Tanzania arrests 65 witchdoctors in ritual killing probe

Published: March 4, 2019, 15:12
By: Aboubakar Famau – BBC Africa, Dar es Salaam

Police in Tanzania have arrested 65 witchdoctors doctors suspected of involvement in the barbaric ritualistic killings of children in the south-west and northern part of the country.

This follows the murder of at least 10 children in Njombe region and other similar incidents in the northern Simiyu region in late January.

Forty-five witchdoctors from Simiyu, and 20 others from Njombe are being held for interrogation over the spate of heinous killings, Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro told reporters. 

The police boss further said the crackdown on traditional doctors, who are the prime suspects in the ritualistic killings, was ongoing.

“I have ordered that every traditional doctor, both registered and unregistered, must be interrogated and inspected, and those who will be identified as criminals, then the law will take its course, but after that, we have also ordered the authorities to start fresh registration, but we have also requested other institutions like religious leaders and politicians to help us.”

Superstition is deep-rooted among some communities in Tanzania, who believe human body parts can bring wealth. 

Albinos are among those targeted by assailants who kill them or chop off their limbs and private parts.

Source: Tanzania arrests 65 witchdoctors in ritual killing probe

Njombe District – Tanzania

Liberia: Rise in ritual killings prompts president Sirleaf to pledge security crackdown

On numerous occasions Liberian leaders have publicly denounced the ritual murders that take place in the country. We can mention President William Tolbert (1971-1980), Gyude Bryant (Chair of the Transitional Government after the Second Civil War, 2003-2006) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006-2018). The fact that the presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor were not so outspoken on this subject, certainly not in public, has special reasons……..  

The article below on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s warning and reaction does not constitute the first and only time that she denounced the phenomenon of ritualistic killings in her country. More on it at a later stage.
(Webmaster FVDK) 

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says increase in ritualistic killings and armed robbery are threatening security

Published: November 20, 2015
By: The Guardian 

Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, vowed on Thursday to crack down on those responsible for a rise in ritual killings in the west African country as it seeks to emerge from the shadow of an Ebola epidemic.

In some areas of central Africa, body parts are prized for their supernatural powers and are used in black magic ceremonies. Local media have reported at least 10 related murders in Liberia in the past few months. (Italics added by the webmaster, FVDK).

Johnson Sirleaf said in a speech: “We are witnessing the rise in what appears to be ritualistic killings and armed robbery in the country, thus threatening our security.” 

“I am instructing the security forces to rigorously enforce the law to the letter and bring this ugly situation under immediate control.”

It is not yet clear why ritual killings are rising and Johnson Sirleaf offered no explanation. Some residents have speculated that presidential hopefuls seeking to replace Johnson Sirleaf when her final term expires in 2017 are using black magic to boost their chances.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free for the second time in September after reporting more than 4,800 deaths but its economy is struggling to recover.

Johnson Sirleaf said in the same speech she would seek to boost power supply and access to electricity and build additional infrastructure in the last two years of her term.

Source: Rise in ritual killings in Liberia prompts president to pledge security crackdown

Liberia: More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County

As I continue to say, both on this site and on my website Liberia Past and Present, the phenomenon of ritual killings has never completely disappeared in Liberia. Originally a cultural practice, nowadays it is closely linked to politics, elections and the greed for (more) wealth and power.  At this particular moment in time it is not known what the background and linkages are of the ritualistic killings in Sinoe County disclosed here by County Attorney Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah. As soon as we learn more about these cases we will come back with the relevant news. (FVDK)

For more details on Liberia’s history of ritual murders, see Ritual Killings in Liberia: From Cultural Phenomenon to Political Instrument

Flashback: Scene of the most famous ritualistic killing ever in Liberian history that occurred in Maryland County in the 1970s

Published: January 25, 2019
By: The New Dawn

County Attorney for Sinoe Cllr. J. Adolphus Karnuah has disclosed that more women have been caught for ritualistic killings in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.

Speaking to a team of journalists at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 24 January, Cllr. Karnuah disclosed that cases of ritualistic killings have topped the docket.

He narrates that six out of 20 women were arrested by police officers, charged and placed behind bars for the alleged crime of ritualistic killings.

Cllr. Karnuah tells the interview that during the police raid, the key perpetrator was arrested, but she was very boastful in her utterances, noting that the matter would end up nowhere.

According to Cllr. Karnuah, the issue of ritualistic killing is said to be taking place in January this year in the district of Numorpor which has its own superintendent and other county officials.

According to him, one of the ritualistic killing incidents took place when the mother of a little boy left him on the farm to go out to fetch some pepper, bitter balls and other food substances for cooking.

He says upon the lady’s arrival, she realized that her son was missing.

Cllr. Karnuah explains that after days of searching without a trace of the missing boy, his father decided to use the help of a herbalist.

The lawyer says upon the father’s return, his wife was said to be part of the crime.

The county attorney says the mother made confession that she was part of the devilish club and it was now time for her to give her own son as a share of her sacrifice.
But he says the lady escaped along with three other women who also confessed to be witchcrafts.

He notes that while the women were in the bush, they were pursued by some men in the community who caught and stripped them naked and gang raped them until one of the ladies identified as Wallet Nyenweh was allegedly killed in the process.

The lawyer narrates that during the trial, he ordered the body of the dead woman exhumed in other to prove the alleged gang rape which was said to have caused her death.

Source: 
https://thenewdawnliberia.com/more-women-in-ritualistic-killings-in-sinoe/

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

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

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

Published: February 4, 2018
By: NewZimbabwe.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gambia – President Barrow denies killing his son for ritual purposes to become president

The big news of this article is NOT what its heading suggests. I have no doubt, president Barrow is speaking the truth. However, the real meaning of this article – and that’s why I include it here – is that it underscores one of my firm beliefs: “Ritual killings are a – daily – reality in many African countries”. If ritual killings would never occur in the Gambia, this rumor would not have existed. The fact alone that the president of the Gambia finds it necessary to publicly deny any involvement in the ritual killing of his son, says a lot about what’s in peoples’ mind in the Gambia. Also, apparently, the (supposed) link between presidential elections and ritual killing is a logical one, also in the Gambia.

Ritualistic killings, superstition and rumors thrive where there is lack of education and proper information. Hence the key to a better future lies in a better education, accessible to all.

President Barrow denies killing his son for ritual purposes to become president

Adama Barrow won the 2016 presidential election, defeating eccentric dictator Yahya Jammeh (1994 – 2017). Jammeh refused to recognize his defeat and Barrow fled to Senegal. After a diplomatic ECOWAS intervention Jammeh was forced to go into exile. Barrow returned to the Gambia on January 26, 2017 and was installed as Gambia’s third president since independence in 1965.

Published: June 27, 2018
By Pa Nderry M’Bai
Freedom Newspaper 

President Adama Barrow has denied reports attributed to him that he allegedly killed his son for ritual purposes so that he can be elected into office as Gambia’s President. The president made the denial through his Press Director Amie Bojang Sissoho, who addressed a news conference on Wednesday at the President’s office in Banjul. This followed, a statement made by President Barrow, during a recent visit to Faraba Banta, where he was quoted as having said that he (Barrow) had to sacrifice his own son, wealth, and life in order for The Gambia to be freed from Jammeh’s twenty-two years dictatorship. Barrow was in Faraba last week to sympathize with the bereaved families, whose loved ones were killed by Gambia’s police intervention unit— the (PIU).

“ When he lost his son, is because he left the Gambia, as president elect. When his son died, he had to leave the children behind. If he was not the president, he would not have done that at that point in time; he wouldn’t have left his family behind. That is what he was trying to explain; that even he has lost his family, but he had to move on because he has taken a responsibility of serving the country,” State House Press Director Amie Bojang Sissoho clarified.

Mr. Barrow’s statement attracted a huge reaction on social media. Many Gambians were taken aback by Barrow’s statement, in which he allegedly made the appearance that he sacrificed his son for ritual purposes to become the country’s President. But the State House was quick to dismiss such reports saying that the President’s statement was being blown out of proportion. It also says Barrow’s statement was being interpreted out of context.

“We have to understand things into context. And remember that when people are in a difficult situation; we have to understand how, and what was the context in which things happened. And this was what simply he was trying to explain. And that is simply what he was trying to explain. That in a process, anything could happen. This is what happened; these lives were loss because of a cause; to show that even he himself lost his child because of a cause. His child died,” Mrs. Bojang Sissoho further clarified.

Mr. Barrow’s son was bitten by a stray dog, and he died in the process. Barrow and his two wives were in Dakar, Senegal, at the time of the incident. His son was buried in his absence.

Mr. Barrow left the Gambia for Mali, to attend a regional Summit over Gambia’s political impasse. He later resettled in Dakar, Senegal, in the wake of the country’s month long political impasse. Former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh had refused to concede defeat during Gambia’s December 2016 Presidential elections, which had thrown the impoverished West African country into a state of turmoil.

“And it was difficult time. We all know that..; when his son died, he was president elect; he was not sworn in; he left the country, but that did not stop him to move on. It is not that he did not feel it; what he was trying to say is that we have our difficult times, but we have to move on as a country,” Mrs Bojang Sissoho told journalists.

“I think people have to calm down on receiving information. What the president was emphasizing was that; we all have lost somebody for the sake of the Gambia; We have been either directly or indirectly affected,” she added.

Source: Freedom Newspaper, June 27, 2018

With a territory of 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) the Gambia is the smallest country within mainland Africa.

Nigeria – Teenager sells brother to ritual killer to pay bride price

In Nigeria, ‘money rituals’ often imply ritual murders and trading in body parts for rituals. Below, yet another example, out of many.

It is imperative that the government of Nigeria maintains the law (“thou shalt not kill”), but it is equally important that the accused gets a fair trial and is assisted by a criminal defense lawyer – if needed, a public defender. After all, ‘civilization’ is more than just upholding the law. And we should not forget that the only way to attack this problem of ritualistic killings is to educate people.

Teenager sells brother to ritual killer to pay bride price

Published on June 1, 2018
By Dan Atori

Police in Niger State have arrested a teenager for allegedly selling his six-year-old brother to a ritual killer for N20,000. The 19-year-old suspect, Aliyu Basala Yakutchi, without mincing words, confessed to have sold his kid brother, Yamusa Ibrahim Yakutchi, to ritual killer in order to raise money to pay his wife’s bride price. The incident was said to have occurred about 10 days ago.

The 19-year-old suspect, Aliyu Basala Yakutchi

Aliyu, from Nagenu village in Katcha Local Government Area, sold his brother to 30-year-old Legbo, from Afuwagi village in Mokwa Local Government Area. Police disclosed that Legbo was presently on the run. Aliyu, who claimed to be the third among his mother’s six children, said that he sold his brother on credit.

Aliyu, who apparently didn’t know or understand the gravity of his action, pleaded with the police to release him unconditionally so that he could go and tend to his farm. He said: “I decided to sell my younger brother for N20,000 on credit so that I can raise money to pay for the bride price of my 14-year-old lover.

I took my younger brother, Yamusa, to Malam Legbo for money rituals because he promised to pay me N20,000 if he succeeded in using him for money rituals. I wanted to use the money to finance my marriage to Fatimah. Our father is dead, but our mother is still alive, her name is Hajiya Yakure.

“Prior to my arrest by the police, I had not been paid by Legbo. The money might not even be enough for my marriage requirements.” Asked the whereabouts of Legbo, Aliyu said: “I think he ran away with my brother when he got the information that the police were looking for him.

I blame the devil for pushing me into hatching this evil plan against my brother. I don’t even know where Legbo has taken my brother to.” While exonerating Fatimah from the crime, Aliyu noted: “She does not know about my evil plan to sell my little brother to offset her bride price.

I’m a farmer and a bachelor. I got enrolled into an Islamic school during my childhood days but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to school. I only speak our local dialect, Nupe language; I cannot speak or understand Hausa language too.”

As at the time of filing this report, the whereabouts of Legbo and Yamusa were still unknown. The police had already paid a visit to Legbo’s village, but met a cold trail.

Source: New Telegraph, June 1, 2018