Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta State, flees (Nigeria)

Superstition is a curse. Its spread is like a virus… and it kills… How on earth can one believe that by murdering someone one increases wealth, power or prestige? ‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria cannot be compared to the traditional ritual killings which were performed for the sake of the wellbeing of the community – but which also don’t have a place in a modern society. Taking someone’s life is a crime. And should be punished.
   
Warning: the article below contains graphic details of the gruesome crime (webmaster FVDK)

Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta, flees

Published: March 28, 2020
By: Punch Nigeria – Afeez Hanafi    

The joy heralding the birth of a child is usually indescribable let alone arrival of twins. That was the feeling seven years ago when Chiagozie and Chidalu Agwunobi, were welcomed to the Oliseh clan in Oko Ogbele Community, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. They were a bundle of joy to their parents as they grew up happily in months and years.

Few days ago, that joy was blown away like a candle in the wind when they went missing and their dismembered bodies later found in a bush. They were cruelly killed by their uncle, Onuwa Oliseh, who is still at large.

Onuwa reportedly lured the seven-year-old male twins to the bush within the neighbourhood on Friday, March 6, after they returned from school and butchered them. He was said to have removed some of their body parts for money rituals and dumped the remains.

Investigation by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in the state led to the arrest of Onuwa’s accomplice, Kelvin Uzor, who is also a relation of the twins.

“Police got information that on March 6, the twins were missing from their parents’ house. Their bodies were later found in the bush on March 8 with some parts of their bodies mutilated. Their eyes, hands and private parts were missing. Police began investigation and generated enough intelligence that led to the arrest of Uzor. He confessed that they were a three-man gang and wanted to do money ritual with the body parts,” a senior officer told Saturday PUNCH.

Our correspondent learnt that Onuwa’s younger brother, Iweka, who attended the same school with the twins, told the police that the suspect asked him to lure the deceased from the school.

“I am a primary four pupil of Ekeanya Primary School. On March 6, at about 6.30am, my elder brother Onuwa Ajei Oliseh, asked me if I would go to school and I told him yes. He asked if I can help him bring out the twins from the school before the school closes that day and I told him no because their teacher would not agree.

“That day when I came back from school, I saw my brother place a cutlass on the table where he was eating while I went to the backyard. It was later I heard that the twins were missing and their dead bodies were found in the bush,” he told detectives.

The twins’ father, Agwunobi Oliseh, stated that Onuwa visited his house that Friday in the morning and asked him if they (the twins) would go to school. He said he responded in affirmative, unknown that Onuwa was plotting to kill his beloved kids.

The 52-year-old farmer said when his children returned from school, Onuwa came back and asked them to follow him to the stream in the community.

He said, “I am a traditionalist and a farmer. I’m married with seven kids. My twins were seven years old. On March 6 in the early morning, Onuwa came to my house and inquired if my late children would go to school and I said yes. I later learnt he told his younger brother, Iweka, to help him take my children out of the school premises. He said he wanted to go somewhere with them.

“Later in the day, he went to their school and tried to take them out but he was chased away by their teacher. As soon as they came back, he came to my house and asked them to follow him to the stream. I think they were on their way when he brought out a cutlass and killed them.”

The distraught father, who noted that he and his wife were not around when Onuwa took the twins away, said he was told the suspect ran home with bloodstains.

“According to his brother, he ran back home with his hands stained with blood. He then asked the brother to pour water on his hands while he washed the machete with which he killed the twins. He left for Uzor’s house and both of them went to one Anam.

“It was when I came back later in the day with my wife that I realised the twins were missing. While I was running around, Iweka told me that it was Onuwa who took my children. Onuwa ran away but we were able to find Uzor who told us where their bodies were dumped. We went there and found their mutilated bodies. Their eyes, tongues and hands were removed,” he added.

Uzor, in his statement, admitted the twins were killed for rituals but denied partaking in their murder.

He said one of his friends, called Chukwudi, told him of a traditionalist in Anambra who could help them to perform money rituals with children not above age 12.

The 18-year-old primary school leaver stated that he informed Onuwa, who agreed to the plan.

He said, “I stopped schooling after my primary school education because my parents did not have money. I worked for a farmer called Egwiyo. I served him for many years and he promised to give me money this year. Chukwudi told me there was a place where we could do money rituals in Anambra and he asked if I was interested.

“We later told Onuwa who agreed to do it. I told them I was not interested but if they want to do it, they could go ahead. I told them I would be happy if they succeeded. I was sleeping when Onuwa called me and said he had killed the twins. He said he took their bodies to one native doctor in Delta but the man told him he wasn’t into money rituals.

“He later called me when the heat was much and told me where he dumped the bodies. Now, police said I was the one who killed the twins. Onuwa took the body parts to a herbalist in Aguleri, Anambra.’’

Uzor said immediately he learnt about the twin’s murder, he ran to Anambra where he was tracked down by the police. He added that he gave tacit support for the crime in the hope that he would be given money to buy a car and build a house if it worked out.

He said, “I wanted to become a young chief because most of the young men I know did not work as hard as I did and now they are millionaires. I am a farmer and hardworking but I was not making enough money. I have no savings. That was why I somehow agreed to be part of the plan.

“Onuwa convinced me it was the fastest way to make money and that most of our colleagues made money through that means. My greatest mistake was that I did not inform my family when Onuwa suggested that we should use the twins.

“I love the twins so much and their parents are nice. I cautioned him but I don’t know that he would still go ahead to kill them. They normally went to his house to play; so it was easy for him to take them out without anyone being suspicious. I was not in the bush when he killed them.”

Uzor revealed further that the initial plan was to use an elderly woman in the community for the money ritual but he prevailed on the gang to spare the woman because she was generous.

“Initially, they wanted to use one old woman known as Nne Amaka, but I pleaded with them to leave her because she is nice. If I passed by and begged her for water, she would give me water and even food.

“I feel bad because he betrayed me. I am appealing to young men that money ritual does not pay. I am a hard working man and well known. Even when my name was mentioned in the crime, a lot of people came out to defend me. I am sorry. I want the family to forgive me,” he added.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that the remains of the twins had been deposited at the General Hospital, Igbuzor while IRT detectives led by DCP Abba Kyari had launched a manhunt for the fleeing suspects.

Source: Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta, flees

Kenya: man and wife held over ritualistic murder of their son

Bad news from Kenya where a couple has been arrested. They are accused of murdering their child in a ritualistic act. But also good news: swift action of the law enforcement officers. Hence, the rule of law. In many countries ritual killers get away with their heinous crimes. The two arrested in Kenya wil have to account for their deeds and, if found guilty, they will have to pay the prize accordingly, after an impartial, transparent trial (webmaster FVDK).

Man and wife held over ritualistic murder of their son, 4

Published: March 21, 2020
By: Nairobi News NN, KNA

Police in Bungoma are holding a couple for questioning after it emerged that the duo allegedly conspired to murder then secretly dumped the body of their four-year-old son at a nearby road.

Residents of Misikhu location, Webuye West constituency in Bungoma County were shocked after they encountered the lifeless body of the baby abandoned on a feeder road.

Preliminary investigations into the incident indicated that the couple had domestic squabbles and may have sacrificed the child in a ritual.

A neighbour who sought anonymity said the couple had frequent quarrels where the husband always accused the woman of infidelity.

The two suspects were apprehended at Makhese village after the mother confessed to killing their son. Police had to fire into the air to save them from an angry mob.

Webuye West sub-county commander Christopher Limo confirmed the arrests adding that the body of the deceased had been moved to the Webuye referral hospital mortuary while the parents were currently being held at Webuye police station for further questioning.

The area police boss further warned parents against infringing on the rights of children saying that his office would prosecute those found to be breaching these rights.

“Children have rights too and anyone who violates the children’s rights will be severely punished,” he charged.

Source: Man and wife held over ritualistic murder of their son, 4

The killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia (2011 article)

The ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia is as old as their cultures. The Kara, Banna and Hamar are not the only ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that kill ‘cursed’ or ‘mingi’ infants. Also in e.g. Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria tribal elders decide that the well-being of their clan or ethnic group is best served by the killing of young, innocent and often defenseless life – and I am certain that infanticide is practiced in more SSA countries.

As with other ritualistic killings (murders!), superstition ‘is the root of all evil’. Ignorance, superstition, AND the lack of law enforcement keeps this ugly practice alive. Let’s all work hard to eradicate these practices from society. Today is 2020. We’re living in the 3rd millennium!

I highly recommend the article below. CNN is to be commended for its publication! (webmaster FVDK)

Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?

Published: November 5, 2011
By: CNN – Matthew D. LaPlante

His top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. That is how elders of the Kara tribe determined that a healthy baby boy needed to be killed. 

The child was “mingi” — cursed, according to their ancient superstitions. With every breath, they believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village. 

Murderous though it was, the decision to kill the boy was the easy part. It was the sacrifice of one infant for the good of the entire tribe — a rite that some of the elders had witnessed hundreds of times throughout their lives in Ethiopia’s remote Omo River Valley.

The tribe’s leaders were less certain of what they should do about the boy’s twin brother, who had died of sickness shortly after birth. After some debate, including a pensive examination of a goat’s intestines, they decided the dead child must have been mingi, too. 

So they dug up the corpse, bound it to the living boy, paddled a canoe into the center of the Omo River and threw them both into the murky brown water. 

That was five years ago — a time before many outside of this isolated basin had ever heard of mingi.

Today, nudged out of acquiescence by a slow-growing global condemnation of the ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia, regional government officials have begun to take action — threatening prison for those complicit in mingi killings. 

Meanwhile, a small band of Banna Christians has taken it upon itself to give sanctuary to the mingi children of their tribe; an enlightenment among some young and educated tribesmen of the Kara has spawned an orphanage for the condemned; and global Samaritans, drawn by the plights of these defenseless children, have offered money and adoptive homes. 

The combined efforts have saved scores of children. 

But none of the interventions has brought an end to the deep fear that stokes the slaughter. And so it is estimated by some government officials, rescue workers and village elders that hundreds of children are still being killed each year, by drowning, suffocation and deliberate starvation. 

‘All the people’
Bona Shapo steers a dugout canoe through crocodile-infested waters, guiding the craft ashore where the Omo River bends at the bottom of a crumbling precipice near the tiny stick-and-thatch village of Korcho. 

The sun is setting into the ravine. Across the river, a troop of colobus monkeys whoops and howls, stirring a flock of gangly marabou storks from their perches on a stand of flat-topped acacia trees. 

“This is where they do it,” says Bona, who stood upon these same muddy banks on the day the twin boys were thrown into the river. “Sometimes they take the babies out in a boat. Other times, they just take them to the edge of the water and throw them in.” 

The mingi rites of the Kara are slightly different from those of the Banna, which are, in turn, different from the Hamar. But common among all is a profound fear of what might happen if the killings were to stop. 

There has been little academic scholarship on the subject, but some observers have speculated that it might have started many generations ago as a way to purge people who are more likely to become a burden or who cannot contribute to the propagation of their people. That might explain why children who break a tooth or injure their genitals are among those singled out for death. Others are killed because they are born out of wedlock or to married parents who have not completed a ceremony announcing their intention to have children — a brutal enforcement, perhaps, of the deep-rooted duty that members have to the tribe first, their family second. 

As far as the Kara elders are concerned, these rules are as old and unyielding as the Omo River — and every bit as crucial to their survival. Allowing a mingi child to live among the Kara, they believe, could cause the rains to stop falling and the sun to grow hotter. 

“If they have the mingi, there will be no water, no food, no cattle,” Bona says. “But when they throw the baby away, everything is good again.” 

Elders bitterly recall times in which their sympathy for mingi children prevailed over their fear. They believe that heedlessness cost the tribe most of its cattle and many of its members. Today, Kara leaders say, a more respectful adherence to the brutal obligations of their beliefs has allowed their tribe to thrive. 

“So yes, it is sad, but we are thinking about the village, the family, all the people,” Bona says. “We tell the parents, ‘don’t cry for your baby, because you will save everyone. You can always make another baby.’ ” 

‘No other option’ 
She wasn’t permitted to nurse him, hold him or even see him. But Erma Ayeli still clings to an image of the baby she lost — fantasy though it may be. 

“I think he must have been a beautiful boy,” Erma says as she rests on a pile of sticks, surrounded by a playful mob of younger children. “I wanted to keep him.” 

Her chin sinks into the tornado of colorful beads draped around her neck. 

Apparently sensing her sorrow, a young boy rests his half-shorn head playfully on her lap. Erma tugs at his ear, smiles and reclaims her composure. 

She still mourns. But she does not question why her son was killed. “There was no other option,” she says. 

Sex outside of the confines of marriage is acceptable among the Kara.

But if a woman becomes pregnant before participating in a marriage ceremony, her child is considered “kumbaso,” a mingi curse that occurs when parents fail to perform the appropriate series of rites before conceiving. Erma cannot marry, though, until her older sister has first been wed. Her hands fall to her swollen stomach; she is pregnant once again. 

“It was an accident,” she laments as she rubs her bare waist. “I don’t want to lose this baby, too.” 

There is a potion she can take; the village medicine man can mix a concoction of roots and herbs that will make her sick and might cause her body to reject her pregnancy, taking her baby’s life before others can take it from her. 

Many women choose this path. Erma won’t. Because this time, at least, she has some reason to hope that her child might be spared a violent death. Far away from her village, she has heard, there is an orphanage for mingi babies. She has pleaded with village leaders to let her child go there. 

Either way, though, she won’t be allowed to see her baby. Once again, she’ll be left to dream about what her child might look like. “This time, I think, I might have a girl,” Erma says. Again, her head hangs low. Again, the boy next to her drops his own head into her lap, glancing up with a wry smile. 

This time, though, Erma doesn’t smile back. She gently strokes his smooth brown cheek.

‘This was our culture’
They have taken her tribal clothes. Her beads, her animal skins and her jewelry have been replaced by a tattered shirt and loose-fitting skirt. In that and most other visible regards, Mashi Lamo is indistinguishable from the other inmates at the Jinka Prison Institute. 

Yet everyone in this ragtag penitentiary knows who she is. “The mingi mother,” says one guard, a woman whose crisply pressed khaki uniform seems to stand out in defiance of this dirty, dilapidated jail, cut into a hillside in the South Omo region’s administrative capital. “Yes, we all know what happened to her. It is very sad.” 

It is not typical for Kara mothers to be asked to kill their own mingi children — and none are known to have done it of their own volition. In any case, fellow Kara say Mashi could not have killed her baby; she was far too weak after the birth to have done such a thing. It was other women who took the child away, they say.

But when police arrived, Mashi took the blame. Within days, she had been sentenced to three years in prison. She had no attorney, and there was no trial.

She may be a prisoner today, but her past and future are inexorably Kara. Mashi can speak and understand only her native language. She’s never been to school. When she is finally released, there will be only one place to go. 

And so, under the watchful eyes of several other Kara prisoners, Mashi stands by her story. 

“What they say is false,” she says of those in her tribe who have proclaimed her innocence. “I did it all myself.” 

But asked if she deserves to be in prison, the teenager sinks her face into her hands. “I hate it here,” she says.

“I wanted to keep my baby, but that was not allowed. This was our culture.” 

A few feet away, another young prisoner — girlish in figure and demeanor — hides behind a corrugated metal wall and listens in. Prison guards say she is the only other person serving time here for a mingi killing, and they say she shares Mashi’s plight. 

But she cannot bring herself to speak of what happened. “This one prefers to forget” the shipshape guard says. 

Unevenly executed as it might be, the government’s effort to crack down on mingi killings has had an effect on the Kara. Combined with other interventions, the fear of prison might be helping to save some children.

But not all of them.

“Before, they did it in the open,” says Solomon Ayko, a gangly young Kara man who has witnessed several mingi killings. “Now, it just happens in secret.”

‘They are human’
The Kara don’t count the passing years as outsiders do, but by Ari Lale’s recollection, it happened about 15 years ago, when he was a young man, eager to prove himself to the rest of his tribe. 

A kumbaso baby had been born. Leaders asked Ari to supervise the child’s execution. 

“The baby was crying,” Ari says, “so we put sand in its mouth and he was still trying to cry but couldn’t anymore.” 

Soon, the child was dead, and Ari escorted a group of women away from the village to throw the tiny boy’s body into the bush. 

What became of the child’s remains? “The hyenas or other animals took it away,” Ari says with a shrug. 

Today, Ari is the leader of Korcho village, and he counts his participation in the boy’s death as one of his proudest memories. 

“All the families would thank me for throwing away that baby,” he says.

“If I had not done it, they would have been angry.” It is extremely uncommon for police officers to make the arduous trip from Jinka to any of the Kara villages, but Ari says he and other leaders are nonetheless wary of the threat of prison. At some point, he says, the government will want to make an example out of someone of his stature. 

But Ari, who wears his hair taut under a hard, red clay bun in the way of his tribe’s warriors, has not stopped believing in the dark magic of mingi. And so he and others have found a different way to carry out the killings. 

They will not drown or suffocate the children, as they once did.

But they have forbade anyone from the village to have contact with a cursed baby. 

“If a mother was to give the baby her breast, she would also become mingi,” he says. “After the baby is born, we keep it alone in the house and we do not give it water or milk.”

Without nourishment, the infants quickly die, and there is little that can be done to prove that a baby wasn’t simply stillborn. 

Ari appears to be pleased about this solution. Yet he balances his pride with a lament for the dead.

“They are human,” he says of the mingi children. 

For all of the praise he got for carrying out that first killing, Ari says, he would have much preferred to let the child live, if only there had been another way.

For some, now there is. 

‘A sickness in our culture’
Kara children die all the time. 

Many succumb to disease. Others are killed by wild animals. And some are sacrificed in the name of mingi. 

For Shoma Dore, that was simply part of life. 

“This is something that came down from generation to generation,” Shoma says. “If a baby comes with the top teeth before the bottom teeth, it must be killed. If it comes without the ceremony, it must be thrown away. … I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.” 

Not, that is, until Shoma left the tribe to attend school in his early teens. In Jinka, he says, he realized for the first time the evil that was being done by his tribe. And when he returned, two years later, he found that others among the Kara’s more educated youths had come to the same realization. 

“There are many important and good parts of our culture — there is also a sickness in our culture, and we have to change ourselves,” says Aryo Dora, who decided a few years ago to go with Shoma and about 30 other young Kara to plead with tribal elders to stop the killings. 

Their plan, developed with the assistance of a team of Westerners, was simple: If mingi children could be sent far away from the village, they would pose no risk to the tribe. 

“Once we explained the plan, they agreed quite easily,” Shoma recalls. 

And that is how the orphanage began. 

It wasn’t long before Webshet Ababaw was drawn into the fight. The professional tour guide and driver was in Jinka when he received a call from the orphanage. Leaders there had received word that a kumbaso girl was about to be born in the Kara village of Labuk. They needed someone with a four-wheel-drive vehicle who wasn’t afraid to race across the axle-breaking savannah to get to the village in time to save her. 

No one seemed inclined to help find the child when Webshet and an official from the orphanage arrived in the village, but they finally found the infant lying on the ground behind a stick hut. Her mouth was filled with dirt and sand, but she was alive and seemed to be in relatively good health, Webshet says. 

Piecing together a newborn first-aid regimen from what he’d seen in the movies and in a high school health class, Webshet unstrung a lace from his shoe and tied it around the baby’s broken umbilical chord. When no one in the village would give him a blanket, he wrapped the shivering child in his jacket. And when no one would give him milk, he found a goat, crouched beside it, and took a small amount for the girl. 

None of the Kara had helped him on that day, but as he raced back to Jinka, Webshet looked at the small bundle in the passenger seat beside him and smiled.

There she was, improbably cooing as he bumped along the rugged dirt road.”

At least someone decided to contact us,” he says. “That is the only reason why she was alive.” 

Orphanage officials later named the baby Edalwit, which means “she is lucky.

“Today, more than 30 mingi children live together in a small single-story home in a quiet Jinka neighborhood. Aryo, who is co-director of the orphanage, won’t grant permission for outsiders to check on the children — a rule intended to protect the orphans from potential exploitation, he explains. But, he says, they are loved, cared for and schooled with the hope that one day, they will be allowed to return to their families. 

“These children are the future leaders of their tribes,” Aryo says. “They are going to grow up big and strong. They are the ones who will end mingi.” 

‘We did our best’
It is a bright May morning in Korcho. In the communal spaces between the round, grass-topped huts, dozens of women are on their knees, vigorously thrusting their body weight into stone hand mills, grinding sorghum into flour. 

Zelle Tarbe, though, is working inside. It has been just six days since she gave birth to her baby boy. Her breasts are still swollen — full of milk that will not nourish her child. The shock of losing him is still plastered across her face.

Zelle, who is unmarried, knew she would have to give up the child, but it was harder than she expected. “I wanted to keep him with me,” she says. 

But she is nonetheless feeling very fortunate, “because my son is alive.” 

Zelle was able to spend a few short moments with her baby before orphanage officials spirited him away. 

“He was so sweet and beautiful,” she says from the shadows of the hut as a friend butchers a goat and hangs its carcass on the wall beside her. “But I did not give him a name because he was mingi and could not stay with me.” 

Already, though, she is dreaming of a day in which she might make the journey to see her boy. 

“Someday, I hope, I can visit him in Jinka,” she says. 

No one, least of all Zelle, would argue that the rescue mission isn’t preferable to death for mingi children. But the orphanage has nonetheless been a controversial solution. A Christian group that supported the effort for two years withdrew its backing this spring after accusing the orphanage’s director of stealing money donated by American benefactors. 

Orphanage officials counter-accused the Americans — who had helped arrange the adoptions of four mingi babies — of stealing the children from their families. The adoptions were, in fact, all legal under Ethiopian law, which treats mingi children as abandoned. But the orphanage leaders have argued that the biological parents surrendered their babies under cultural duress and should have the right to reclaim those children if their situation were to change. 

Either way, adoptions and orphanages don’t address the root causes of mingi. And even when it had the support of a determined and resourceful team of Westerners, the rescue and shelter system was able to save only a fraction of the endangered children. 

“At one point, there were six women we knew about who were pregnant with mingi children,” recalls Jessie Benkert, one of the Americans who supported the rescue effort. “We only got one.” 

Geography is as much an obstacle as tradition. The Kara tribe is separated into three main villages, and the only telephone able to reach the outside world is in the main village of Dus, an hours-long hike from the other communities. Hundreds of other Kara live deep within the bush and, tribe members say, are more likely to carry out mingi killings there without notice. 

Getting from Jinka to any of the Kara villages in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is, in the best of situations, a half-day’s trip across soft savannah sands and muddy river beds. A light rain can delay the trip by days. And during the rainy season, which lasts for up to eight months each year, the route can be washed away entirely. 

Tribal leaders in Korcho say about 20 mingi children have been born into their small village since the orphanage opened. Orphanage workers have arrived in time to save only about half of them, they say. 

Last year, rescue mission leaders learned that a Kara woman had given birth to a mingi boy whom tribal elders had promptly attempted to kill by ripping out his umbilical cord. The wounds had quickly gone septic, and there was no time to send a car to retrieve the child. Evacuation by air was the only solution; chartering the aircraft cost $3,500. 

“That was the sum of all the money we had,” said Levi Benkert, Jessie’s husband. “And we couldn’t be certain that, even if we did it, he was going to live.

“They did it anyway — and saved the boy. An online fundraising effort quickly recouped the costs of the evacuation, but rescue mission officials knew they couldn’t sustain those sorts of expenses. And, in any case, they’ve since been pushed out of the Omo River Valley by local government officials who have sided with the orphanage’s Ethiopian director. 

“We did our best,” Levi Benkert says. “We saved as many children as we could. And we continue to pray for them every day.” 

‘Out of fear’
The people of the Omo River Valley love their children. 

That is what Andreas Kosubek has come to believe over six years of organizing medical mission trips into the Kara heartland. 

“These people are really good people,” says the German missionary, who recently gained permission from tribal elders to build a home on Kara lands. “They are not doing this because they are evil, wild, dumb monsters. They’re doing it out of fear. They fear for the lives of others in the tribe.”

From Kosubek’s point of view, the fear will end only if the Kara come to believe in something stronger than mingi. In his way of thinking, that means introducing them to Christianity. 

“But we cannot do that,” the 29-year-old evangelist says, “unless we approach them with humility and a dedication to service.”

And Kosubek says he has often failed in that regard.

Not long ago, a Kara man brought his sick daughter to Kosubek, who was on tribal lands to work on his home and not accompanied by anyone with medical training. 

The toddler was breathing rapidly and not responding to her father’s words or touch.

“She was the same age as my daughter and, you know, if my daughter had been sick like that, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done to save her,” Kosubek says, noting that he would have immediately evacuated his own daughter to a hospital. “But so many things crossed my mind: It’s difficult, it’s expensive.” 

The girl later died, probably of simple pneumonia.

“I could have helped her,” Kosubek says. “And I am ashamed.”

Kosubek recognizes the need to end mingi killings, but he doesn’t feel entitled to condemn those deaths.”

Far more children are dying in other ways,” he says. “These are ways that we can address and prevent immediately if we just cared enough. Before we judge, we have to ask ourselves what we have done to help these children.

“In that question, he believes, is a model for truly bringing an end to the slaughter — through genuine selflessness and compassion.He’s seen it, firsthand, among the people of the nearby Banna tribe.

‘My children are also mingi’
In a smoke-filled mud hut in the village of Alduba, Kaiso Dobiar dips a ladle into a tar-black pot of coffee, filling her home with the aroma of the brew as she stirs the simmering liquid.

Kaiso is proud to be Banna, and she follows many of her tribe’s customs and beliefs. But she is also Christian and, wary of false idolatry, she and her husband refused to perform the rites mandated by tribal leaders before they conceived. 

“So my children are also mingi, in that way of thinking,” says Kaiso, who is fostering two additional mingi children in her home. 

A tiny girl crawls onto Kaiso’s lap, reaching over to help stir the pot. “This is Tarika,” Kaiso says. “She is 2 years old, and she is mingi.” 

The girl was born without the appropriate Banna ceremonies, but her birth mother hid the child for six months. “Then the rains stopped for a short time,” Kaiso says. “The people rose up and said, ‘You must get rid of her. Throw her into the bush.’ But I said, ‘do not throw your child into the bush, give her to me.’ ” 

Also sharing this small hut with Kaiso’s family is Tegist, another mingi child who guesses her age at 7 or 8 years. Kaiso says her foster daughters cannot play with other Banna children and must remain in her family’s small compound. 

“They will have to stay here until they are older,” Kaiso says. “After that? God, he knows.” 

Missionaries first came to the Banna decades ago, and the Christian church here is larger than any other among the tribes of this region. Still, their numbers are small; Banna’s Christians make up just 1 or 2 percent of the tribe’s population. 

But their collective efforts have been enough to almost eliminate mingi killings within their tribe. With little money or other means of support, Banna’s Christians have accepted responsibility for nearly all of the tribe’s mingi children. Many, like Kaiso, are already caring for one or more mingi boys and girls. One family has taken in 17 foster children. 

They do so at great potential risk to their own families. As she steps outside her home, the precariousness of Kaiso’s situation becomes clear. 

“Kaiso, why are you protecting those children?” an angry neighbor screams from beyond a stick fence. “Tell us why!” 

The Banna have not faced drought or a significant bout with deadly disease for many years. That, local Christians say, has kept much of their neighbors’ anger at bay. 

But if the tribe’s fortunes were to change, its leaders would be swift to identify a culprit, Banna tribesman Andualem Turga says. 

“What you need to understand is that, to these people, these babies are like an influenza,” he says. “If it is not stopped, it can kill many people. That is what they believe. … And when things go badly, the people believe this more than ever.” 

Another foster mother, Uri Betu, tries not to think about such things. Her faith, she says, is clear on her responsibilities to the two mingi children who live in her home — and any others that need her care. 

“For now, we do not worry,” Uri says as she watches her pair of 2-year-old foster daughters, Tariqua and Waiso, play in her yard.

 ver time, Uri prays, the Banna will see that the presence of mingi children in their midst is unrelated to the patterns of rain and sun that sometimes cause their crops to fail. 

Still, she laments, “there is a long way to go to change the beliefs we have had for so long.”

Source: Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?

Osun State Assembly okays death penalty for ritual killers and kidnappers (Nigeria)

Recently, on March 2, I posted an article – dated February 26 – on the subject mentioned in the heading: ritual killers and kidnappers who have been found guilty may face the death penalty in Osun State. I added critical comments which I won’t repeat here. Readers are referred my March 2 posting.

Now it has become official. On Tuesday, March 10 the Osun State House of Assembly has passed into law a bill that makes kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing a crime which is punishable by death. Will the capital punishment act as a deterrent? Or will in practice it serve s a means to revenge the heinous crime committed, not more and no less? Only the future will tell. We will follow up on the upcoming events in Osun State (webmaster FVDK).

Osun Assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers 

Speaker Timothy Owoeye

Published: March 11, 2020
By: The Nation – Toba Adedeji, Osogbo 

Osun State House of Assembly has passed into law, a bill prohibiting kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing.

The bill, which was passed into law on Tuesday, was read for the third time, having passed through debates to correct identified grey areas by the committee of the whole of the House of Assembly.

Speaker Timothy Owoeye said that with the passage of the bill, Section 364 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Law of Osun, which stipulated 10 years for kidnappers, stood repealed and replaced with the death penalty.

He said: “Where the life of the person kidnapped, restrained or seized is lost in the process, the kidnapper(s) is liable on conviction and will be sentenced to death.”

Owoeye said any person who kidnaps another person by any means or instilling fears or tricks or compels another to do anything against his will commits an offence.

Said he: “Where the life of the person kidnapped is lost in the process and the kidnapper is liable on conviction, he or she is to be sentenced to death.

“Not lost in the process, but he is released upon payment of a ransom or performance of a ransom act, the kidnapper is liable on conviction to repay the sum he/she received as ransom and to imprisonment for life and the ransom act shall be reversed.

“Any person who knowingly or willingly allows his premises, building or place belonging to or occupied by him or her and which he has control over to be used for purposes or keeping a kidnapped person, commits an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years and such building shall be forfeited to the government for public use.”

Owoeye said the passed bill will soon be transmitted to Governor Gboyega Oyetola for his assent as soon as administrative processes are completed.

(…….)

Source: Osun Assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers 

Related articles: 

Osun Assembly passes death penalty for kidnappers 

Published: March 11, 2020|
By: Legit – Rahaman Abiola            

  • Osun state assembly has passed the bill seeking to impose the death penalty for kidnappers, bandits and money ritualists
  • The move became necessary in order to tackle the insecurity concern in the southwest state
  • Explaining the mission of the bill, Osun speaker Timothy Owoeye said the kidnappers will be sentenced to death should the victims die

    The war against kidnapping received a massive boost as Osun assembly completed the passing of a bill which will henceforth tackle abduction and ritual killing in the southwest state.

    The assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, March 10, which will also hopefully tackle the cases of banditry in the state, The Nation reports.

    Speaking at the assembly complex after the bill scaled through the legislative hurdle, Osun speaker Timothy Owoeye said any kidnapper found henceforth will be made to face the wrath of the law and be sentenced to death.

Source: Insecurity: Osun Assembly passes death penalty for kidnappers 

And:

Osun assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers, ritualists

Published: March 11, 2020
By: Blueprint

The Osun state House of Assembly has passed into law a bill that makes kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing punishment by death sentance.

The bill, which was passed into law on Tuesday, was read for the third time, having passed through debates to correct identified grey areas by the committee of the whole of the House of Assembly.

Speaking after the passage, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, said with the passage of the bill, Section 364 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 law of Osun, which stipulated 10 years for kidnappers, stood repealed and replaced with the death penalty.

“Where the life of the person kidnapped, restrained or seized is lost in the process, the kidnapper(s) is liable on conviction and will be sentenced to death.”

“Where the life of the person kidnapped is lost in the process and the kidnapper is liable on conviction, he or she is to be sentenced to death.

“Not lost in the process, but he is released upon payment of a ransom or performance of a ransom act, the kidnapper is liable on conviction to repay the sum he/she received as ransom and to imprisonment for life and the ransom act shall be reversed.

“Any person who knowingly or willingly allows his premises, building or place belonging to or occupied by him or her and which he has control over to be used for purposes or keeping a kidnapped person, commits an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years and such building shall be forfeited to the government for public use.”

Owoeye said any person who kidnaps another person by any means or instilling fears or tricks or compels another to do anything against his will commits an offence.

Owoeye said the passed bill will soon be transmitted to Governor Gboyega Oyetola for his assent as soon as administrative processes are completed.

Source: Osun assembly okays death penalty for kidnappers, ritualists

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

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

South Africa: Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

The following case may not refer to a ritualistic murder though there are strong indications that a ritual murder has indeed been committed. Moreover, the article refers to previous ritual killings that have taken place as “There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.”, see below (webmaster FVDK).

Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

Published: December 15, 2019
By: The South African – Thabo Baloyi

A passer-by made the gruesome discovery of a mutilated body near the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Limpopo are on the search for the perpetrators behind the horrific discovery of a badly mutilated body in Polokwane on Thursday 12 December 2019.

The body was found dumped in the bushes along the N1 bypass, near the Peter Mokaba Stadium. A passer-by, who came across the body, noticed some limbs were missing and called the police who then rushed to the scene.

“Upon arrival at the scene, the police were met by the gruesome scene of the badly mutilated body of a man who is estimated to be in his forties, wearing grey trousers, a blue T-shirt and black shoes”, police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nneke Ledwaba strongly condemned the attack and called for those responsible to face the full might of the law

“The commissioner has noted the incident with shock, especially the brutality that characterised this murder and has ordered an intensive manhunt for the suspects,” the statement read.

Police are appealing to anyone with information that can assist in the arrest of the suspect(s) and who can assist in the identification of the deceased, to contact Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or the nearest police station.

Ritual murder not ruled out as motive

While Mojapelo did note that the motive was unknown at this stage, they were not ruling out the likelihood of a ritual killing and investigations into the murder are ongoing.

There have been concerns over the high number of ritual killings in the province for years, particularly of women.

Earlier in 2019, Giyani villagers discovered that the private parts of a 69-year-old Giyani man, who had been killed after being hit by a car, were missing. His family believes that he had actually been murdered as part of a ritual act.

In 2018, the headless body of a woman was found in Lulekani, outside Phalaborwa, insider her bedroom. In the same year, the Polokwane High Court sentenced two men to life in prison for the murder of a 17-year-old girl. They were reportedly arrested while trying to sell her head to a local businessman.

The dark practice of ritual murders, motivated by cultural beliefs, is usually carried out by traditional leaders and involves the removal of body parts, whether for self-enrichment or to appease ancestors.

Source: Polokwane police launch manhunt after discovery of mutilated body

Polokwane – previously called Pietersburg – is the capital of Limpopo province

Nigeria: Hunchback hunters

Read this “chilling story of how a prison warden, moviemaker and con-herbalists abduct, butcher 30-year-old hunchback in Osun State, Nigeria, for money ritual.” The cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual occurred in September last year and the article was published in December.” Warning: the article contains graphic details of the heinous crime the accused allegedly committed (webmaster FVDK).

Reporters of the Saturday Sun were able to interview some of the suspects in police custody – which his amazing and raises several questions. Who authorized these interviews and why? Is this in conformity with the defendants’ rights, despite the horrible accusation against them and their alleged responsibility and guilt? What is the added value of interviewing people in detention who have not yet been tried by an impartial court?

The following article is a sad story. We sympathize with the victim and his dear ones. Once more, it is demonstrated that the belief in the power and juju obtained through ‘money ritual’ in Nigeria is widespread. We must fight against ignorance and superstition and compliment the Nigerian authorities for all efforts to help eradicating this evil from Nigerian society (webmaster FVDK).

Nigeria: Hunchback hunters

Published: December 21, 2019
By: The Sun, Voice of the Nation – Chioma Okezie-Okeh

On September 15, 2019, a 30-year-old hunchback, Olusegun Fasakin, was abducted from his home at Igangan-Ijesa, Atakunmosa East Local Government Area of Osun State. All efforts by the police, his family and friends to locate him did not yield any result. His abductors never called to demand a ransom. 

The truth of what became of him recently resurfaced. It was an accidental discovery by law enforcement agents tracking a suspect of a robbery case.

Since then, detectives have picked some of the suspects involved and interrogated them. The suspects sang like canaries, divulging the ghastly details. The suspects are a ragtag group of desperadoes, that include a prison warden (correctional officer) and a set of herbalists who are ex-convicts previously jailed for a similar offence.

Saturday Sun interviewed some of the suspects in police custody. Their stories add up to a macabre tale of the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual.

Discovery by mistake

Acting on a petition by the victims of the armed robbery incident that took place in Ijesa, on October 10, 2019. Head of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, drafted operatives at its Osun annexe to investigate the case.

The IRT team, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bisiriyu Akindele, tracked down one Akinyemi Oyebode who participated in the robbery. While on his trail, detectives intercepted a phone conversation between him and a prison warden. In the conversation, he was heard threatening to expose a prison warder if he fails to pay him some money.

He was grilled after his arrest, during which he made a clean breast that the incident he was talking about was the abduction and killing of Olusegun Fasakin, a 30-year-old hunchback.

Law enforcement agents consequently rounded up those allegedly involved in the crime. The suspects were identified as Akinyemi Oyebode, Jamiu Adeniyi, Isaac Ayandokun (a.k.a. Baba Niyi), Kehinde Oladokun (a.k.a. Alfa), Ojo Taiwo Olasukanmi (a.k.a. Ifa) and Mukaila Kolawole (a.k.a. Baba Beji) who all claimed to be herbalists, and Charles Adebusuiyi, a serving prison warder at the Ilesa Correction Centre.

Presently, all primary suspects, save for the prison warden, have been arrested

The search for a hunchback

Saturday Sun spoke with Akinyemi Oyebode, the suspect originally tracked by IRT operatives.

He alleged that several meetings were held inside the office of Charles Adebusuiyi at Ilesa Correctional Centre.

The 24-year-old, a native of Okemesi in Ekiti State, was a school dropout who trained as a vulcanizer, but has served time in prison, jailed in 2016 after he was found with wraps of Indian hemp during a raid by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He was released earlier this year after three years behind bar.

His family sought to straighten his life. They bought him a motorcycle so he could earn his daily bread as a commercial bike man. He soon made a lot of customers including the prison officer.

“He was one of my early customers and I normally pick and drop him in front of the prison. One thing led to another and I told him that I have spent about three years in prison. Gradually we became friends and sometimes he will invite me to come and have a drink with him,” he said.

Oyebode insisted they held several meetings in his office at the prison premises.

“This was how I got to know the likes of Alfa, Baba Beji and Ifa who are all herbalists,” he said. “One of the days that I took Charles to Sabo, I overheard them talking about doing rituals to make money. I needed money at that time so I was interested. As soon as Charles came out and we were heading back to town, I told him that I am also interested in what I overheard and he assured me that he will alert me when everything is set. I was so excited especially when he told me that he was going to pay me one million at the end of the deal.”

Oyebode admitted he knew they were going to abduct someone for money ritual only that he was not sure who the target was.

His story threw illumination on the dark deed that took place on the night of September 15.

He narrated: “Few days later Charles called me to come and pick him up that we have an important job. I took him to where his car was. Three other persons were already there. They were not the regular faces that I knew.

“When we got to Igangan Square around 10 pm, he asked us to wait, while he and the three young men went into the neighbourhood. In less than 20 minutes, they came back dragging one tall man with them. The man did not resist or shout; he was just following them like a fool. They put him in the car and drove off. Charles told me not to worry that he would handle everything.”

After waiting for some days and it was clear Charles had no intention to give him any money, Oyebode called up and threatened to tell the police what he was up to.

The warden pacified him with N18, 000.  In the meantime, one of his friends invited him to join a robbery gang.

“We attacked a compound in August and raided the entire flats. I got a big phone which I sold for N16, 000,” he confessed.

That was to be his undoing, as IRT operatives who took charge of the case, tracked him down, for the robbery, and also routinely queried him about his telephone conversation with a “prison warden” he threatened.

With this background, the next logical question is, who commissioned the search for hunchback?

In their various depositions during interrogation, the suspects all claimed they were contracted by a shadowy figure, a medical doctor who promised them millions of naira in return for a real hunchback.

The answer could only come from Mukaila Kolawole, popularly known as Baba Beji. It was he who got the contract from a man whom he claims people know as a medical doctor.

The native of Iragbiji in Osun State earned a livelihood as a farmer. He was, however, jailed in the past for the killing of a hunchback. “I was framed,” he said.

He told Saturday Sun the details.

“In 2009, I was a member of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC). One of our members, known as Muritala, misbehaved and was suspended from the group. He got annoyed and formed his own local vigilante group. They were the ones who attacked a nearby village and abducted a woman with hunchback. We were at a meeting the night her mutilated corpse was found. The Muritala-led vigilante group raised alarm that we were the ones responsible for the murder. About ten of us were arrested that day and charged to court for murder. I was released last year after spending nine years.”

It was during those nine years he met Charles Akinbusuyi.

“He was our warden. He normally ‘dash’ us money. We became friends with him. He assured us that anytime names of those to be helped by government was compiled, he’d make sure my name was included.”

He was part of the inmates granted amnesty by the Chief Justice of Osun State in 2018.

Back to the business of September 15, he continued: “When I regained my freedom, I went back to farming but kept in touch with Charles. One day, he called me that he was tired of depending on monthly salary that he wanted a faster way of making money. He asked me if I knew anyone who is into money ritual and I said yes. I introduced him to some of my friends who were herbalists and they suggested to us different ways that we can make quick money. It was while we were at it that I received a call from my longtime customer and asked if I can help him abduct and kill a man or woman with a hunchback. He offered to pay us millions and I told Charles about it and he agreed to be part of it.”

It turned out that Baba Beji who claimed in the beginning of his confession that he knew nothing about hunchback killers, was the person who assembled the best hands to find a hunchback. “Millions were involved and I know that it is not a one-man thing,” he said. “I alerted my herbalist friends that I know and told them about the contract. Everyone started searching until Charles said that he knows of one in a village called Iwara where he normally goes to consult a native doctor.”

According to him, the prison warden planned the abduction. “Charles agreed to hire boys that will abduct the man,” he claimed. “He is a prison warden so he knows a lot of criminals.”

Kolawole took charge of the second part of the mission. “I assembled my fellow herbalists who would help in the killing and removal of the hump. All of us went to the area, and Charles and three other young men that I assumed are professionals, moved into the compound and asked us to wait. In less than 20 minutes, they came out with a man. The young men left and the rest of us entered the vehicle to an agreed place where we intended to slaughter him.”

Kolawole was the one who delivered the killing stroke. “When we got to a deserted area that night, I brought out my spanner, and because I knew what I came there to do, I quickly hit him on the head and he fell down. When I was sure he was dead, I used a knife to cut out the deformed part of his back.”

“We called Niyi, who is an expert in such things, to come and confirm if it was authentic.”

They received a big blow when the expert arrived and proclaimed the hump not useful because it was not a natural hump but a growth.

“We were disappointed. We had no choice but to discard the body and return to Osogbo.”

While he claimed that he had no idea what exactly the hump of a hunchback is used for, Kolawole admitted he knew native doctors use it to produce charm for wealth. “I heard that if you want good money from everywhere,  that some people used their (hunchback’s) bones to make bathing soap. This is what I heard, maybe doctor [the one who commissioned the job] will explain better.”

Additional information came from Olasukunmi, popularly known as Ifa, who claimed that he was lured into the crime.

“I am a movie producer and I have successfully produced three movies as far back as 2010. During my spare time, I also do herbalist work which I learnt from my father. I am still working on one of my movies when police arrested me,” he stated.

His connection to the group was Akinbusuiyi, the prison warden.

“I knew Charles in prison when I was arrested by the police during a raid. I didn’t spend much time with them before I was released from prison,” he said.

He was present on the killing ground.

He explained his role: “On the day of the incident, I met them at the express. They asked me to help hold the torch because it was late at night, at about 11:30pm. I held the torch while Baba Beji cut him open. I was not the one who killed him.”

Ifa tried to distance himself from the murder, saying: “I am a herbalist and my stock-in-trade is assisting fraudsters to be successful.”

He explained he got entangled in the plot hunchback plot. “Baba Beji came to me and asked if I knew where we could get a man or woman with a hunchback. I told him to leave me alone as I was not into any money ritual. He called me one day to join him and I asked him what it was. He said that one of his friends who can pay very well wants to see me. I thought he was real till we got to the forest,” he narrated.

He tried desperately to justify his role: “I was scared, that was why I joined him. I know how these things work out ––if I don’t join them, they will kill me.”

Baba Niyi is the expert in the group, the man who could identify the hump of a natural hunchback.

He, too, once spent time in Ilesha prison. He was one of the vigilantes that were jailed alongside Baba Ibeji over the killing of a hunchback.

He, also, knew the man who commissioned the job. “I have known the doctor for many years. He normally asked for herbs. This was why he asked me to go and cross-check. I went there and discovered that it was not real,” he said.

Baba Niyi insisted on his innocence. “I did not follow them to kill anyone,” he submitted.

What became of the body?

They claimed the remains was dumped inside the bush along Osun-Ibadan expressway.

The fugitive prison warden

Charles Adebusuiyi, the prison warden, has since vanished into thin air. His office, Nigerian Correctional Services, confirmed no one has seen him at work since  the case broke out. He has been declared wanted by the police.

From others’ confessions, it was he who allegedly contracted the services of the abductors –Emmanuel, Kazeem and another popularly known as MTN –  to go to Igangan and abduct the victim. The three abductors, presently on the run, are suspected criminals who were once inmates at the Ilesa correction al center, where Adebusuiyi was a warden until he became a fugitive.

The victim’s family

Saturday Sun spoke with one of the relatives, Olatunji Fasakin, who was at the police station.

“I am his nephew and we live at Igangan-Ijesa, Osun State,” he introduced himself.

According to him, the family had given up hope of finding when they heard that IRT operatives had cracked the case.

He gave his side of the story thus: “On September 15, 2019, around 6 pm, I left to the forest to hunt. At about 8 pm, my wife called me that they have kidnapped my nephew and urged me to hurry back home. Upon my return, I met his mother and grandmother in tears. They told me four men took him away on a motorcycle. I took my motorcycle and drove towards the direction they were heading. When I got to Iwara junction, the persons that I met said that they have left and that some of the villagers who tried to stop them were beaten up. I returned to the village and reported the matter at Igangan police post.”

Although, some community members who heard of his abduction had rightly deduced that he was picked  because of his hunched back, the family, nonetheless, had hoped his abductors would, in time, call to demand a ransom.

“But they never did,” he said, “When we couldn’t find him, everyone assumed that he was used for money ritual.”

He explained why his cousin was not a natural hunchback: “He had been sick right from birth, the constant ill-health affected his growth and he was no longer walking properly. Anyone that saw him would assume he had a hunchback. He wasn’t a hunchback.”

On how they got the news of the arrest of his abductors and killers, he said: “A family friend at Ayesan police post informed us that it was IRT Osun that arrested them.”

He said the family is still in mourning, stating, “but now we know what really happened to our brother.”

The family pleaded with the police to help them find his remains so that they can give him a befitting burial.

Source: Hunchback hunters