Mali: another ritual murder in Fana

The town of Fana has a bad reputation. Reportedly, in less than four years, eight ritual murders have been committed in this small town, located some 80 miles (125 km) from the nation’s capital Bamako. This time the victim was a retired soldier, who was brutally murdered. In the night of June 9 to 10 (Tuesday – Wednesday), the murderer or murderers attacked him in his house and sliced his throat savagely. Bakary Sagaré was 50+ years old when he died. 

Was it really a ritual murder? The authorities have not disclosed any details on his untimely and cruel death. Hence, no motive is known. But the inhabitants of Fana are fed up with these cruel murders. They point at certain well-known witch doctors (féticheurs) who are suspected of being involved in these atrocious acts which claim the lives of innocent people, sometimes small children. Like little Djeneba Diarra, a 5-year old albino girl who was snatched from her mother and brutally killed for ritualistic purposes in 2018.

If the authorities fail to apprehend the killers, the danger exists that the population will take the law into their own hands, but mob justice may aggravate Mali’s numerous problems. In the north and centre of the country, terrorists and Tuareg separatists have been challenging the authority of the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) since the disastrous military coup of captain Sanogo in 2012. Recently, a huge manifestation in Bamako showed the dissatisfaction and anger of the population, tired of the growing insecurity in the country. The growing unpopularity of the once very popular Keita may even further endanger Mali’s political stability. Rumors about an intervention of the military have already started to circulate. Certainly interesting developments which merit to be monitored closely. in the meantime, the inhabitants of Fana hope that the criminals responsible for the murder of Bakary Sagaré will be arrested and put on trial.

The original articles are in French and are shown below (webmaster FVDK). 

Crime rituel : une pratique à la vie dure à Fana
Ritual murder: a persistent phenomenon in Fana
Published: June 11, 2020
By: Bamada.net – Le Mali dans le Web

Les habitants de la ville de Fana se sont encore réveillés avec un crime devant leur porte, l’assassinat Bakary Sangaré âgé de plus de 50 ans. C’est un militaire à la retraite, dit-on. Il a été égorgé chez lui dans la nuit de ce mardi au mercredi 10 juin. C’est le 8e crime du genre dans cette ville où la petite albinos a été également tuée. Pour l’instant, aucune information officielle n’est donnée sur les raisons de ce crime, sur son ou ses auteurs. En attendant sur Facebook, la nouvelle endeuille et les messages de compassion et de condoléances pleuvent.

Pour d’autres, c’est l’occasion d’en finir définitivement avec cette pratique. Et pour cela, l’État doit s’assurer en prenant en main la sécurité de la population. Ces actes montrent combien, les populations sont exposées face à des bandits, à des auteurs de crimes rituels. Pour eux, c’est un signe de la faillite de l’Etat face à sa responsabilité de protéger les populations et de leurs biens. Encore, c’est la faute aux autorités incompétentes et corrompues, pestent de nombreux internautes.

En revanche, d’autres estiment que c’est un travail qui doit se faire en synergie entre la population et les autorités pour venir à bout de ces actes cruels dans cette ville. Parce qu’ils accusent que ce sont des charlatans connus de tous dans la ville qui sont à la base de ce crime.

(….)

Comments of readers / Commentaires des lecteurs :

Konimba Sidibé : Fana dans le cercle de Dioila au Mali en deuil à nouveau : les coupeurs de têtes ont encore sévi hier soir pour la huitième fois en moins de 4 ans (dont le cas de Ramata la petite albinos arrachée des mains de sa maman à leur domicile). Bakary Sangare est leur nouvelle victime.
Peu de progrès ont été faits dans l’identification et le châtiment des criminels et leurs complices : les populations doutent fortement que l’Etat ait pris le problème au sérieux et se sentent abandonnées à leur triste sort. Cri de cœur pour libérer Fana de cette insécurité morbide !!! Que l’âme des victimes repose en paix.

Yacouba Aliou Toure : C’est une honte pour le monde du troisième millénaire. Dans la loi islamique, la sentence pour le magicien de couper sa tête à l’épée. Il ne sera pas enseveli, il n’est pas aussi enterré dans le cimetière des musulmans. La magie est la chose la plus horrible sur la Terre. Qu’Allah nous en garde. Amine.

LASSINA DEMBELE ALÉAS TEACHER : une situation séculaire insaisissable depuis la nuit des temps à Fana et environnants… Ce crime crapuleux perpétré hier à Fana le 09/06/2020 ; le corps d’un homme sans vie a été retrouvé décapité par des personnes non identifiées. Ce n’est pas une première fois que ces genres de scènes scandaleuses et hystériques se passent encore à fana semant la panique et de la désolation à la population civile de fana et environnant. Cette situation reste sans solution depuis des décennies à Fana. Les autorités compétentes judiciaires et la population civile de la ville doivent conjuguer leurs forces afin de mettre la lumière sur les Criminels auteurs de ces crimes crapuleux de Coupeurs des têtes.

Zanze Bouare : triste comme nouvelle, on doit sévir contre ces criminels. Il n’y a pas d’autorité au Mali.

Dramane Kélépily : l’arrivée de la police n’a rien servi à Fana que Dieu bénisse la ville et qu’il fasse démasquer les coupables, Paix à l’âme du disparu. Honte aux autorités incompétentes et corrompues !!

Bourama Keita : Sans la collaboration de la population, les autorités ne peuvent rien faire. Tous unis, nous pourrons mettre fin à ça. Mes sincères condoléances aux familles des disparus.

Mamadou Barry : Tout le monde sait que ce n’est pas un terroriste qui a commis le forfait. C’est bien un charlatan. Ils sont connus de tous à Fana. Paix à son âme.

Bafing Sangaré : la question que je voulais savoir, c’est pourquoi toujours à Fana ? La situation est de plus en plus inquiétante vraiment…

Awa Sidibé : Il y a certainement à Fana des tueurs protégés qui ne craignent rien d’où ces crimes à répétitions.

Abdoul Karim Niambélé : C’est triste. Je compatis à la douleur des parents des victimes. Que le Tout Puissant les accueille parmi ses Élus dans son paradis. Et pendant ce temps, on crie sous tous les toits que nous sommes en sécurité. Que Dieu sauve le Mali.

Thomas Seydou Doumbia : Allah akbar, paix a son âme. Je remarque à chaque fois qu’il y a un événement politique, il aboutit à un crime à Fana à nous de chercher la vraie raison.

Molière Sidibé : Vraiment, c’est dépassé, il est temps qu’il y ait une implication avec rigueur pour mettre fin à ces drames.

Tidiani Konate : En réalité, le Mali vit actuellement dans une situation d’impasse. Notre sort dépend de notre visibilité, notre mobilité, car les membres de ce gouvernement ne se soucient plus des peuples, mais seulement de leurs places. Que Dieu libère Banico en particulier et le Mali en général.

Dioba Dembélé : vraiment, on va de mal en pis, il faut que la population s’implique davantage au côté des autorités pour la sécurité définitive de la zone.

Abdoulaye S. Dembele : Dioba Dembélé, penses-tu que la population ainsi que les autorités veulent la fin de cette barbarie ? J’en doute. Sinon, on n’allait pas arriver là.

Another article on the same murder:

Crime odieux à Fana (Cercle de Diola) : Un ancien militaire décapité dans son domicile
A heinous crime in Fana, Diola Cercle: a retired soldier beheaded in his residence
Published: June 11, 2020
By: Bamada.net – Le Mali dans le Web – Abdoul Karim Sanogo

Au Mali, principalement dans les localités de Fana (cercle de Diola), les coupeurs de tête pour des rituels humains ne cessent de surprendre la paisible population par ces actes démoniaques. Cette fois, c’est un homme d’âge avancé du nom de Bakary Sangaré, (ancien militaire) qui a été décapité dans son domicile. Cet acte barbare et lâche s’est passé dans la nuit du mardi 10 juin au 11 juin dernier dans la même localité de Fana dans le cercle de Diola.

En effet, la population de la ville de Fana s’est réveillée avec une mauvaise nouvelle. Suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. Les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps. Selon les témoignages des habitants, le défunt Bakary, ancien militaire qui vivait seul chez lui a été froidement tué par des hommes inconnus. (Huitième fois en moins de 4 ans dont le cas de Ramata la petite albinos arrachée des mains de sa maman à leur domicile).

Une enquête est ouverte par les forces locales en collaboration avec le juge d’instruction de Fana pour traquer les malfrats et leurs complices continuent à semer la terreur et la psychose dans la ville de Fana. Face à cette situation (…)

The same article, by the same author Abdul Karim Sanogo, was published by the Malian daily MaliKonokow. The link follows here (webmaster FVDK). 

Mali:
Crime odieux à Fana (Cercle de Diola) un ancien militaire décapité dans son domicile !
A heinous crime in Fana, Diola Cercle: a retired soldier beheaded in his residence!
Published: June 11, 2020
By: MaliKonokow – Abdul Karim Sanogo

Au Mali, principalement dans les localités de Fana (cercle de Diola), les coupeurs de tête pour des rituels humains ne cessent de surprendre la paisible population par ces actes démoniaques. Cette fois, c’est un homme d’âge avancé du nom de Bakary Sangaré, (ancien militaire) qui a été décapité dans son domicile. Cet acte barbare et lâche s’est passé dans la nuit du mardi 10 juin au 11 juin dernier dans la même localité de Fana dans le cercle de Diola.

(Etc)

Another article on the same murder, dated June 10, 2020:

Crime odieux à Fana : Un ancien militaire égorgé chez lui
Heinous crime in Fana: a retired soldier brutally killed at his home
Published: June 10, 2020
By: Mali Jet – Gaoussou Kanté

Les populations de la paisible ville de Fana ont eu un réveil brutal. Ce matin, suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. En effet, les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps.

D’après les témoignages des habitants, le défunt Bakary, ancien militaire qui vivait seul chez lui a été froidement tué par des hommes inconnus.

Quant à la gendarmerie de Fana, les responsables ont affirmé ne vouloir rien dire avant la fin des enquêtes.

«Pour l’instant, nous ne pouvons rien dire à qui que ce soit avant la fin des enquêtes. Nous sommes sur les enquêtes en collaboration avec le juge d’instruction de Fana. Nous attendons que tous les éléments soient réunis pour nous prononcer sur cette affaire. Tout ce que je peux vous dire, c’est que nous avons constaté le cadavre d’un homme comme vous le voyez sur les réseaux sociaux et les enquêtes sont en cours», a déclaré le Capitaine de la Brigade gendarmerie à Fana.

A suivre !

The Malian daily Mali Actu published the same text. It is not known which article appeared first, maybe Mali Jet’s article, which has been reproduced above, signed with the author’s name, Gaoussou Kanté (webmaster FVDK).

Crime odieux à Fana : un ancien militaire égorgé chez lui
Heinous crime in Fana: a retired soldier brutally killed at his home
Published: June 10, 2020
By: Mali Actu

Les populations de la paisible ville de Fana ont eu un réveil brutal. Ce matin, suite à la découverte macabre du corps sans vie d’un ancien militaire du nom de Bakary Sangaré, qui a été froidement assassiné. En effet, les malfrats ont tranché sa tête de la manière la plus cynique, avant d’abandonner le reste du corps.

(Etc)

The town of Fana has a special, bad reputation in Mali. In less than four years, eight suspected cases of ritual murders occurred in this small town, located half-way between the nation’s capital Bamako and Ségou.

Another muti murder in South Africa? Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Warning: some of the articles below contain graphic details of the crime (webmaster FVDK).

Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Amanda Zitho, L, the mother of Mzwandile Zitho, 05, who was killed in Orange Farm about 2 weeks ago. PHOTO : ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Published: April 29, 2020
By: The Sowetan – Tankiso Makhetha

The woman accused of killing a five-year-old boy whose body was found in a local tavern has been described as a quiet and reserved person.

This was a sentiment shared by community members at Mzwandile Zitho’s funeral yesterday in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg.

Mzwandile was allegedly murdered by Pontso Mohlanka who appeared in the Vereeniging magistrate’s court yesterday where she is facing a charge of murder.

Her matter was postponed until May 15 when her bail application is expected to be heard. The matter was also postponed to allow the state to verify Mohlanka’s nationality with the department of home affairs.

She was initially arrested with her partner and tavern owner, who was not formally charged due to insufficient evidence.

“We are still dumbstruck by what happened. It’s hard to make sense of the whole thing because she is the last person who we thought would be charged for Wandi’s murder,” said Petunia Nkwanyane, a resident in the area.

She spoke to Sowetan at Mzwandile’s Orange Farm home, moments after his burial. The deceased’s home is just across the street from the tavern where the body was discovered on April 15.

The tavern house, now a crime scene, is sealed off with police tape.

Mzwandile’s body was found in an upright position in a fridge, with his hands and feet tied.

According to residents, he also had a red rope around his neck which had small packets containing a powdery substance.

“The only time we saw anyone there was when the tavern owner’s sister came to fetch something while the couple was in jail. We know that the owner was released from jail but we don’t know where he is,” Nkwanyane said.

Another neighbour, Phindi Majola, said Mzwandile’s mysterious death had enraged the community which wanted to burn down the tavern.

“Everyone was upset because of the way Mzwandile was killed. People wanted to burn the house when the police were done with their work because they suspected that Mzwandile was killed in a muthi ritual,” Majola said.

She said she was familiar with Mohlanka, with whom she interacted while peeling vegetables at homes preparing for funerals in the area.

“She is so quiet and shy. I am familiar with her; we talk a lot when we peel vegetables for funerals here,” she said.

Mzwandile was buried at De Deur Memorial Park near Vereeniging. His distraught father, Simphiwe Mosala, said: “I just want to know why he was killed. He was an innocent boy who had so much potential. We want justice; we are also grateful to everyone who has shown us support.”

Source: Child murder accused described as ‘quiet and reserved’

Related articles:

Woman charged after senseless killing of five-year-old boy

Five-year old Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on Wednesday. 
Image: Supplied

Published: April 20, 2020
By: The Sowetan – Tankiso Makhetha

A woman has been charged with the murder of a five-year-old boy who was found killed in a tavern in Orange Farm last week.

Pontso Mohlanka appeared in the Vereeniging regional court on Monday where she was charged with Mzwandile Zitho’s murder.

Phindi Mjonondwane, the National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson said the matter was postponed until Wednesday for further investigations.

“The matter was also postponed to set a date for the bail application hearing,” Mjonondwane said.

The woman was arrested along with her husband at the tavern, which is located less than 30 metres from Zitho’s home.

“Charges against the man were not placed on the roll as there is currently no prima facie case against him,” she said.

Zitho was found in an upright position with his legs tied and a red rope around his neck in what his family believes was a muthi killling.

Zitho’s grandmother Nompumelelo Zitho previously told Sowetan how she frantically searched for her grandson last Wednesday with the tavern owner allegedly telling her not to worry when she asked him if he had seen Mzwandile.

“I was worried sick because I didn’t know where he was. I started searching for him and asked the owner of the tavern if he had seen Wandi and he said no. He said Wandi was a smart boy and would return home,” she recalled Wednesday’s events.

Zitho said the tavern owner assisted them to search for Mzwandile and went as far as sending one of his employees into a neighbouring township.

“He was telling me not to go to the police station and that we would find Wandi by the end of the day. He was so reassuring, but I was concerned and wanted to find my grandson,” she said.

Zitho said after several hours of searching, she then went to the police station to report Mzwandile missing.”Four hours after our conversations, I was shocked when I arrived at the police station to report Wandi missing, only to find him [tavern owner] there. 

“He told us that he had found Wandi’s body in his tavern and did not know how it got there,” Zitho said.

“I feel betrayed because he was one of the first people to start a search party for Wandi when I told him he was missing.

“He didn’t tell me that my grandson was in his tavern the whole time we were looking for him. He said he also didn’t know that Wandi was there.”

Zitho said she was heartbroken because she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old. She recalled the condition in which they found Mzwandile’s body.

“He was standing upright, there was a red rope with small papers containing powdery substances attached to it. His legs were also tied with a handkerchief with a small bottle containing white muthi attached to it.

“It is as if he was a sacrifice.”He was an active child and full of energy. He would say to me that he wanted to be a priest because he was tired of seeing me take a taxi to church. He said he would take me to church with his own car.”

Source: Woman charged after senseless killing of five-year-old boy

and:

Tavern owner and wife arrested for boy’s murder

Nompumelelo Zitho , the grandmother of 5 year old child, Mwzandile Zitho, killed in Orange Farm, Johannesburg . PHOTO: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Published: April 20, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live, South Africa – Tankiso Makhetha 

The tavern owner who helped the family of a five-year-old boy to search for him after he went missing last week has been arrested for the child’s murder.

Mzwandile Zitho’s grandmother Nompumelelo Zitho recalled how she frantically searched for her grandson in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday with the tavern owner allegedly telling her not to worry when she asked him if he had seen Mzwandile.

“I was worried sick because I didn’t know where he was. I started searching for him and asked the owner of the tavern if he had seen Wandi and he said no. He said Wandi was a smart boy and would return home,” she recalled Wednesday’s events.

Zitho said the tavern owner assisted them to search for Mzwandile and went as far as sending one of his employees into a neighbouring township.

“He was telling me not to go to the police station and that we would find Wandi by the end of the day. He was so reassuring, but I was concerned and wanted to find my grandson,” she said.

Zitho said after hours of searching, she then went to the police station to report Mzwandile missing.

“Four hours after our conversations, I was shocked when I arrived at the police station to report Wandi missing, only to find him [tavern owner] there. He told us that he had found Wandi’s body in his tavern and did not know how it got there,” Zitho said.

Mzwandile was found in an upright position with his legs tied and a red rope around his neck in what his family believes was a muthi killling.

Provincial police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said the tavern owner’ and his wife were arrested on Friday and are expected to appear in the Vereeniging magistrate’s court today on charges of kidnapping and murder.

“I feel betrayed because he was one of the first people to start a search party for Wandi when I told him he was missing.

“He didn’t tell me that my grandson was in his tavern the whole time we were looking for him.

“He said he also didn’t know that Wandi was there.”

Zitho said she was heartbroken because she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old.

She recalled the condition in which they found Mzwandile’s body.

Source: Tavern owner and wife arrested for boy’s murder

and:

Boy’s body found in Orange Farm tavern fridge

Published: April 17, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live, South Africa – Tankiso Makhetha 

A five-year-old boy was found dead in a tavern in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday, in what his family and community suspect was a muti-related murder.

Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on the same day.

Residents said they were shocked by the gruesome discovery of his body in a fridge.

Anna Makhubu, who was one of the first people to enter the tavern where Mzwandile’s body was found, said: “His grandmother said she grew worried when she could not find him around the yard at 10am. She said he was still in his pyjamas when he went missing.

“She asked the tavern owner, who lives across from them, if he had seen Mzwandile. He said no. But she was shocked to find him at the police station as well.”

According to Makhubu, the tavern owner told the police he did not know how the boy’s body ended up on his property.

“He said he doesn’t know how the body got there and wanted to help. When we got there we found Mzwandile naked, standing in an upright position. His hands and feet were bound. There was muthi bottles and a handkerchief that had small ropes in it.”

Makhubu said she was heartbroken as she raised Mzwandile since he was five months old.

“He was an active child and full of energy. He would say to me that he wanted to be a priest because he was tired of seeing me take a taxi to church. He said he would take me to church in his own car.”

ANC branch chairperson in the area, Macy Monageng, said: “We are hurt because we are in a lockdown and then this happens. We thought children and women abuse would end in this situation but clearly not. The law needs to take its course.”

Police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of murder and that no arrests have been made.

Source: Boy’s body found in Orange Farm tavern fridge

and:

Boy found dead in tavern fridge

Five-year old Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on Wednesday. 

Published: April 16, 2020
By: The Sowetan Live – Tankiso Makhetha 

A five-year-old boy was found dead in a tavern in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg on Wednesday in what the community suspects was a muthi-related murder.

Mzwandile Zitho was reported missing by his grandmother on the same day. Community members said they were shocked by the gruesome discovery.

Anna Makhubu, who was one of the first people to enter the tavern where Zitho’s body was found, said: “His grandmother said she grew worried when she could not find him around the yard at 10am”. 

She said he was still in his pyjamas when he went missing. Makhubu added: “She asked the tavern owner, who lives across from them, if he had seen Mzwandile. He said no. But she was shocked to find him at the police station as well.”

According to Makhubu, the tavern owner told the police he did not know how the boy’s body ended up on his property.

“He said he doesn’t know how the body got there and wanted to help. When we got there we found Mzwandile naked, standing in an upright position. His hands and feet were bound. There was muthi bottles and a handkerchief that had small ropes in it,” she said.

Macy Monageng, ANC branch chairperson in the area, said: “We are hurt because we in a lockdown and then this happens… a naked boy in a fridge? We thought child and woman abuse would end in this situation but clearly not. The law needs to take its course.”Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of murder.

Source: Boy found dead in tavern fridge

South Africa – Provinces

Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is).
However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.

The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued  by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Published: April 13, 2020
By: Global Sisters report – Doreen Ajiambo

GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.

“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.

One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.

The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.

Screenshot of the GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana (credit: Doreen Ajiambo). Click on the picture in the original article (see source below) to watch the video.

The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.

“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”

Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”

Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.

“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”

Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.

“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”

The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.

“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”

Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.

“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.

“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”

However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.

“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”

A child stands outside her mother’s hut house at Gushegu camp. Her mother was accused of killing her husband. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Source: Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Districts in Northern Ghana (in the northeast: Gushiegu District)

Four nabbed in Akwa Ibom State for beheading woman for ritual purpose (Nigeria)

The following report, see below, is a bit fuzzy but nevertheless I want to share it with you. The chief perpetrator of the heinous act, who was caught, may not have been fully responsible for his deed because of his (unstable) mental state (but this is up to the judges to rule) and not all details are clear or have been confirmed by the authorities, however, the youth who supported the police which led to the arrest of the suspects merits to be applauded. A good example of how it should be – no mob justice, but the rule of law! (webmaster FVDK).

Four nabbed in Akwa Ibom for beheading woman for ritual purpose

Published: March 8, 2020
By:  Vanguard Nigeria – Harris Emanuel

Tragedy struck at the weekend at Oku Abak community in Abak Council Area of Akwa Ibom, as a woman simply identified as Eka Sammy was reportedly beheaded in her farm and the head dumped in front of her house.

Vanguard gathered that the woman fondly called Mma Iko Mbakara was ambushed in her farm while harvesting cassava by a young man, one Lucky Michael from Delta State, working hands in gloves with three others.

An eyewitness account averred that the suspect was caught by the irate youth of the community when he dumped the head of the woman in front of her house and immediately stripped himself naked before taking the youth to the farm where the lifeless body of the woman was found.

One Augustine Ekwere said, ‘’the youth of this village caught him and called on the police after their own assessment. The police then arrested his and his accomplices.

Continuing, Ekwere said the suspect confessed to the crime at Abak Police Station, saying that a prophetess contracted him for a fee of N15, 000 to bring human head for rituals.

According to him, although the suspect did not mention the name of the prophetess, he had already received the cash payment to carry out the dastard acts.

‘’At the Police station, the boy confessed to beheading the woman in the farm because he was paid a N150, 000 by a prophetess to do so. I fear that such crime is coming to my community, my stress and our house’’, he said.

Police Public Relations Officer, Fredrick Nnudam, Chief Superintendent of Police confirmed the incident and applauded the youth of the community for supporting the Police which led to the arrest of the suspect and his cohorts.

The PPRO who did not mention the number of suspects arrested hinted that the matter was being investigated at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpanabia, but source informed our reporter that about four suspects were nabbed by the police.

‘’I am in a picture. A woman was beheaded in the farm on Saturday while working there. Some youth joined the police to comb the bush and some suspects were arrested.

‘’I can’t give you the exact figures, but some persons were arrested especially the principal suspect’’, he said. 

On whether the prophetess allegedly said to have masterminded the killing for ritual purpose has been arrested, he said, ‘’as at now information is still sketchy but investigation is ongoing, so, I can’t say if somebody like that is involved.’’

Source: Four nabbed in Akwa Ibom for beheading woman for ritual purpose

Related article:

Suspected ritualists behead 82-year-old woman in Akwa Ibom

Published: March 8, 2020
By: Vanguard Nigeria – Chioba Onuegbu – Uyo

TRAGEDY struck last Saturday in Akwa Ibom state as suspected ritualists behead 82-year-old woman popularly known as Mma Iko Mbakara in Ibesit community in Oruk Anam local government area of the state.

It was gathered that the unsuspecting octogenarian was ambushed in her farm in Ibesit, Oruk Anam while she was harvesting cassava.

A reliable source in Abak local government area who spoke to Vanguard in confidence yesterday said the news of the sad incident filtered through the whole Abak town early Sunday morning.

“Actually the incident happened in Ibesit community in Oruk Anam local government area, but the principal suspect is from Oku Abak, in Abak local government area. I learned that the police have already arrested him and his accomplices. ”

I was told this morning (Sunday morning) that the principal suspect identified as Lucky Michael and his accomplices have been arrested by the police”, he simply added.

An eyewitness identified as Ekwere said Michael was caught by the youths of Oku Abak community who stripped him naked before asking him to take them to the farm where he committed the crime.

Ekwere added that the youths later called the police to arrest him and his accomplices, adding that it was at the Abak Police station that he (Michael) confessed that he was paid the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand naira ( N150,000.00) to bring a human head for ritual.

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, CSP, Frederick Nnudam confirmed the incident, noting that some suspects however have been arrested in connection with the crime.

The PPRO who did not mention the number of suspected arrested said, “The story is true. Some of the suspects have been arrested and the head of the woman was also recovered. “The principal suspect one Lucky Michael was in possession of the head of the 82-year-old woman. The matter is under investigation”

Source: Suspected ritualists behead 82-year-old woman in Akwa Ibom

Map of Nigeria showing Akwa Ibom State

Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo State, Nigeria

The following reproduced article is not about an entirely new incident of mob justice in Nigeria. It relates to the same jungle justice addressed in my February 27 posting and also yesterday’s Editorial. However, for completeness sake I want to include it here: readers who may have missed previous posts may find in the article reproduced below the necessary information to fully understand the editorial in the Nigerian newspaper The Nation (online) posted yesterday (webmaster FVDK).

Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo

Edo State Commissioner of Police DanMallam Muhammed, addressing journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital, on Monday, October 14, 2019

Published: February 25, 2020
The Punch, Sola Shittu – Benin (city), Nigeria

Three middle-aged men and a woman were on Monday set ablaze by a mob at Otuo community in the Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State.

The four were alleged to have been involved in the murder of a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil of Azama College, Otuo.

 PUNCH Metro gathered that the pupil was allegedly killed and her head severed from her body for ritual purposes.

A source in the community said the murder was carried out at night by her neighbour who sent her on an errand to get sachet water in the evening.

While in his room to deliver the sachet water, she was allegedly murdered and decapitated.

Our source said when the girl’s parents could not find her, they raised the alarm.

The alleged culprits were said to have been caught while attempting to dump the victim’s body in the early hours of the following day.

They were said to have identified two other persons, including the woman who performed the rituals for them.

“The two men were burnt this morning (Monday) along with the woman, while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular Women Centre where the community police station is located. The third man was traced to his farm and apprehended,” he said.

Later in the day, our source confirmed that the third man had also been burnt by the mob.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, while confirming the incident, said two suspects were lynched.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze,” he said.

Source: Four burnt to death after ritual killing in Edo

Compounded barbarity (Editorial, Nigeria)

A recent Editorial in one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers drew my attention and I would like to share it with you. It is a cry from the heart and corresponds with previous messages which I put on this site. Referring to a recent incident in Edo State, it is about the nonsense of mob justice, it’s illegal nature, and even the damage it causes to the country’s justice system. Read it for yourself. May it contribute to less jungle justice, but – of course and more important – we have to battle the phenomenon of money rituals with all our force and eradicate it from society! (webmaster FVDK). 

Compounded barbarity

Picture from file, not related to described incident

Published: March  6, 2020
By: The Nation (online) – Nigeria (editorial)

Editorial

  • Suspected ritual killers turned victims of jungle justice is cold comfort.  Both outrage jar with civilised 21st century conduct.

It really makes no difference which of the versions of the incident is accurate, whether four or two people were burned alive for allegedly beheading a teenage girl for ritual purposes. The picture of compounded barbarity is clear enough. The girl’s beastly murder attracted jungle justice, but neither of the two is good for society.

According to the Edo State police spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, “The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze.”  But media reports said a mob had set ablaze three men and a woman at Otuo community in the Owan East local government area of the state, on February 24, for their alleged involvement in the murder of a Senior Secondary School 3 pupil of Azama College, Otuo.

The girl’s neighbour was said to have sent her on an errand to get sachet water, and she was allegedly killed and beheaded when she returned with the sachet water. Two of her killers were said to have been caught while trying to dump her headless body somewhere the next day. They were said to have implicated two other collaborators, including a woman described as a native doctor.

By taking the law into their own hands, the mob demonstrated public anger over the increasing cases of ritual killing in the country. But their reaction was extreme. It is noteworthy that they had imposed their own punishment on the suspects, right in front of a police station, which suggested they had lost confidence in the police.

Their action was a recipe for anarchy.   Mob justice not only reflects a negative public perception of the criminal justice system, it also undermines the institution charged with maintaining law and order.  This is yet another instance that shows the low rating of the police by the public, and the need for the police to improve their image by performing professionally.

It is unfortunate that the suspected killers were burned alive, thus making it impossible for the police to investigate the allegation against them. The accusation that they killed the victim for ritual purposes could have been more clearly established through a proper trial.

Sadly, this incident further highlights the troubling issue of money-ritual killing prompted by a get-rich-quick mentality.  The circumstances of the murder suggested it may well have had something to do with money rituals. Only the killers could have explained why they needed the girl’s head, but the beheading followed a familiar pattern of killing associated with money ritualists.

The money-ritual angle says something bad about our society.  Frequent reports of suspected money-ritual killings in the country show a dark side of the society that needs to be urgently corrected. Murder is evil; it is worse when it is connected with a get-rich-quick motive.  The love of money should never be taken to such extremes.

The question is: What drives such a desperate and unconscionable pursuit of riches?  The inadequacies of the socio-economic environment must be a major factor, but these can’t justify a do-or-die approach to getting rich. Money rituals that involve murder signify not only material poverty but also spiritual poverty on the part of the perpetrators.

Improved socio-economic conditions can discourage such an approach to getting the good things of life. That is why the government, in pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number, must pay serious attention to the improvement of the socio-economic conditions. The goal should be to significantly reduce the number of the desperately poor as well as promote enlightenment that makes it unnecessary to seek wealth through money rituals

Police arrest 10 suspects linked to the hacking to death of three workers allegedly involved in ritual killing in Luapula Province (Zambia)

Mob justice or jungle justice is not only a widespread problem in Nigeria – see my February 27 posting – and other countries reported on this site. Als in e.g. in Zambia, mobs attack and kill people who are suspected of ritualistic killing. The local, regional and national authorities are often not trusted. This may have been caused by past experiences, but it still does not justify killing people who are ‘only’ suspected of being ritual killers and have not been tried by an official court. The prerogative of using violence lies only with the State, not with citizens (webmaster FVDK).

Police arrest 10 murder suspects linked to the hacking to death of three Power Tools workers in Luapula Province

Published: February 28, 2020
By: Mwebantu

POLICE in Chiengi have arrested ten suspects in connection with the gruesome murder of  three Power Tools workers who were hacked to death by a mob on suspicion of being ritual killers.

Zambia Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has told Mwebantu in the early hours of today, Friday, 28th February, 2020, Police in Chiengi of Luapula Province arrested ten (10) suspects in connection with the gruesome murder of three (3) Power Tools employees, who were murdered by a mob on 21st February, 2020, around 0300 hours at Kazembe Village in Chiengi District.

She said the suspects were apprehended in an operation conducted between 01 00 hours and 03 00 hours.

“They are all detained in police custody charged with murder. “She said.

Source: Police arrest 10 murder suspects linked to the hacking to death of three Power Tools workers in Luapula

Nigeria: Angry mob sets four on fire over ritual killing in Edo State

Mob justice is a serious problem in many if not all of Nigeria’s states. Early January of this year an angry mob set robbers ablaze in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State. In early October last year an angry mob in Benue State set three suspected armed robbers ablaze over their alleged involvement in the robbery and serial killings witnessed in Gbaste community. I could cite many more examples of jungle justice in Nigeria, but this will do, for the moment. Recently, two – or four, accounts differ, see below – young men were set ablaze for alleged involvement in the killing of an SS3 Secondary Schoolgirl of Azama College, Otuo, Edo State.

The use of violence is a prerogative of State authorities. Moreover, every accused is considered innocent as long as he or she has not been found guilty by an independent and impartial judge during a public, transparent trial.
Mob justice is a sign of a weak state authority and should not be tolerated. Mob justice resulting in the death of the victim is a crime; those responsible should be prosecuted and punished by law (webmaster FVDK). 

Angry Mob Sets Four On Fire Over Ritual Killing In Edo State

Source: File photo. 

Published: February 25, 2020
By: Naija News – Richard Ogunsile

Reports reaching Naija News at this time reveals that there was an uproar at a village in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo state on Monday, following the murder of a young girl who was reportedly beheaded for ritual purpose.

According to a source in the Otuo community in a chat with newsmen, some four young men were set ablaze for alleged involvement in the killing of an SS3 Secondary Schoolgirl of Azama College, Otuo.

The source whose identity was not given due to security purpose reveals that the child’s head was cut off at night hour by the culprits while she was on an errand by her neighbour who sent her to get him sachet water.

Naija News understands that she was murdered at the point of delivering the sachet water.

It was said that the girl’s parents cried out after they could not find their daughter, but that the culprits were nabbed while making moves to dump the victim’s body before the rising of the sun of the next day.

Further information revealed that two out of the four culprits were identified, including the woman who is to perform the rituals for them.

The source said, “The two men were burnt this morning (Monday) along with the woman, while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular Women Centre where the community police station is located. The third man was traced to his farm and apprehended,”

However, after the arrest of the culprits, furious residents set the young men on fire.

Meanwhile, a confirmation from the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, mentioned that only two of the suspects were burnt alive.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youth of the community arrested two suspects, brought them to the front of the station and set them ablaze,” he said.

Source: Angry Mob Sets Four On Fire Over Ritual Killing In Edo

Related article: 

4 burnt to death for kidnapping SS III student for rituals in Edo

Published: February 24, 2020
By: Vanguard – Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY— FOUR persons, including a lady, were, yesterday, set ablaze by a mob in Otuo, Owan East Local Government Area over allegation of kidnapping an SS III female student and killing her for ritual purpose.

It was gathered that the victim, a student of Azama College in Ikhuera quarters of the rustic town, was allegedly sent to buy sachet water by her neighbour Sunday night.

A source said while she was on her way from buying the water that her head was severed from her body apparently for ritual.

It was also gathered that when the young girl’s parents could not find her, they raised the alarm, but her whereabouts remained unknown.

The source said one of the culprits caught in the early hours of yesterday while attempting to dump the victim’s body confessed to the crime and those involved, including the woman, who allegedly performed the rituals for them.

“The two boys were burnt this morning (yesterday) along with the woman while her house was razed. They were all dragged to the popular ‘Women Centre’ where the community police station is located. The third boy was traced to his farm and apprehended,” he said.

Vanguard gathered that the third man apprehended in connection with the ritual killing was later burnt by a mob late yesterday.

One of the suspects, the gang leader, identified as Lukeman, was alleged to be a serial killer while two of the boys, who accompanied Lukeman, are of same parents and from Ikhueran quarter, Otuo.

He also said the woman, who performed the rituals was from Kogi State while Lukeman is said to be from Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area of the state.

Spokesman for Edo Police Command, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, while confirming the incident, said it was only two of those arrested that were burnt.

“The command is aware that a young girl’s head was cut off and the youths of the community arrested two suspects they took to the station where they were set ablaze,” he said.

Source: 4 burnt to death for kidnapping SS III student for rituals in Edo

‘370 households, 1198 people affected by gassing so far’ – Minister tells Parliament (Zambia)

The recent disturbances in Zambia have given rise to many articles in local, regional and international newspapers. To cite them all would be an impossible task, I will not even attempt it here. Below I reproduce a kind of summary given by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo. Of course, I realize that he is a high placed Zambian official (politician) who might be interested in the political correctness of his statement, or having – understandable – political objectives. However, his Ministerial Statement before Parliament provides us with enough elements to be relatively well informed about the recent incidents which occurred in many places and regions of his Southern African country. Besides, it is interesting to note the ‘definition’ of ritual murders which he gives us: ‘(….) I wish to state that the term ritual killing means slaying a human being to appease deity. In short, victims of ritual killing are found with certain body parts missing from them for suspicious ritual use. (…)’  

The article is reproduced here for various reasons. First, it shows the willingness and determination of the Zambian authorities to maintain the law. Secondly, it gives insight in the fear of local people and the reason why mob justice occurs. Furthermore, it establishes – once more – the fact that ritual murders have not been eradicated from Zambian society and, finally, it shows the nowadays complex nature of this phenomenon with the mixture of traditional beliefs, superstition and outright criminal behavior which characterize ritualistic killings, in Zambia as well as other countries.(webmaster FVDK). 

‘370 households, 1198 people affected by gassing so far’ – Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo

Published: February 20, 2020
By: News Diggers – Mirriam Chabala 

Source: 370 households, 1198 people affected by gassing so far – Minister tells Parley

South Africa: extra court security for Centurion ‘muthi’ murder accused

Muti or ‘muthi’ murders are ritualistic murders committed to enhance one’s prestige, power, wealth or luck. It’s a quite common name for a heinous crime, all over Southern Africa – not only in South Africa. Perpetrators are rarely arrested and prosecuted. Also in the case of the late Maria Skhosana whose lifeless body was found mutilated – case presented below – police was reluctant to intervene. Why? The deceased’s partner, however, insisted, and a suspect was arrested and brought to court to be judged. Read the saga below. At least, the rule of law seems to be applied this time, which unfortunately cannot be taken for granted in South Africa….  (webmaster FVDK).

Photo: Sourced (Bosveld Review)

Extra court security for Centurion ‘muthi’ murder accused
Published: February 6, 2020
By: Centurion Rekord

Extra security had to be deployed at the Pretoria magistrate’s court on Monday as a 27-year-old man accused of a “muthi” murder appeared.

David Kutosi is accused of killing Maria Skhosana (40) and dumping her mutilated body near the Mnandi cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch.

Additional police and security officers were present in the courtroom as a precautionary measure.

This comes after the court was disrupted during Kutosi’s previous appearance by community members screaming slurs and threatening to kill the accused.

This time around, women in the gallery held up their bras in a demonstration during court proceedings.

Kutosi indicated he would not apply for bail.

Violence broke out in the community the week following his arrest, with community members taking to the streets and setting some muthi shops alight.

It was believed that Skhosana was killed as part of a muthi ritual.

Skhosana’s body was found in January more than a month after she had gone missing.

She was four months pregnant when she decided to have an abortion in November and left her home one day to have the procedure performed.

She was, however, not seen alive again.

The matter was moved to another court room for security purposes and postponed to 8 April.

Source: Extra court security for Centurion ‘muthi’ murder accused

Related articles:

‘Muthi’ murder case postponed again
Published: January 28, 2020
By: Centurion Rekord

Thamisanqa Mahlangu at the scene where his partners remains were found. Photo: Ron Sibiya

The murder case of a 27-year-old man accused of killing a woman for muthi has been postponed again.

David Ntosi will appear in the Pretoria magistrate’s court again on 3 February.

Ntosi was arrested a week ago, on allegations that he killed 40-year-old Maria Skhosana, mutilated her body and dumped it near the Mnandi cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch.

He appeared in court on Monday, for an interpreter to be appointed. The case was remanded to allow legal representation to be appointed for him.

Skhosana’s mutilated body was found dumped near a cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch earlier this month, in what was suspected to be a muthi murder.

She was last seen by her family on 27 November last year, and reported missing to the police the next day.

Her partner Thamisanqa Mahlangu told Rekord he had to investigate her disappearance all on his own.

This allegedly included “luring” the suspect as well as taking valuable information to police which they allegedly failed to act on.

Protests flared up in the area following Skhosana’s murder.

Earlier this month, rubber bullets and stun grenades were fired at a group of protesters who were allegedly involved in torching muthi shops in Olievenhoutbosch.

Source: ‘Muthi’ murder case postponed again

And:

Centurion ‘muts’ murder accused appears in court
Published: January 23, 2020
By: Centurion Rekord

David Ntosi was arrested a week ago on suspicion that he killed 40-year-old Maria Skhosana, mutilated her body then dumped it near the Mnandi Cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch.

A 27-year-old man who is accused of killing a woman for muthi appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court earlier this week.

David Ntosi was arrested a week ago on allegations that he killed 40-year-old Maria Skhosana, mutilated her body and dumped it near the Mnandi Cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch.

Skhosana was last seen by her family on 27 November last year and reported missing to the police the next day.

She was four months pregnant when she decided to have an abortion and had left that day to have the procedure performed, but was never seen again.

The case drew a lot of attention as members of the community filled up the gallery screaming slurs at the accused.

On Sunday rubber bullets and stun grenades were fired at a group of protesters who were allegedly involved in torching muthi shops in Olievenhoutbosch.

Skhosana’s partner Thamisanqa Mahlangu said community members had vowed to support the family during court proceedings.

“This matter hasn’t only affected us as a family, but the entire the community as well,” he said.

“They do not feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.”

He said the Olievenhoutbosch taxi industry has offered free transportation to supporters.

The matter was remanded to 27 January in order to get an interpreter for the accused.

His address was yet to be confirmed in order for him to apply for bail.

Source: Centurion ‘muthi’ murder accused appears in court

And:

Centurion herbal shops torched following ‘muthi’ murder
Published: January 23, 2020
By: Centurion Rekord

Rubber bullets and stun grenades were fired at a group of protesters who were allegedly involved in torching muthi shops in Olievenhoutbosch on Sunday evening.

The protest comes after the body mutilated body of 40-year-old Maria Skhosana was found dumped near the Mnandi cemetery on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said preliminary reports suggest that the incident stemmed from the arrest of a 27-year-old man suspected of being behind the murder of the woman.

“A group of people went on the rampage and raided a number of shops alleged to be selling muthi,” she said

Peters said the group initially started earlier in the day, going into the shops, removing muthi-products and setting them alight, but were dispersed by police.

An even bigger crowd started again later in the evening and attacked and burnt some shops that were part of a chain of stores known to be selling muthi.

“An unconfirmed number of shops were damaged and some set alight,” Peters said.

“The group allegedly became violent and attacked the police nyala and the members responded by firing stun grenades and rubber bullets.”

She said police found another group allegedly looting a shop and arrested four suspects.

Skhosana was last seen by her family on 27 November last year and reported missing to the police the next day.

Her partner Thamisanqa Mahlangu said the woman, who was four months pregnant, had decided to have an abortion and had left that day to have the procedure performed, but never returned.

He previously told Rekord that he believed Maria’s killer lured women to his “surgery” under the pretense of being an abortion specialist, takes their money, kills them and steals their body parts.

“Police must investigate who else he has killed and who are the other people he is working with,” he said.

Source: Centurion herbal shops torched following ‘muthi’ murder

And:

Family devastated after missing woman (40) found mutilated
Published: January 17, 2020
By: Centurion Rekord

Thamisanqa Mahlangu at the scene where his partners remains were found. Photo: Ron Sibiya 

Maria Skhosana’s body was found near the Mnandi cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch .

The family of a 40-year old missing woman is devasted after her body was found dumped near a Cemetery in Olievenhoutbosch on Wednesday.

Maria Skhosana was found mutilated in what is suspected to be a muthi murder.  

Skhosana was last seen by her family on 27 November last year and reported missing to the police the next day.

Her partner Thamisanqa Mahlangu said Maria, who was four months pregnant, had decided to have an abortion and had left that day to have the procedure performed.

“I didn’t agree with her decision, but I couldn’t stop her either. I didn’t even know where she was going to have it done” he said.

“I was in Mpumalanga when I received a call the next day that she had not returned home.”

He said he rushed back to Pretoria to search for her and his first instinct led him to hospitals.

“I thought that maybe she was hospitalised after the procedure, that maybe she may have been bleeding and needed additional attention. But we didn’t find her.”

Weeks went by and Maria was still nowhere to be found.

Mahlangu said the family had even resorted to seeking the help from spiritual leaders, who reassured them that she would be back.

” A week ago, I then searched for all the contact details of abortion places in the area. I contacted one who said they had not treated my partner, but something was not right about him.”

He said he knew something was wrong when the so-called abortion expert asked for a picture of Maria to confirm if he had not in fact treated her.

“Why would he ask for a picture? Would he not know her names and Surname?”

“I pleaded with him to please bring her back, but he insisted that he knew nothing.”

On Sunday Mahlangu received a call from an anonymous person, who said he had information about Maria’s whereabouts.

He said the person told him that Maria was killed.

“He gave me the location of a place where he said the owner was involved in Maria’s murder,” said Mahlangu

“I took this information to the police who were reluctant to help.”

He mobilized members of the community who then followed the information which led them to a muthi shop in extention 21.

“We found a young man who insisted he knew nothing and that he had a boss he worked for. We took him to the police, but he was later released and he wasn’t even interviewed.”

Mahlangu said he and the community members pleaded with the police until they caught the attention of one officer who after following leads  rearrested the same young man.

The father of two said he believed that the young man was using  illegal abortions to lure women into his “surgery” stealing their body parts and then killing them.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Pretty Mokadi confirmed that the 27-year old man was arrested on Monday.

“The suspect then took police to a place where illegal abortions are conducted and a bag full of women underwear was found and burned.” 

“Regarding the muthi killing, at this stage, we cannot confirm as the matter is still investigated,” said Mokadi.

Mahlangu said the family has been struggling to cope and the idea of waiting three more months for Maria’s burial was even more stressful.

“We couldn’t identify her because of how she was badly mutilated. We were told that DNA test would take up to three months,” he said.

“We can’t even sleep at night.”

Maria, a mother of two, was employed as a domestic worker.

“Her birthday on the 16th of December was a very dull one,” Mahlangu said.

Women in the community who did not want to be named said they felt unsafe and targeted.

They called on the police to reopen unsolved missing persons cases to see if they cannot be linked to the suspect.

” How many other women has he killed? Who are the owners of the other underwear found? “

They said they would mobilise other members of the community to raise their concerns with the police.

The 27-year old man is expected to appear in court soon.

Source: Family devastated after missing woman (40) found mutilated

Olievenhoutbosch is a township in Centurion in Gauteng, South Africa.  It is the furthest suburb situated from the Pretoria CBD. Source: Olievenhoutbosch – Wikipedia 
Map of South Africa with City of Tshwane highlighted