtered chicken and witchcraft items,” a police report seen by the Star reads.
Preliminary observation has shown that the girl’s heart was missing, police said. Witchcraft paraphernalia were found nearby. Police collected two blood-stained pangas.
Police at Ntumu station are holding the suspects as they investigate.
The body was taken to Chuka Hospital morgue for a postmortem.
Kenya: Murdered Tharaka Nithi Girl Victim of Ritual Sacrifice
Published: January 19, 2021 By: Nation Media Group, Kenya – Alex Njeru
A key suspect in Sunday’s bizarre murder of a nine-year-old girl from Mpingu village in Maara Sub-county, Tharaka Nithi County, has claimed that he was offering a sacrifice to a witchdoctor.
In a shocking revelation to the parents of the murdered girl at Chogoria Police Station where the 32-year-old man is in custody, he said he had been directed to sacrifice a girl, goat and a chicken and surrender the hearts so that he could be protected from his relatives “who were planning to kill him”.
The suspect is being held together with the alleged 94-year-old witchdoctor. The suspect from Kariakomo village in Ganda ward, and who is a frequent visitor of the old man according to villagers, confessed that he killed a white chicken, a goat and the girl; whom the old man called from a nearby church.
Addressing the media, Maara Sub-county Police Commander Mohammed Jarso said the hearts of the slaughtered goat and chicken were missing but that of the girl was intact.
“The girl was beheaded but no part of the body was missing,” said Mr Jarso.
Police said the suspected witchdoctor claimed that his client turned violent and killed the goat and chicken before turning on the girl, who was picking some passion fruits at his farm.
Pick a bottle
He claimed that he had called the girl to pick a bottle that she had used to deliver some milk to him in the morning.
Mr Jarso said the matter is still under investigation, but added that the key suspect could be suffering from mental illness.
According to police, the old man reported the murder.
The villagers, among them worshippers at the Full Gospel Church led by Ms Josephine Mpuria, however claim that he rushed to the police after sensing danger from the residents who were threatening to lynch the two.
Ms Mpuria said the old man has been suspected of practicing witchcraft for a long time, but most of his customers come from far-off places.
“Everybody in the village knows the old man as a witch-doctor and it has never been a secret,” said Ms Mpuria. She added that they suspect the old man has been demanding human sacrifices from his clients, and asked the police to conduct thorough investigations including searching his houses and farm.
Mr Evans Mawira, the girl’s brother, said that, when asked what had happened, the old man told him that he was ready to give him his only dairy cow in exchange for the girl.
“When I pushed the old man from where he was sitting down, I discovered the head of my sister and screamed in shock,” said Mawira.
Mr Ignatius Mutunga, the girl’s father, who received news of the heinous act while in Nairobi where he works, pleaded for justice to be done noting that the old man should not try to exonerate himself from the crime.
He said that, although he had been hearing that the old man is a witchdoctor, he has been selling milk to him and his children delivered it when they were not in school.
“I have lost my loving daughter and I am pleading for justice,” said Mr Mutunga.
The incident has left the villagers in shocked.
The two are expected to be arraigned in Chuka today (Tuesday).