Also see my posts dated August 30, 2018 – “Get rid of this evil”: High Court judge calls govt to ban all shrines in Uganda – and August 20, 2018 – We wanted wealth!’ Four witch doctors arrested over ritual murders tell Police and and more articles – on the ritual murders in Kayunga District (webmaster FVDK).
Published: November 12, 2019 By: Jalira Namyalo
One of the persons implicated in ritual killing and burial of five people in a shrine in Kisoga Village, Nazigo Sub-county in Kayunga District has been sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty. Joseph Kibuuka, alias Junior, pleaded guilty to murder charges but court reduced the charge to being an accessory to the murder under the plea bargain process.
After the sentencing, Kibuuka turned into a prosecution witness. He entered the witness box and testified against the five other accused persons with whom he had been indicted for murder of five people among them Zulaika Nansamba Mirembe.
Other suspects are Ssebuyungo alias Owen Sonko (witchdoctor/ herbalist); Muhammad Wamala alias Vincent Bob; James Lutwama; Fred Kiiza Ssemanda and Issa Walakira.
In his testimony, Kibuuka said the deceased Mirembe came to Ssebuyungo’s shrine one evening in May and they had a meal with her and Wamala in a trading centre before going back to Ssebuyungo’s shrine.
“At around 9pm, we (Wamala, Mirembe and Barbara, a sister of Ssebuyungo) drove back and they dropped me at my place near Ssebuyungo’s shrine. Wamala told me not to close the door because he was to sleep at my place but he did not come. In the morning when I went to clean the shrine, I found a fresh grave and did not see Mirembe. I was scared and feared to say anything,” Kibuuka narrated. According to Kibuuka, after sometime Ssebuyungo and Wamala had disagreements which prompted Wamala to report a case of murder to police.
He said it is Wamala who trained Ssebuyungo in witchcraft but could not tell how other bodies were buried in the same shrine. He said he worked at the shrine for few months as a cleaner.
Published: November 2, 2019 By: Chioma Igbokwe and Moshood Adebayor – The Sun
The gruesome murder of Qudus Anifowoshe on October 14, 2019, once again brought panic to the residents of Lagos town of Ikorodu.
While they had enjoyed relative safety and calm in the last two years after the killing spree of Badoo Boys, the murder of the teenager was a wake-up call that some ritualists are still prowling in the outskirt town. The victim’s body was found mutilated with missing parts, the unmistakable imprints of ritual killing. It was alleged that the 14-year-old student of Icon Primary and Secondary school Ikorodu, was last seen before his disappearance walking side by side with a suspect identified as Daniel Ameh, who was further implicated when three days later the mutilated corpse was found in an uncompleted building close to the house where he lived at Igbogbo Agunfoye Ire. Daniel Ameh, 17, has since been arrested and detained by detectives attached to the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti.
However, two weeks later, the police are not close to unravelling the why or how he was killed, while the suspect, an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, in his declaration of his innocence, insists the real killers are still at large. His evidence: the victim was once kidnapped and ransomed in the past.
The bereaved family, on the other hand, believed police are dillydallying in what they think should be an open-and-shut case.
Taofeek Anifowoshe, the victim’s father, alleged: “My son was found dead in an uncompleted building around 2 pm on Friday, October 18. They poured chemical on him, removed his eyes, tongue, heart, breasts and private parts. He went missing on Monday night and all the children with him said he was last seen with Daniel [Ameh]. We searched for him all through that Monday night but we did not see him. When we started looking for him, it was Daniel’s grandmother that went to ring the church bell and was announcing that my son had gone missing. But the surprising thing to us is that bloodstains were seen on the curtains of Daniel’s grandmother’s house and on the fence from where Qudus was thrown to the other side. We believe that he was killed inside that room and they dumped his body through the fence to the other side.”
Suspect’s story of innocence
At the SCID where he is currently detained, 17-year-old Daniel Ameh insisted that he knew nothing about the death of Qudus whom he referred to as a friend.
This was the story he told Saturday Sun: “On Monday, October 14, I went to the hospital with my grandmother for my regular check-up. She has made it a routine to take me for checkups to be sure that I did not contract any disease while in school. Few minutes after the laboratory test was conducted, the nurse told my grandmother that there were traces of Malaria and Typhoid fever in my blood. I updated my Whatsapp status to show that I was sick. One of those that commented was Tawa, the sister to the late Qudus, who is also my friend. She accused me of not coming around to see her. I promised to do so as soon as I return from the hospital.
“In the evening, I went to their house and met her plaiting her hair. We were chatting when Qudus came in, took his brother’s slippers and told them that he was going to his friend’s place. On my way out, I saw him standing with some Arabic students watching a movie on his phone. I asked him to transfer the movie to my phone and while he was doing that, a boy who lives on their street, Juwon Adebisi, left with Qudus.
Since we had not finished transferring the movie to my phone, he left his phone with me. I waited in front of their compound till I was done and luckily, he came back and I handed the phone back to him and left.”
Ameh claimed that he was already at home with his grandmother when some women were going around the area searching for Qudus.
“It was around 9 pm that I heard voices of women at our backyard complaining that they were looking for their son. I discovered it was Qudus’ mother and other women who were searching the uncompleted building beside our house.”
By 11 pm, some community women banged at their gate.
“I came out and opened the gate. They asked me if I knew where Qudus was since I was seen with him earlier in the day. In the presence of my grandmother, I told them that I was collecting a movie from his phone.”
The next day, he was at the Anifowoshe home to find out if Qudus had been found. “I was concerned because his elder sister, Tawa, is my friend,” he said. “She told me that they had not seen him.
The following day, Wednesday, he was at their house again. “To encourage my friend Tawa,” he said.
There he heard various accounts of people recounting the last time they saw the missing lad. “A woman said that while he was with the Arabic students, he received a call and wanted to leave when they pleaded with him to go for his 8 pm prayer and he replied in Yoruba that he wanted to go and jump the fence. Another man said that he saw him inside a barbing saloon that day.”
However, before the end of that day, the spotlight shifted to him.
“I went home and started receiving calls from friends asking if I am gay. My grandmother even confronted me with the same question. She said the news in town was that I was last seen with Qudus. She said that she was worried because people were saying that the way I held Qudus was as if I was holding a girl.”
Ameh insisted: “[Late] Qudus is just the brother of my friend, Tawa and I related to him as such. I have never had a reason to walk around with him neither did I force him to join any secret cult.”
Amid this disturbing development, he had to return to Ago Iwoye for his studies. However, distressing calls from Ikorodu kept coming. The most disturbing was from his grandmother who lamented the incessant harassment she was being subjected to by youths in the area who accused her of hiding her grandson.
“At about 10 pm that same Thursday, my aunt called and told me Qudus’ body was found at the uncompleted building close to our house and that angry youths jumped into our compound and started beating my grandmother. She told me she was saved by the intervention of some elders and the police who took her to the police station,” he narrated.
Ameh travelled back to Ikorodu and handed himself over to the police.
“I was the one that the police were looking for; if I stayed away they will detain my grandmother and she might die of heartache. [So] I went to Igbogbo Police Station where they detained her. They arrested me, while she was immediately released.”
In tears, Ameh claimed he had no idea how the mutilated corpse ended in the uncompleted building next to his house.
“This same building was searched by the women in the community that night and they did not find him there. I was among the young men who searched the whole area for him,” he argued. “Initially, we thought that he ran away because of fear that his mother would beat him. We also thought that he was kidnapped.”
He avowed that he was not a cultist or a ritualist and neither did he conspire with anyone to kill the boy.
“The only thing that is true was that I collected an Indian movie from his phone and this was done in front of their house,” he stated. “I never confessed to having killed him.”
The 17-year-old attributed his ordeal to malice. “I know that Qudus’ father does not like me because I was dating his daughter Tawa. He has warned me severally to stay away from his daughter. We like each other, and he is very angry about that.”
On the accusation of his being gay, Ameh denied the allegation with further clarification: “I am not gay. I love women, that is why I am dating Tawa,” he said. “While I was in secondary school, I was sexually molested by my seniors. They’d lure me to a corner and force me to touch their penises.”
He gave further insight into his background: “I was born and raised by my mother because my father abandoned her when she was pregnant with me. My mother remarried and currently lives in Dublin. I had to stay with my grandmother who is doing a wonderful job.”
On the allegation that his behaviours are effeminate, he said: “I grew up among women, who, to some extent, affected the way I walk and how neat I appear; this is why everyone assumed that I am gay and irresponsible men on the street normally approached me to have sex with them. Perhaps what worsened the matter was that during the ASUU strike, I went to learn how to plait hair for women. Everyone close to me assumed that I was attracted to women’s stuff because I am gay. Even my grandma has to visit the school with our pastor to advise and warn me of the dangers of being gay. I swore to her with the Bible and to further convince her, I joined the Christian fellowship on campus.”
He concluded his narration with a twist to the story when he urged the Police to find those who kidnapped Qudus in the past.
His words: “The bad boys in the community are envious of the man; that was why they kidnapped his son in the past and he paid them before the boy was released to him.”
Bereaved family’s version of the story
Mr Taofeek Anifowoshe, father of the late Qudus, a haulage driver, was in his place of work in Apapa when he received the bad news of his missing son on that ill-fated day. “A search party was organised by the community, just as we reported to security agencies and community leaders within our areas,” he recounted.
Mr Anifowoshe and his wife, Risikat, were at Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, October 29, where they spoke with Saturday Sun.
He narrated how Qudus, one of his five children, who attended Arabic school on their street, was reportedly sent home that fateful day to bring his Quran before his mysterious disappearance.
He said: “I was told that after he returned from school on that day, he was seen with one Daniel, a student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye after which his mutilated body was found after three days’ search in an uncompleted building near Daniel’s grandfather’s compound.”
Lamenting the cruel fate that befell his son, he wailed: “This is the height of wickedness by any mortal to his fellow human beings. I never imagined this would happen to me or any of my close relations. It is unbelievable and I still do not know why I’m the target.”
He claimed that the suspect could hardly exonerate himself from the death of his son. He also expressed displeasure with his overall impression of Police investigation. “As much as I appreciate police’s investigations, I wonder why they never deemed it fit to conduct on-the-spot investigations to the scene where the mutilated body of my son was discovered days after he was declared missing.”
He alleged the police had not returned to the scene of the crime or the home where the suspect lived with his grandmother, Mrs Comfort Omoyeghe Dickson.
“They never entered the premises where the Daniels live to see series of evidence that abounds there,” he said.
Anifowoshe appealed to the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to impress on the detectives to carry out thorough investigations into the murder and bring the culprit to book.
His appeal, he said, became imperative as “we are not truly convinced that the police was carrying out any investigation as they had promised.”
His wife, Risikat Anifowoshe, a trader, also denounced the lassitude displayed by the police towards the investigation. She alleged that the police had, a few days ago, tried to assist a family member of the suspect to pack some items from his grandmother’s house.
Reaction from the Police
Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana said there is no basis for the allegation of a cover-up on the part of the police. “The DPO did a good job by arresting the suspect. There is no concrete evidence linking the grandmother with the murder, but the boy is still in custody,” he stated.
Elkana, who insisted that he did not want to join issues with the bereaved, said: “The boy has been transferred to the SCID. It is painful that they lost a child; they should be calm as the police are carrying out intensive investigation and will ensure that justice is done.’’
October 18, 2019 was a day of horror for the Anifowoshes in particular and residents of Igbogbo community in Ikorodu area of Lagos. This was due to the discovery of the lifeless body of 14-year-old Kudus Anifowoshe, in an uncompleted building, located three buildings away from his parents’.
The Senior Secondary School 1 student of Icon Primary and Secondary School had gone missing four days before, with his whereabouts unknown, until his body which was in its decomposing state was discovered.
Further discovery revealed that his eyes, tongue, private parts and breast were missing, indicating that he could have been killed for ritual purpose.
Late Kudus, as gathered, was last seen on October 14, 2019, in the midst of some boys, in front of his father’s building. But apprehension set in when he did not return home, which was described as unusual of him. A search party combed the community, banging on residents gates to ascertain if he was with them. But their efforts were to no avail.
But residents pointed accusing finger at one Daniel Ameh, as those seen with the boy claimed he was seen with his hand on late Kudus’ shoulder, as they walked out of his father’s compound at about 7pm.
Late Kudus distraught father, Alhaji Taofeek Anifowoshe, who is yet to come to terms with the rude reality of his son’s demise, was quoted to have said, “The body of my son was found in an uncompleted building around 2pm on Friday, October 18. His killers poured chemical on him, removed his eyes, tongue, breasts and private parts”
“All the children with him confirmed that my son was last seen with Daniel, before he went missing on Monday night. Daniel’s grandmother was part of the search party. She even went to ring the church bell to announce his disappearance.
“Surprisingly, blood stains were found on Daniel grandmother’s curtains. We suspect that my son was murdered inside that room before they threw his body through the fence to the other side because there was also blood stains on the fence from where we suspect Kudus was thrown to the other side”.
Following the suspicion that Daniel, a 200 level Social Studies (Education) student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, could be responsible for the murder, irate youths stormed the accused building on 4, Alhaji Anifowoshe street, to carry out jungle justice, in order to extract the truth from him. But Daniel was said to have gone to school.
His grandmother, Mary Omozopia, was said to have been beaten and dragged on the floor by the mob who accused her of being in the know. They attempted to burn down the woman’s house but for the intervention of some elders in the community who suggested that she should be taken to the police station, where she would be compelled to bring her grandson, the accused.
I have no hand in is death
However, in this interview with the accused undergraduate, he denied having anything to do with the murder of late Kudus. Though he admitted seeing him that night before he went missing , he maintained that he never walked along the street with him, as claimed.
According to Daniel, “ On Monday, October 14, 2019, I went to the hospital with my grandmother because anytime I come back from school, I usually went to the hospital for check up so that I don’t fall sick when I go back to school. Grandma went with me because she wasn’t feeling too well. I was diagnosed of Malaria and Typhoid fever and given some medicine.
“Same day, I posted Agoway on my WhatsApp status and the deceased’s sister, Tawa, who is my friend, replied by asking why I didn’t come to check on her when I knew she was around. I went to see her on the evening of same day and met her plaiting her hair.
“Then, Kudus (deceased) rushed inside, he took his brother’s slippers told them he was going to his friend’s place and left. As I was going home I told his elder brother, Alamini, to open the gate for me. When I stepped out, I saw Kudus standing with some Arabic students, all boys. They were watching a movie on his phone. I went closer to him and asked if he had any movie on his phone, he said yes and I told him to transfer it to me. He sent me an Indian film.
As I was transferring the film into my phone, one Juwon, came, shook hands with me and went to meet the Kudus. He (late Kudus) excused himself, but gave me his phone to hold as I continued the download. I stood at their gate waiting, until he came back and I gave him back his phone and went home.
“Around 9pm, his mum and some women with torch lights were going round. They entered the uncompleted building close to our house and left. Around 11pm, some community women came banging on peoples gates. When they came to ours, they started shouting ‘grandma, grandma a wan omo o.( Grandma, we are looking for a child o) I quickly ran outside because I was the one with the key to the gate. By the time I stepped outside, our tenants had also rushed outside. When I went outside, they asked me if Kudus told me where he was going to, that they saw me standing with him. I told them that I only collected a movie from his phone and they left our house. My grandmother and I went inside at about 3am that day because we also joined in the search. “The following morning, I went to their house in the morning because Tawa was my friend. I asked her if her brother told her anything about his whereabouts, she said no. While there, my grandma called me to come and take the medicine given to me at the hospital and I left.
Daniel, said he left for school on Wednesday, only to receive calls from home that he was accused of killing Kudus. He said, “Some people in the community even said they saw me in Ikorodu, that I was not in school. One of my aunties called to say that my attention was needed at the Police station to defend myself. My grandmother even called to ask if I knew anything concerning the tragedy, I said no.
To my surprise I was told that the missing boy was found dead in the same uncompleted building his mother and other youths searched.
I was forced to leave school for Lagos last Tuesday, when I was told that my grandmother was beaten and detained at the station, pending when I would show up. She was released when I got to Ikorodu police station”.
Part of the news making the round in Ikorodu was allegation that Daniel was a gay and could have killed late Kudus over his refusal to consent to him.
Again, Daniel denied being gay. He said, “I am not a gay. The story about my being gay came about while I was in Secondary school. Then, I was sexually molested by some senior students. They only told me to touch their private parts but I never and have never had anal sex. I have never had sex with any lady either, even though I have a girl friend.
This is because my father impregnated my mum and abandoned her. I don’t want to repeat his mistake, that is why I decided never to have sexual intercourse with any lady until I am married.
I am not a cultist too. They said a boy testified that I approached him to cone join secret cult with a promise to give him things. I don’t know who the person is and I dare the Police to bring him before me to state that before me.
I am not a murderer, I did not kill Kudus. I am not gay and I am not a cultist”, he said in tears.
The suspect has been transferred from Igbogbo division to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID, Yaba , for further invention.
The bereaved mother, Mrs Risikat Anifowose, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that her late son was last seen with 17-year-old Daniel Amme before his mutilated body was found in their backyard.
According to her, a search party, which was formed when her son went missing on October 14, found his dismembered body in an uncompleted building behind Amme’s house two days later.
Anifowose alleged that police in the area advised her to resolve the murder incident “amicably,” instead of conducting thorough investigation into the matter.
The distraught mother said she was shocked when she later learnt that the police had released her son’s suspected killer and grandmother and allowed both to move out of the community
“Am begging the CP of Lagos State that he should please come to my rescue; the suspected killers of my son are being shielded and helped by the police.
“My son was just 14-year-old and why should he die such a painful death, with his organs being removed, please help me.
“His tongue, heart and private organ was removed and there are still blood stains over the fence on which his body was thrown into the uncompleted building from Amme’s compound.
“We are appealing to the CP of Lagos to ensure proper investigation is carried out and the perpetrators brought to justice accordingly,” she said.
Confirming the incident, Lagos Police Command Police Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, told NAN that investigations were ongoing to ensure that the culprits were brought to book.
He assured the parents of the deceased that justice would prevail and the perpetrators would be punished accordingly. “Detectives are on the issue and investigations are ongoing. We assure that the offenders would be brought to book,” the police spokesman said.
The sleuths revealed that the book contained names of people from all walks of life, politicians, business owners, and even civil servants.
Detectives claimed that the named persons were being presumed to either be members of the group or potential recruits.
The reports by the Mombasa road-based publication further stated that 22 of the 86 persons on the list had been questioned at the Kitui Police Station and denied any knowledge of the cult.
Those already questioned included 14 businessmen, four deacons, county employees, teachers, and farmers.
“They have denied, but we believe they know more. We are still on the case,” stated a senior officer aware of the probe that The Standard spoke to.
Detectives also added that some of the individuals on the list could not be reached, but they were being sought after.
The book was seized from Kavinya Mwangangi who was arrested last week at Gategi in Embu after he confessed to being a member of Illuminati Official Clun based in Sandton City, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Police added that Mwangangi provided details of the cult’s website and offered log-in credentials into a site that helped detectives retrieve an application filled in by one Michael Muthini Mutunga.
The priest’s killing was among about 10 cult-related killings that have been reported in the past six months.
Religious leaders are among 86 people being questioned by police on suspicion of involvement in the occult underworld.
This emerged as Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti (pictured) warned about rising cases of cultism, particularly in Nairobi, Embu, Kitui, and Kericho, citing evidence uncovered following investigations into a string of killings.
University students are among the groups increasingly falling prey to the allure of the glamorous lifestyle portrayed by the shadowy organisations.
Police have in the past warned against a group called the Young Blud Saints, which targets university students in Nairobi.
In the latest investigation, clerics are among those being questioned by the police after their names were found in a book seized from a suspect who confessed to killing a Catholic priest as a sacrifice in an occult ritual.
The suspect claimed to have killed Father Michael Kyengo with the motive of enriching himself. He also claimed that he is a member of the Illuminati Official Clun, which he said is based in Sandton City, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Detectives said the people whose names were found in the booklet include politicians, business owners, and civil servants. They are presumed to either be members of the group or potential recruits.
But the 22 who have so far been questioned at Kitui Police Station have denied knowledge of the cult.
They include 14 businessmen, four deacons, county employees, teachers, and farmers.“They have denied, but we believe they know more. We are still on the case,” said a senior officer aware of the probe.
The Standard cannot name the suspects because they are yet to be charged.
The police said some of the people listed in the confiscated book could not be reached, but detectives are looking for them.
The book was seized from Kavinya Mwangangi who was arrested last week at Gategi in Embu. He confessed to being a member of Illuminati Official Clun so he could be wealthy.
Police said Mr Mwangangi provided details of the cult’s website and offered log-in credentials into a site that helped detectives retrieve an application filled in by Michael Muthini Mutunga.
Mwangangi led detectives to Mr Mutunga, who has been in police custody since his arrest in Makindu driving the priest’s car. The car had been repainted.
When he was arraigned in court last Friday, Mwangangi attempted to recant his confession, but the magistrate said that could only be done before a chief inspector of police.
The police were allowed to detain Mwangangi for eight days as they continue with investigations.
Meanwhile, officers have warned that a string of recent murders have been linked to cultism.
The priest’s killing was among about 10 cult-related killings that have been reported in the past six months.
Authorities say investigations have shown that the deaths were motivated members’ believing they were carrying out the wishes of occult powers or spirits.
Based on reported cases, police have concluded that parts of Nairobi, Embu, Kitui, and Kericho could be breeding grounds for cultism.
“We have had so many deaths out of cultism. They include those where children or kin are dying because they don’t believe in conventional medicine,” Mr Kinoti said.
He said some killings remain unsolved and called for a multi-agency approach to address the issue because of its complexity and the beliefs involved.
“Remember we are dealing with someone’s beliefs, which in most cases are wrong. That is why we need a multi-agency approach from the churches, families, friends, authorities and all others who may help,” he said.
Other officials also want the Interior ministry to come up with a well-crafted national strategy to address cultism so that it is not interpreted by some as an infringement of the target’s rights.
Police investigations have revealed instances of deep-rooted cultism, where individuals exhibit unusual characteristics or kill for promotion and body parts.
Kinoti said in Kericho, police had documented incidents where members of a cult were forced to present some human body parts so they could be allowed to join a perceived powerful cult that promises money and fame.
“Until we proscribe these groups, which remain secrets to us, we have to be proactive for now. Unfortunately, we are now dealing with killings that have happened,” he said.
“Is it poverty or other factors pushing these individuals to the cults? We should know,” he said.
Kinoti cited the death of Ferdinand Ongeri, who was the Kenya National Union of Nurses Kisumu branch deputy secretary-general, in July this year, saying their probe had led them to cultism.
Ongeri’s body was found in a forest in Nandi long after he had been reported missing. An autopsy on his body indicated he died from excessive bleeding. According to investigations, Ongeri traveled to Kitui where he met a Kenyan and two foreigners.
His body was found in the forest with his throat slit, neck broken and mouth cut.
Liberia is not known to actively fight ritualistic murders or to prosecute and condemn perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Yet, according to a recent newspaper article (reproduced below) it has a anti-ritual killing taskforce – which is quite revealing. Is the Taskforce just window-dressing or is it a sincere attempt to fight these criminal, traditional practices which are so hard to wipe out? I do not know the taskforce’s mandate, year of creation or its yearly budget, but will try to do some research and will let you know my findings asap.
Recently, Montserrado County District #1 Representative Lawrence Morris donated two brand new motorbikes to the anti-ritual killing Taskforce. At the occasion, he again expressed his condolences to the families of Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and killed allegedly for ritual purposes in early June 2019 (see my August 4, 2019 posting with the article entitled ‘Ritual Killings’ Spark Riot in Kingsville, dated June 25, 2019).
Representative Morris made a generous gesture by donating two motorbikes to the anti-ritual killing taskforce, but will his donation solve the endemic problem of ritualistic killings in the country, or make a significant contribution to fighting these crimes?
I have my doubts. In my view, more needs to be done to effectively end ritual killings in a country where superstition, ignorance, poverty, greed, lack of rule of law and impunity are responsible for the continuation of these criminal practices (webmaster FVDK).
Two brand new motorbikes, in the tune of L$490,000, have been donated to the Anti-Ritual Killing Community Watch-Team in Number 7 Community, Kingsville Township, Montserrado County District #1 on Thursday, October 24, 2019 to assist the Liberia National Police (LNP) to protect lives and properties.
Montserrado County District #1 Representative Rep. Lawrence Morris called on the District to choose peace over violence and end violence and ritualistic killings that would have the propensity to cause civil war or divide the district and, at large, the nation.
He again expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of the two children, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and killed allegedly for ritual purposes in early June 2019 (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
The House’s chairman on Refugees Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration urged his constituencies to join him not to applaud the ritualistic killings, and must never choose violence instead of peace; lies instead of truth and laugh at obscenities instead of correcting them.
He pointed out the new bikes are in fulfillment of his promise to support the Community Watch-Team to save lives and protect properties.
The Montserrado County lawmaker said: “You shall not murder or You shall not kill, is a moral imperative included as one of the Ten Commandments in the Holy Bible and it’s a sin against God.”
It may be recalled that, on Monday, June 24, 2019, aggrieved citizens of the Kingsville town blocked the main road from Red-Light to Kakata in demand for justice for two boys, Elijah Porluma, 9 and Thomas Kollie, 10, who were reportedly abducted and later killed allegedly for ritual purposes (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
The demonstrators were holding aloft placards bearing inscriptions that read, “We want justice,” as they occupied the middle of the road with themselves and abandoned pieces of timber and metallic objects used to set up the roadblock.
Published: April 25, 2013 By: Daily Monitor (Uganda)
Four men have been handed a 45-year jail term after being found guilty of killing a 12-year-old girl in a ritual sacrifice in Kyankwanzi District.
The men were convicted by Justice Faith Mwondha.
A special High Court session sitting in Kiboga District was convinced beyond doubt that Mande Wanyama, Richard Katumba, Joseph Muganga and Fred Kaliisa, a witchdoctor; killed Sylvia Kangume. Court heard that on March 20, 2009 at Ntunda village in Nsambya Sub-county in Kyankwanzi District, the four men murdered Kangume who was a pupil at Ntunda Primary School.
The child’s mutilated body was found dumped in a bush with some body parts missing. A police sniffer dog led cops to Kaliisa’s shrine at Nalukonge village where body parts and blood were discovered. During the trial, prosecution led by Ms Immaculate Aguntoko presented four witnesses including Ms Faridah Kemirembe, the deceased’s mother and Geoffrey Onen, a government expert who pinned the convicts.
Mr Onen, a government laboratory analyst told court that DNA tests proved that the blood found at the shrine matched with blood samples that were taken from Kangume’s body.
Justice Mwondha said children who are being targeted by such criminals need protection. She said the sentence would send a signal to other potential offenders that they would be harshly punished.
The murder of Kangume in 2009 drew the attention of Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police who camped in the area for four days and took charge of the investigations.
He also ordered the arrest of Mr Joseph Tukamushaba, the then Officer in Charge of Kigando Police Post after policeman was accused of attempting to frustrate investigations.
Ritualistic murders and alleged ritual killings are not only a violation of the law. They scare people. In many sub-Saharan African countries people fear what might never happen, but their fear is real. Too often they hear of children and adults who disappeared only to be found back ‘with several parts missing’. Reporting on alleged or real ritual murders is erratic. Not all cases are reported and very often we don’t hear what happened to the victims and their families – and the perpetrators. Even when caught and arrested, its is relatively rare to read reports about their trial, and subsequent sentencing when found guilty.
In Port Harcourt. Rivers State, Nigeria, a group of women took to the streets and demanded more protection of women and urged the police to take more measures to stop the recent wave of alleged ritualistic murders by one or more serial killers. (webmaster FVDK)
Published: September 14, 2019 By: The Sun (Nigeria)
Irked by the ugly pattern of supposed ritual killings of women in hotels in Port Harcourt, a body known as Rivers Female Youths yesterday, on a protest, took their grievance to the state police command, demanding stronger measures to protect women. The youths, who displayed placards with different inscriptions, decried what they see as the deliberate targeting of women by suspected serial killers operating in the state. Some of the placards read: “Hotel owners must be accountable and be responsible for their guests”, “She could be your sister, daughter, wife or friend” and “There is no life without women.”
Convener of the protest, Soibi Ibibo Jack, said that the female youths were at the state police command to demand stronger measures by the police to apprehend the killers. She said once apprehended, the killer must be made to face the full weight of the law, irrespective of his/her political or social status.
“There is a serial killer on the loose in Rivers State,” she insists. “We want to go out and return home without fear. We acknowledge the police for what they are doing, but we urge them to do more so that the killer is arrested, tried and made to face the full weight of the law.”
In her remarks, a protester, Cecilia Dikibo, urged the police to deploy more resources to ensure the safety of women in Port Harcourt. Also speaking, Peace Pepple from Opobo-Nkoro added that as the police works to secure women, there is the need for everyone to be careful. Bidemi Edward-Odoi suggested that the arrest and strict interrogation of affected hotel managers would help to compel others to take the security of their hotels seriously.
Published: September 15, 2019 By: The New Telegraph (Nigeria)
A suspected ritual killer, Tunde Tayo of Ungwan Roka, Maitumbi, Minna in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State has been arrested by the Police after burying a headless body in his uncompleted building. Tayo was caught after cutting off the head and removing the heart and intestines of the Okada at the Crystal FM area in Maitunbi. The victim, 25-year-old Abdullahi Salle, our Correspondent learnt, was a bikeman popularly known as Okada.
The 30-year-old Tayo was reportedly apprehended by police operatives attached to the Maitumbi Division for killing his victim of Ungwan Rama for ritual purposes. Upon interrogation, the suspect claimed to be clearing grasses grown in the building before he was apprehended. Further investigation revealed that Salle’s body was buried by the suspect in a shallow grave near his house. In an interview with our Correspondent on Saturday, the suspect said he lured his victim to his uncompleted building in Ungwan Roka, where he carried out the crime.
According to him:“I beheaded and removed Salle’s intestines and heart for ritual purposes. I even buried him in a shallow grave in my uncompleted house. “It was when I tried to cover his body and the grave with grass that people around found out and noticed what I did. They held me, raised alarm and that was how I found myself in police net.” According to Tayo, a father of five children and a welder in Sabon-Gari area of Minna,
“I never knew that police can get at me, it was frustrations and inconsistence in life that made me to commit the crime. I am ruined.”
When asked whether his wife knew about his escapades, he said: “Nobody knows I am into ritual business, my wife does not know anything concerning the ritual business, she only knows me as a welder.” Confirming the incident, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Muhammad Abubakar, said the suspect had confessed to the crime. Accordingly, Abubakar said: “Upon exhumation of the victim’s body it was discovered that the head and other internal parts had been removed.” Furthermore, he said the suspect would be charged to court after the conclusion of investigations.
Related article: Police nab suspect for allegedly beheading commercial cyclist in Niger
Published: September 13, 2019 By: The New Telegraph (Nigeria)
The Police Command in Niger has arrested one Tunde Taiyo, 30, of Maitumbi, Bosso Local Government Area of the State, for allegedly beheading a 24-year-old commercial motorcyclist, Abdullahi Sale, at Maitumbi area.
The Commissioner of Police in the State, Alhaji Adamu Usman, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Friday.
Usman said that the deceased motorcyclist hailed from Bosso Local Government Area of the state.
“Immediately the command got the report of the incident, we swung into action which led to the arrest of Tunde Taiyo at his uncompleted building,” he said.
He said residents of Maitumbi informed the police that they noticed blood around an uncompleted building.
“Police discovered a headless body buried in a shallow grave inside the uncompleted building belonging to the suspect .
“The body of the commercial motorcyclist was buried without head in a shallow grave at the suspect’s uncompleted building,” he said.
The commissioner said the suspect, who is married with one wife and four children, was arrested by the police at the uncompleted building, while clearing grass.
He said Taiyo would be charged to court after investigations were completed.
The Journal of African History (Volume 41, Issue 2, July 2000, pp. 197-219) contains a very interesting article on a chieftaincy dispute and ritual murder in the British colony of Gold Coast, 1945. I do not present the entire article here for copyright reasons. However, I found it relevant enough to include the abstract of the article here, also as a kind of appetizer. Interested readers are referred to the source.
Also see my September 14, 2019 posting (webmaster FVDK).
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 July 2000, pp. 197-219
Print publication: July 2000
Between 6.30 and 7.00 a.m. on Monday morning, 19 March 1945 the body of a young girl of ten was found on the beach a short distance from the town of Elmina at a popular bathing spot known as Akotobinsin. According to the coroner, she had been dead for between 24 and 48 hours. There was no water in her lungs or stomach which indicated that she had not died by drowning. Instead, her upper and lower lips, both cheeks, both eyes, her private parts and anus, and several elliptical pieces of skin from different parts of her body had been removed. Many of these wounds exposed large blood vessels and the coroner concluded that ‘death was due to shock and hemorrhage’.
She was identified as Ama Krakraba who had been missing since the evening of Saturday, 17 March. Her frantic mother had immediately suspected foul play and had confronted Kweku Ewusie, the Regent of the Edina State, who was later accused of having ‘enticed’ the young girl to the third floor of Bridge House, where he lived, ‘by the ruse of sending her out on an errand to buy tobacco’. There she had been murdered so that her body parts could be used to make ‘medicine’ to help the Regent’s faction win a court case that was critical for their political standing in Elmina.
On the 24 March, after a preliminary investigation, the colony’s attorney-general brought charges of murder against Kweku Ewusie and four others from Elmina: Joe Smith, Herbert Krakue, Nana Appram Esson, alias Joseph Bracton Johnson, and Akodei Mensah. They were tried at the Accra Criminal Assizes from 16 May to 2 June, found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to be hanged.
The West African Court of Appeal turned down their appeal on 28 June 1945 as did the Privy Council on 14 January 1946. On 1 February 1946, Kweku Ewusie, Joe Smith and Herbert Krakue were hanged at James Fort in Accra, and on 2 February, J. B. Johnson and Akodei Mensah met the same fate.
If one had hoped that the trial of the seven accused in the Sinoe murder case (the ‘Johnny Town Murder Case’ – see my previous postings on this subject) would have acted as a deterrent, unfortunately, reality is different. On September 5, another case has been revealed, this time in Maryland County, in the eastern part of the country, near Ivory Coast. One the one hand, the Liberian police is to be commended for its swift action and upholding the law; on the other hand, one wonders if and when mob justice, trail by ordeal (sassy wood trials) and the belief in witchcraft wil ever end in Liberia.
Warning: the article below contains some graphic details (webmaster FVDK).
HARPER, Maryland – Police in Harper, Maryland are currently investigating eight persons in Rock Town, Barrobo District for allegedly killing three people.
According to the commander of the Maryland Police Detachment, Jacob Comehn, 14 persons were accused of murdering Town Chief Isaac Weah Sadyee, Isaac Gortoe, and an 18-year-old identified as David Nugbo.
Comehn told journalists that he had received a call the morning of Monday, September 2 from Rock Town Community about the murders. The following day, he said his officers went to the location and arrested 8 of the 14 suspects. Six persons are still on the run.
Those arrested were John Tewah, Moses Chea, Sam Gbaquee, Chea Karmune, Deagba Toe, David Weah, Solomon Weah, and Cyrus Doe. All were males and ranged in ages from 33 to 50.
Comehn said the three persons murdered had been accused of witchcraft. He said the accused had been brought in the middle of town for questioning, where they reportedly confessed openly that they had planned to kill some Rock Town residents through witchcraft.
The police commander did not say whether the men were tortured before their confession, but he noted that they were murdered with cutlasses and other sharp objects.
Comehn described the deceased bodies as bearing signs of having undergone excruciating pain. Saydee’s two hands were cut and his two eyes were plucked, while Gortoe was chopped with cutlasses on his neck and the 18-year-old Nugbo had cutlass marks on his forehead and chest.
Prior to the killing, Comehn said the 14 suspects had asked women of the town to go indoors for the “country devil” to be released.
The case is eerily reminiscent of an ongoing trial in Buchanan, where seven men are being tried for gang-raping three women and murdering one of them after they were accused of being witches.
In that case, a defendant testified that the three women were turned over to the traditional society because they had been accused of witchcraft. A “country devil” had also been called to come take the women away and the town crier had asked all those around to go indoors. The defendant then explained that the body parts were extracted from the murder victim. The seven defendants were found guilty and are awaiting sentencing once they exhaust the appeal process.
Meanwhile, the Maryland police commander is calling on the public to assist in locating the remaining suspects. They are Toeson Hinneh, Jacob Doe, Varsco Weah, Prince Doe, Dargba Toe, and Amos Bahway.
“We in this part of the country remain committed to saving lives and properties as part of our duties in helping the government of Liberia in dealing with crimes,” Comehn said.
The eight suspects are in police custody and undergoing thorough investigation in Harper, Maryland. After police investigation, Comehn said the eight suspects will be charged and sent to court.
The three victims were buried on Wednesday by family members.
Earlier than expected, Judge Joe Barkon of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County has handed down his final ruling in the Sinoe murder case. Justice is done! But will this landmark case act as a deterrent?
For the answer, see tomorrow’s posting (September 9, 2019) (webmaster FVDK).
Published: September 6, 2019 By: Sampson David – The Bush Chicken
BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The Second Judicial Circuit Court has handed down its final ruling in the Sinoe gang rape and murder case, sentencing the seven defendants to 25 years in prison.
The ruling confirmed the guilty verdict rendered by the jury on August 30th against Moses Solo, Alex Karpeh, Sylvester Charty, Teah Gmanwle, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Dennis Pyne Nimely.
The case stems from a December 12, 2018 incident where three women were stripped naked, paraded, and gang-raped in Johnny Town, Nomorpoe District, Sinoe. They were accused of witchcraft and one of the women, Willette Nyewallah, was murdered and buried secretly in a swamp in Johnny Town.
The defendants were charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy, and the case was transferred to the Second Judicial Circuit Court to avoid interference from powerful members of the traditional society.
The case began on August 13, with the defendants represented by a team of public defenders led by Grand Bassa’s public defender, Paul Jarvan.
Ten of the twelve jurors voted for a guilty verdict, while two abstained.
The head of the defense counsel, Jarvan, took exception to the jurors’ verdict, adding that he expected five of the seven persons who are not members of the traditional society to have been set free.
“The indictment said traditional people [were responsible for the murder], and the father of the deceased came and said only two persons up there [were members of the traditional society] – Alex Carpeh and Moses Solo,” he told journalists on Friday, August 30 at the court.
He filed a motion for retrial on September 2 and the argument took place on September 5, but Judge Joe Barkon denied the motion on grounds that the guilty verdict rendered by the jury against the seven defendants supports the weight of the evidence presented in court by the prosecution.
Barkon said a motion for a new trial may only be granted if the verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence. He added that the jury did not only consider the statements of co-defendants Moses Solo and Alex Karpeh when making its decision.
The defense had also countered that the prosecution failed to produce a medical report confirming that the victims had been raped, but Judge Barkon said the testimonies provided by the two victims and corroborated by other testimonies point to the victims being raped.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances and the laws applicable herein, it is the ruling of this court that the motion for new trial is hereby denied and the resistance thereof sustained,” Barkon said.
“This act of the defendants is wicked, grossly inhumane and dehumanizing, indifferent to human value, [cruel], uncivilized, barbaric.”
Barkon directed the court’s clerk to notify the superintendent of the Buchanan Central Prison of the court’s final judgment. However, the defense counsel decided to appeal to the Supreme Court, which will review the case in March 2020.
Meanwhile, prosecution lawyers took exception to the sentencing, noting that the period of 25 years was the bare minimum required by law.
After the sentencing, three of the defendants – Dennis Pyne Nimely, Victor Solo and Sylvester Charty – maintained their claims of innocence. They added that they are hopeful of being freed when the case appears at the Supreme Court.
Nimely said he is the only breadwinner for his family and his incarceration for 25 years for crimes that he did not commit would be a setback to his family.
“It is only by the grace of God they are currently surviving,” he said. “I don’t even know their situation now. They expected me to be free and go back home, but it is on the contrary.”