Allegedly, another case of muti murder in South Africa. Muti or muthi murder is the killing of a person with the intention to use body parts for ritual purposes to enhance one’s power, prestige or wealth. Muti murders occur frequently in Southern Africa, in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and eSwatini (formerly called Swaziland).
All ritualistic killings, including muti murders, are based on superstition. Its occurrence is widespread but nobody knows the exact number of victims of these gruesome and heinous crimes. As can be seen from the picture below, it is not an imaginary phenomenon which exists only in the minds of the people. The mere suspicion of a ritualistic killing draws large crowds, expressing their indignation, their fears and their protests against these medieval practices which cannot be left unpunished (webmaster FVDK).
Muthi suspected for murder of two Orange Farm kids
The discovery of bodies of two children in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, comes just five months after another child was killed in the same area under mysterious circumstances.
The community and families believe they may have been victims of muthi killings.
Mpho Makondo, 8, and Simphiwe Mncina, 6, were found dead on Saturday morning after they went missing on Friday night.
They were smudged with a black substance on their mouths and underneath their feet while a note, which their families did not see before it was taken by police as evidence, was left on Makondo’s body. No body parts were missing.
In April, Mzwandile Zitho was found dead in what his family believed was a ritual killing at a tavern about 2km from where community members discovered Mpho and Simphiwe’s bodies.
Mpho and Simphiwe, who lived three houses from each other, were last seen walking home from a salon about 400 metres from their homes.
The two children had accompanied Mpho’s aunt, Malehlohonolo Malatji, to the salon.
Mpho’s father, Moeketsi Malatji yesterday told Sowetan how horrified he was after finding his daughter lying naked, behind a boulder.
He described the children as best friends who were always together.
“The last person who saw them was my sister. They had gone to the salon down the road with her, but she told them to go home when it was getting dark at about 6pm,” Malatji said.
“We started a search party with the community, and went into every household in our neighbourhood and we didn’t find them. We stopped looking for them at about 4am on Saturday.”
Malatji said he received a call from his daughter’s mother at about 6am telling him that they had found the children.
“I could not hold back my tears when I saw my baby’s body lying next to a big rock. She was naked, her arm was broken, she had a grimace on her face, and there was a black substance in her mouth and under (the) feet,” he said.
Their bodies were found a few hundred metres away from each other.
Simphiwe’s body was dumped in someone’s yard and the note was left on his torso. He was not wearing any top and did not have shoes on.
His aunt, Lindiwe Mojafe, said: “They were innocent children. Why would anyone do this to them? They were never in the habit of playing too far from home. It’s very strange and scary how we found them. It has left us with more questions than answers.”
A community member who found Simphiwe’s body told Sowetan that he thought it was a muthi killing.
“I was going to work and I saw a body of a small boy in my yard. I was scared because I thought that people would think that I killed him and left him there. I called the police and other community members to come and see because I didn’t want to be arrested,” the community member said.
Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said the motive for the double murder was yet to be established, while a postmortem will be conducted.
“The investigation into this double murder will be prioritised and escalated to the Provincial Investigating Unit, in line with the SAPS position to prioritise the investigation of crimes committed against women, children and other vulnerable persons,” Peters said.
Meanwhile, in the Mzwandile Zitho, 5, case earlier in the year, Pontso Mohlanka was arrested and charged for the boy’s murder but charges against her were withdrawn on August 28.
Mzwandile’s grandmother, Nompumelelo Zitho, yesterday said she did not visit the scene where the killed children were found at the weekend because it gave her flashbacks of what happened to her grandson.
“I am still trying to come to terms with it. It’s worse now because we won’t find closure. The investigating officer told me that charges were withdrawn because there wasn’t enough evidence,” Zitho said.
People with albinism (PWA) in several countries in Southern Africa live in fear, notably in Zambia and Malawi, as the article presented below underlines. This is outrageous. People with albinism have basic human rights, just like everyone in their society. Governments should protect their citizens from these heinous attacks which are based on superstition. Murderers should not get away with their crimes. Laws are important to protect people, but law enforcement is equally important! (webmaster FVDK).
‘Make laws to protect people with albinism’
Published: September 12, 2020 By: The Southern Times, The Newspaper for Southern Africa – Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka – People with albinism (PWA) in Zambia have demanded strong legislation to protect them from misguided individuals who think culling their body parts can help them make magic potions.
The ritual killing of PWAs continues and stigmatisation of the pigment-related condition remains a challenge in many societies.
National Albinism Initiative Network of Zambia deputy executive director Ruth Zulu this week lamented the continued stigmatisation and murder of PWAs, saying the government needed a legal framework to specifically target these issues.
Such a framework, Zulu said, would also help mainstream albinism issues in national development.
In an interview with The Southern Times at a Zambia Albinism Awareness Programme workshop in Lusaka on Thursday, Zulu – an Environmental Engineering student at Copperbelt University – cited various incidences in which PWAs had been ritually killed or otherwise exploited.
“It is the obligation of our government under the leadership of President (Edgar)!Lungu to take up such a responsibility, answerably and enforceability. “Discrimination, marginalisation and social exclusion of PWAs have been reported as a global phenomenon and that is why we need apolicy to recognise these.
“The cycle of attacks, discrimination and poverty must be broken. There is value in having domestic laws and other measures which are unambiguous and effective protection of PWAs,” she said.
Albinism is a genetic condition that affects one in 20,000 people globally.
It is rare in people with lighter pigmentation and more common in Africa.
A Malawi court last year sentenced three people to death for killing a person with albinism.
The three chopped of the limbs of a person living with albinism with the intention of trafficking the body parts for ritual purposes.
Yesterday I elaborated on a traditional belief in trial by order in Liberia (‘sasswood’). The firm belief in people who have magical powers – wizards, witches, ritualistic killers, also native doctors and herbalists – lies at the base of what follows. The citizens of Picnicess District in Grand Kru County have asked the famous traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo for help. Reportedly, over the years, they have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. Hence their appeal to Tamba Bundo to help expose the people responsible for these unexplained disappearances and deaths.
Their appeal for help was taken seriously by highly placed government officials such as the Superintendent of Grand Kru County, Madam Doris N. Ylatun, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, and a legislator, Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator for Grand Kru County. In one way or the other they became involved in this traditional approach to solve a security problem in the area and to remove the anxiety of the Picnicess Community.
Allegedly, Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County has witnessed between 40 and 50 mysterious deaths; among the victims we count two boys who went fishing and a Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church. If true this represents a serious security problem. Apparently, the country’s security forces have failed so far to apprehend anyone linked to one or more of the mysterious deaths or disappearances. It is important and significant to note that all three officials mentioned above have accepted the failure of regional and/or national security forces to intervene effectively.
Many questions emerge following the appeal of the Picnicess citizens. What did really happen in their community? Who were involved? Why didn’t the police arrest one or more suspects? Was there a cover-up, if yes, why, and who were (was) implicated? Of course it is very likely that it is just a coincidence, but could there be any relation with the forthcoming elections? It would not be the first time in Liberia’s history, but I wish to emphasize that this is only a theoretical thought; we have to be very prudent in pointing fingers without any substantial evidence or indication. There is no reason to suspect any particular person.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, It is a remarkable fact that the people of Picnicess District appeal to a native doctor for help to solve their security problem.
I must conclude that the citizens of Picnicess have no confidence in their government to protect them and to maintain the rule of law in their community. They prefer the protection and services of a traditional herbalist. This should be a wake-up call for the government of President George Weah, a Kru-Liberian who hails from this county. Let’s hope that this indeed will happen though for more than one reason I fear nothing will happen that will improve this sad and shameful situation (webmaster FVDK).
LIBERIA: Senator Coleman breaks silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess, calls on herbalist Tamba Bundo to continue his work
Published: August 27, 2020 By: Global News Network Liberia – Emmanuel S. Koffa, GNN Correspondent, Grand Kru County
Dr. Peter Coleman, Grand Kru County Senator has finally broken silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess where a native doctor who is currently doing a cleaning up work to expose people believed to be witches and wizards who reportedly have been killing innocent people, said the County Legislative will support the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo activities in the county.
Speaking to Grandcess news on August 25 2020, Senator Coleman said, the Grand Kru County legislative Caucus acknowledged the good work of the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo, and further stressed the need for the caucus to allow Tamba Bundo to perform his detail in the county without fear and favor.
Senator Coleman further noted that, Tamba Bundo will be giving a strong support by Caucus by providing effective security protection in the execution of his duty while in the County performing his traditional mandate.
Senator Coleman statement comes in the wake of misinformation that the Grand Kru County Caucus was not in the know, and has no interest in the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo to perform traditional activities in the County aimed at bringing relief to the people of Picnicess, and Grand Kru County in general.
He disclosed that a delegation of the national council led by former chief-wing of Grand Kru people Swen Wleh will be coming to the county in an effort to guide the traditional ordeal in Picnicess with herbalist Tamba Bundo. He however maintained that, at no time the Caucus stop the ordeal as it is being alleged in the county. Meanwhile, Senator Coleman is asking the people of Picnicess to remain calm as all will be done to ensure that peace prevails in the fishing community.
Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards and witches
Published: August 24, 2020 By: Global News Network Liberia – Cholo Brooks
Residents of Picnicess, Grand Kru County are calling on Liberian government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow Tamba Bundo, a herbalist who was hired by citizens of the County to help expose those involved in ritualistic activities by killing innocent people through witchcraft.
Since his arrival in the county, according our Grand Kru County Correspondent, Tamba Bundo, the herbalist has been making significance improvement by exposing people believed to be wizards and witches who have reportedly led to the death of innocent people in the County.
Some of those who have been exposed as witches and wizards through the magical performances of Mr. Bundo are also demanding that he remain in the county to continue his work, and further expose the rest of their colleagues who are involved in the killing of innocent people in the county for ritualistic purposes.
Recently, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf announced that the ministry is not in the know of Mr. Bundo’s activities in the county, and further called on him to return to Monrovia for further interrogation.
But speaking to reporters in the county prior to the commencement of his operations, Mr. Bundo displayed documents from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reporters which give him the authority to perform such activities at any location.
But with this latest development from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, residents of the area who spoke to GNN said they are saddened to hear that Mr. Bundo has been recalled, stressing that this move by the Minister may have been some members of the county legislative caucus who are allegedly behind such action.
Speaking to residents in the county, herbalist Bundo assured them of his return following consultation with his bosses at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, adding, “Please be patient I will come back to continue my work, don’t worry I will come back to continue my work”, Mr. Bundo told residents of the county.
Over the years, the people of Picnicess have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. These inhumane acts have created fears in the hearts of the residents and nearby communities’ members as well as scaring away investors from developing interest to do business with that community.
This act which is becoming a culture or tradition in that part of Grand Kru County has reached an alarming stage thus leading the people of Picnicess to write a petition to the local county authority headed by Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun.
The petition which followed the disappearance of two boys who went fishing and the death of the Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church, sought justice for the inhumane and devilish acts that have been going on in that community. In the letter of petition, the community requested the presence of Herbalist Tamba Bundo to come and liberate the people of Picnicess from the hands of witches, wizards and ritualistic killers.
In an interview the county’s Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun said: “Upon receiving the letter of petition from the Picnicess Community, I immediately informed and notified my boss Minister Varney A. Sirleaf the minister of Internal Affairs, about the request of the people of Picnicess.”
She continued that the notification, met the ministry’s approval of the request made by the people of Picnicess and promised to send the herbalist. The Superintendent said the arrival of the herbalist delayed because of the coronavirus Pandemic. In the interview Madam Ylatun said, on August 15, 2020, she received a letter from herbalist Bundo which is a permit letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs specifically the Traditional Council mandating Herbalist Bundo to clean and protect the Picnicess community.
As the herbalist was about to commence his operation in the county, a release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs was seen on social media dating August 17,2020 indicating that the ministry did not licensed or ordered any herbalist within or around Liberia to carry on any activity. The Press Director at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Abraham S. Kromah confirmed that the ministry has not ordered Tamba’s operation in the county; adding that an investigating team is to arrive in the county for proper and further investigation into the matter. He made the statement in an interview via mobile phone on Grandcess Radio.
This statement brought down the faces of citizens in Picnicess into total tears and sadness.
Meanwhile herbalist Bundo in an exclusive interview with a team of reporters confirmed that he was licensed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the interview, he displayed before the team of reporters the license that was given or awarded to him by the Ministry of Internal Affairs; adding that he does not have a copy of the permit as he has turned it over to the County Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun.
The license shows that herbalist Tamba Bundo was licensed on the 18th day of March AD 2020, recommended by Chief Swen Wleh as well as been approved by the Chief of the Traditional Council of Liberia Chief Zanzan Karwo.
While in a mood of heartbrokenness, a three men delegation representing the Picnicess community appeared on Grandcess Radio breakfast show “Good Morning Grand Kru” on Friday August 21, 2020 to appeal to the local county authority and the county’s Legislative Caucus to help in talking or having dialogue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to grant or allow Tamba to continue his work in Picnicess and the County.
The delegation on the radio program said they foresee genocide in that community if the herbalist is not allowed to perform the traditional rite he have started adding that this might leave some families to go into extinction. They narrated that people have already started fleeing the community for fear of their lives. A member of the three men delegation commented that “What is the stance of the government into this matter as the lives of the majority in Picnicess are in danger knowing that the government is establish to protect lives and property.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is now left with the decision to allow Tamba Bundo to continue his operation in that part of Grand Kru County.
Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County, has witnessed mysterious deaths in recent days a Catholic Church brother, Joseph Nyenplue, totaling 40 on the 10th of July this year. To avenge the wrong on the perceived witchcrafts, people of the district have invited Witch Doctor Tamba Bundoo to challenge, and they (people) are optimistic that his intervention will ease the catastrophic situation confronting them in the district.
The Daily Observer has gathered that ‘Tamba’ was on Monday, August 17, expected to begin cleansing Chenakaleh of mysterious deaths, demonic attacks, and other sicknesses after a weekend discussion with Grand Kru County Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun and other officials.
It has been gathered that in order to avoid stigmatization and protest over the 40 persons who died over the years, Tamba has been instructed by the County Leadership to only consecrate Picnicess against any further witchcraft activities — meaning anyone who gets involved from henceforth in any witch activity after his cleansing exercise will “confess and die.”
It may be recalled that the unexplained July 10 death of the late Nyenplue caused Picnicess Community to petition the County Leadership through a protest seeking justice and nemesis.
According to reports from Picnicess, Tamba has invited the citizenry to witness his performances.
It might also be recalled that Grand Kru County Superintendent told the Daily Observerexclusively that there has been a spate of mysterious deaths of people since before her appointment at the administrative helm of the county in 2018, and recently in her tenure, at least five unexplained deaths occurred, bringing the death toll to 40.
She said killings are only done in Chenakaleh and the residents believe that not much has been done to find those behind the recent killings. Therefore, they are demanding a witch doctor, popularly named “Tamba,” to uncover the witches and cleanse the community.
“The County Leadership has agreed to the request of Chenakaleh to cleanse the community from witchcraft activities, ” Superintendent Ylatun said.
“We are expecting Tamba in the county soon, and we are hopeful that the mysterious killing will come to an end,” said Superintendent Ylatun.
The Superintendent indicated that the first appointed commissioner of Picnicess in 2018, Tokpa Geplah, also died mysteriously.
The late Commissioner allegedly disappeared en route to his house after fishing and up to his time, his body is yet to be found.
In Liberia, superstition is widespread. On more than one occasion I have written about this phenomenon in the West African country, Africa’s oldest republic, founded in 1847. The most recent occasion was on July 5, 2020 after a girl had been terribly tortured by her siblings who accused her of witchcraft. At the end of July another case which had actually happened in the preceding month was reported.
On Monday June 27, Sarah Togba, a woman in Gaye Town, in Grand Gedeh County, died after she ‘voluntarily’ took a ‘sassywood’ to prove her innocence after she had been accused of witchcraft causing the death of several persons. I fear that she will not be the last victim of this age-old practice of trial by ordeal, in fact a kind of mob justice. Still in the 21st century the rule of law is not applied in Liberia (webmaster FVDK).
Liberia: Woman Dies after Reportedly Taking ‘Sassywood’ to Clear her Innocence from Witchcraft Allegations
GRAND GEDEH – A woman in Gaye town, Gbarzon District 3 in Grand Gedeh County met her untimely death on Monday, June 27 after she voluntarily took a ‘sassywood’ (trial by ordeal) to prove her innocence of allegations that she has been involved with witchcraft activities and had orchestrated the death of several persons.
Sarah Togba, according to reports gathered by FrontPageAfrica, was accused along with 13 others of being responsible for the death of one Zean Lolee Sayee who died recently in the country. He was 58 years old.
An eyewitness, Albert Thoudou, told FrontPageAfrica that Sayee’s children, during the funeral rites, confessed to being witches and claimed they knew who caused the death of their father. Sarah and 13 others were mentioned, according to the eyewitness.
He explained to FrontPageAfrica that some of those accused verbally denied the allegation, but Sarah who has on many occasions been accused of being a witch, opted to clear her name by voluntarily taking the “sasssywood”.
“By our tradition here, we have a tree in the bush we call the sassywood tree, if you shew the bark of that tree and you’re innocent, nothing will happen to you and if you’re guilty you’ll die. Sarah went into the bush and people saw her coming back with the sassywwod tree in her mouth. But she suddenly fell and died on the spot,” Thoudou explained.
He added, “I witnessed the incident, she was not forced by the elders. She decided to do it herself. She has always been accused of being a witch, so, maybe, she wanted to clear her name once and for all.”
According to him, four of the accused admitted to the allegation prior to Sarah opting for trial by ordeal. The eyewitness further disclosed that six others are on the standby to prove their innocence.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that the children of the deceased who leveled the witchcraft allegation and also claimed to be witches and wizards have cautioned that unless some traditional rites are performed in the town, six other persons would die in similar fashion their father died.
Another case, maybe not of a ritual murder, but of parents who fear that their child has become victim of a ritual murder. We always have to be careful in labelling a murder as a ritualistic act based on superstition, but it is striking that as soon as a mutilated body has been found local people think of a ritualistic killing. A very telling signal. One of their basic human rights is the right to live without fear. For this reason I have included the case below. (webmaster FVDK).
Uasin Gishu police arrest five following rape and murder of children
Published: July 7, 2020 By: Daily Nation, Kenya – Titus Ominde
Police in Moi’s Bridge have arrested five people on suspicion of being serial killers and defilers.
Five children have been found murdered in the town in seven months.
The arrests came after protests by Nominated Ward Representative Belinda Tirop and area residents.
Locals say the crimes could be linked to ritual killings.
Uasin Gishu county police chief Johnston Ipara praised the residents of Soy Sub-County for providing information that led to the arrests.
He added that more people would be arrested and prosecuted.
MISSING FOR A MONTH
The county police boss said the five have already appeared in court as police pursue two other people still at large.
“Detectives on the ground are gathering crucial information to link the pair to the ones who have already been arrested,” he said.
Early in the year, a man and his daughter were arraigned for the murder of a 12-year-old girl.
The two were freed when the prosecution said it could not link them to the heinous crime.
Mr Ipara said those freed by courts are still being investigated.
“We have not given up on the suspects. They could be rearrested,” the county police commander said.
Two weeks ago, the mutilated body of Grace Njeri, who had been missing for a month, was found in a thicket.
This was the fifth child killing in six months.
On December 31, Ms Sharon Sakwa’s daughter was killed in a similar fashion.
The girl, Stacy Nabiswa, was a Standard Five pupil.
She disappeared on New Year’s Eve and her body found near the railway line the following day.
Ms Sakwa accused police of doing little to apprehend the perpetrators of the crimes.
Thirteen-year-old Lucy Wanjiru was defiled and killed on January 16.
Her mother, a greengrocer, was at the market when the murder occurred.
FREED FOR LACK OF EVIDENCE
Wanjiru’s stepfather was arrested but released later due to lack of evidence.
The girl was a Standard Six pupil at Moi Township Primary School.
Two weeks ago, local leaders and residents held a demonstration on the Kitale-Eldoret road to protest the killings. They accused security agents of doing little to stop them.
In response to the protests, Mr Ipara urged residents to provide information that would lead to arrests and prosecutions.
Mr Ipara, however, challenged parents to monitor their children.
“Let us be responsible and watchful if we are to eradicate these incidents,” Mr Ipara said.
He advised families to ensure children do not go to the shop or market unaccompanied.
I’ve hesitated to include the article below on this blog – partly because of the gruesome nature of the described act, partly because of the graphic description of the treatment, obviously a form of torture, which family members inflicted upon a girl they accused of witchcraft and being responsible for the death of an uncle.
Eventually I decided to reproduce the article here and to share it with a larger audience. The reason why I choose to do so is because witchcraft lies at the bottom of their repulsive behavior. This site is focusing on superstition and everything which relates to it in a criminal way: ritualistic acts, ritual murders, ‘money rituals’ (Nigeria), muti murders (in Southern Africa), and – indeed – witchcraft. The fact that the ultimate victim, a young and innocent girl, was maltreated and tortured was another reason for drawing attention to this incident. Unfortunately, rape is a daily crime in Liberia and most perpetrators get away with their crimes. In Liberia, impunity seems to be the rule, and not the rule of law.
Therefore, again a warning: the following article contains graphic details of a form of torture (webmaster FVDK).
Liberia: Adolescent Girl Sodomized After Being Thrown Out for Witchcraft
Published: July 3, 2020 By: FrontPage Africa
MONROVIA – A girl believed in her late teens has been sexually assaulted in her anus after she was thrown out of her family in Omega Tower Community on accusation on her beingwitchcraft.
According to a source close to the family, the incident occurred on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 night when she was asleep.
The girl (name withheld) was discovered early Wednesday morning lying helpless on the main road that links Montserrado to Margibi, crying for rescue.
Some community members felt pity for her, took her from the street, gave her food and water. They at the same time called the Women and Children Division of the Liberia National Police to take the survivor to hospital for treatment.
Her current condition has left community members blaming her family for neglecting her and throwing her out of the house after alleging that she confessed killing her 25 years old uncle (name withheld) in May of this year after a brief period of illness.
A family source interviewed by this paper narrated that after the death of the uncle, the survivor and her partners were tortured and beaten badly on grounds that they are responsible for his death. This, according to the source, caused her mother and father to escape with her other siblings leaving her at the mercy of the family.
“During the night when her uncle died,” the eyewitness said, “that child was beaten by his family and a man who claimed to be a big man in the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) at which time they broke one of her legs.”
“After all the torture, they still threw her out of the house, they forgot to even take into consideration the danger it poses to her health, not only the aspect of rape.”
“I do not know why people find pleasure in accusing innocent children of the act of witchcraft when, in fact, there is no way they can prove their accusations,” the eyewitness said in pity.
The eyewitness said after the death of the survivor’s uncle the family members brought a native doctor who said that girl and her partners were responsible for his death.
“After the native doctor was brought here, the family said that the girl confessed that she and her partners killed her uncle because he means them with food,” the eyewitness said.
The eyewitness expressed deep frustration in said aptitude adding that “I do not know who the man that did such a wicked act to a child in such condition.”
According to the eyewitness, the LNP Children Division was able to take the child to the hospital.
“What we are praying for now is not just the treatment of the child but an investigation being done to bring the perpetrator to justice and even the family because they were the ones who exposed her to such danger.”
In Liberia, rape has become the order of the day with few out of many girls who have suffered such horrible acts from their male counterparts are lucky to get the needed justice.
With many perpetrators understanding that the justice system is very weak, they go ahead to sexually abused girls and walk in the street with impunity.
The articles reproduced below show the perversity of ritual murders in Nigeria, usually for purposes of ‘money rituals’. Ritual murderers, who resort to human sacrifices to become rich or famous, are criminals, there is no doubt about it. What happens nowadays in Nigeria, and also in other Sub-Saharan countries where notably albino people are targeted, shows even a different kind of ritual murderers. They kill purely for material gain, to sell human body parts thus obtained. A repulsive practice, which in this case is based on the superstition of the buyer of the body parts. A crucial role is played by the ritualist or traditional doctor, the witch doctor, as is shown by the articles below. They should all be locked up, but – even more important – people should be educated that there is no place for superstition in the 21st century. (webmaster FVDK)
How I killed children, sold their body parts to ritualists – Suspect confesses
Published: July 3, 2020 By: Daily Post Nigeria – Fikayo Owololagba
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Oyo State Command, has arrested a 29-year-old, suspect over alleged kidnapping and murder.
The suspect was arrested after the police received a tip-off from commercial motorcycle riders around the area.
The command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Olufemi Adetunji, disclosed this to newsmen on Friday, at the NIS office, Agodi-Gate, Ibadan, while handing over the suspect to the police command in the state.
The suspect whose identity was not revealed in an interview with NAN confessed that he was not only involved in duping, but also in kidnapping and selling of human parts to ritualists.
He confessed that he enticed children with biscuits on the streets and lured them into their cars.
The suspect, a resident of Beere, Oje area in Ibadan was a member of a gang of nine, comprised of two females and seven males that carry out operations.
He added that he had killed at least two children, and sold their parts to suspected ritualists.
“We have a car which we use for kidnapping. We buy biscuits and other things and keep them in the car, which we used to entice the children.
“Anytime we see little children walking on the road unaccompanied by an adult, we entice them with biscuits and quickly put them in the car and zoom off.
“We later kill the kidnapped children and sell their parts to the ritualists,” he added.
‘We kill children, sell their body parts’ – suspect confesses as he was arrested by Immigration officer
Published: July 3, 2020 By: Opera News
The Nigerian Immigration services has arrested a 29-year-old suspect, Lekan Raheem, for killing and selling children’s body parts to ritualists. After his arrest, the suspects confessed that his gang had killed some children and sold their body parts for ritual purposes. According to the suspect, the Ritualist require the body parts for ritual purposes.
The suspect made the confession to the Nigerian Immigration services after being interogated. After the confession, he was handed over to the police. According to the confessional statement of the suspect, him and his gang usually lure innocent children with biscuits and kidnapped them.
The suspect confessed that he was not only involved in duping people, but he also kidnapped, kill and selling human parts to ritualists. According to reports, the suspect lives at Oje area of Ibadan. The gang members includes 9 members including 2 females and 7 males.
The suspect went on to say that anytime his gang members see little children walking alone, they lure them with biscuits. The children are quickly dragged into their car and they quickly take them away. The Oyo State Nigerian Immigration services Public Relations Officer, Olufemi Adetunji disclosed that the suspect was arrested following a tip off by some people.
The following case resembles more an ‘ordinary’, cruel, gruesome murder and not a ritual murder in the sense which motivated the creation of this site. However, certainly this murder also contains elements of superstition and the motive to increase one’s wealth through ‘muti’. For this reason, it has been decided to include it here. Judge for yourself whether this choice was warranted. Warning: the following story contains graphic details. (webmaster FVDK).
Suspected ritual killers in first court appearance
Published: June 16, 2020 By: ZW NEWS
Two suspected ritual killers who grisly hacksawed their victim in two halves, before buying a drum and hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body for purposes of getting rich, on Monday appeared in court for the first time facing murder charges.
The suspects, Tawana Ngwenya (20) and his teenage accomplice who cannot be named for ethical reasons, are accused of being responsible for the murder of a 25-year-old woman, Thabelo Mazolo.
Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Mnjanja remanded Ngwenya in custody to June 26 while the teenager was remanded in the custody of his uncle who stays with him.
The accused teenager was also told to report at Nkulumane Police Station once a week.
It is alleged that on the fateful day, Ngwenya and Mazolo were watching a movie when the former thrice struck the later with an iron bar in the head. And, realising that Mazolo had not died, Ngwenya reportedly slit her throat with a knife.
In a bid to conceal the gruesome crime he had committed, Ngwenya whose father is a caretaker at Fortunes Gate Village where Mazolo also lived, roped in a 17-year-old boy who provided him with a hacksaw used to cut the victim into parts.
Part of the deceased’s body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.
Prosecuting, Mr Terrence Chakabuda said on June 10 at about 7am, the deceased’s body was found inside a 200-litre drum of acid and it was in an advanced state of decomposition.
Missing from the decomposing body were the right breast, right arm and the lower torso.
“When police attended the scene, they observed that there was a grey bag which had blood stained clothes,” said Mr Chakabuda.
The prosecutor also told the court that investigations showed that Ngwenya, who used to stay with the deceased had disappeared soon after Mazolo was reported missing.
“Information was gathered that Ngwenya had gone to Harare where his mother stays. Police detectives in Bulawayo contacted their counterparts in Harare leading to Ngwenya’s arrest on June 11,” he said.
Ngwenya has since confessed to killing Mazolo.
Further investigations by the police also led to the discovery of two cellphones, a belt, three handbags, a purse, one pair of canvas shoes, five jackets, two jerseys, one sweater, one bra and a t-shirt all belonging to the deceased.
Her body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where post mortem results showed that the had succumbed to brain damage, resulting from depressed skull fracture and assault.
Upon being interrogated by detectives from Bulawayo CID homicide on June 12, Ngwenya then implicated his teenage accomplice who was also arrested over the weekend.
He reportedly claimed that the 17-year-old co-accused assisted him to buy the drum and 25 kilogrammes of hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body.
“The second accused (teenager) also participated in putting the deceased’s body in the drum and provided a hacksaw, which was used to cut off the top part of the drum.
He however, could not account for the missing body parts, which he said were dissolved in the acid,” the court heard.
After Ngwenya was taken to the scene for indications, a silver iron rod, which he allegedly used to strike Mazolo on the head three times before slitting her throat, was also recovered.
Ngwenya admits that he, indeed killed Mazolo.
“After striking her, I dragged her off the couch and when I realised that she was not dead, I went to the cottage and took a knife and finished her off by cutting her throat,” stated Ngwenya in a warned and cautioned statement.
Ngwenya also revealed that, after committing the cold-blooded murder, he wrapped the deceased’s head using a plastic bin bag to avoid blood stains on the carpet while dragging the body.
He said he left the body in the toilet before he stole US$400 from her handbag.
The money was used the following morning by Ngwenya and his accomplice to buy the acid and the drum in town.
While admitting that he assisted in looking for the hydrochloric acid and drum, the teenager denied in participating in Mazolo’s murder in a warned and cautioned statement.
The 17-year-old however admitted to providing the hacksaw and lifting the horror drum used in disposing part of the victim’s body.
A few days ago I posted an article on the ritual murder of Gracia Prunelle, a young girl in Benin. Knowing that it was not the first ritualistic murder in Benin’s contemporary history (see my previous postings on this site), I went browsing on the internet and came across this article describing an upsurge in ritual killing and ritualistic acts in this West Africa in 2018. The author concludes her article with an alarming cry: despite the increase of these heinous acts, inspired by superstition, the authorities remain silent…. One wonders why….
For the convenience of readers who do not understand Frenchch, a brief summary in English follows here. The translation is the sole responsibility of this site’s webmaster who does not claim to present an exact and precise translation of the VOA article which is subsequently presented in is original version.
“An increase in the number of ritual murders terrifies Benin. Missing people have been found in deserted houses and in the forest, sometimes they have vanished, ‘never heard of again’. Behind this phenomenon are witch doctors, people whisper.
A few days ago, a young girl was raped and almost murdered but she was rescued by the police. It happened near Porto Novo, the country’s capital.
The suspect’s house was searched, and police found a human skill as well as organs of some of the victims.
Joël Akondé, a journalist testifies. His brother was the victim of a ritual murder. “He was murdered in a savage and cruel way”, he stated on VOA radio (Afrique radio services). His brother was found back with his throat cut and his blood taken by his murderers.
These ritualistic crimes are committed by internet-criminals, nicknamed ‘gaymen’, who want to impress girls who subsequently become the victim of their unscrupulous assailants.
Some allege these crimes are caused by the widespread unemployment and social pressure.
The ‘keepers of tradition’ have been accused of complicity since they are the ones who teach the youth the secrets of their convent. David Coffi Aza, a well-known keeper of the tradition and Fa priest defends himself. “Voodoo cannot cure, it does not harm” he says, “it’s a neutral force.”
In view of the large scale of these atrocities the silence of the authorities is very worrisome.”, Ginette Fleure Adandé reports from Benin.
Le Bénin connaît une montée des crimes “rituels”. Des êtres humains portés disparus sont retrouvés sans vie dans des maisons inhabitées ou dans la brousse.Parfois, ils ne réapparaissent jamais. Ce phénomène serait l’œuvre des nombreux féticheurs autoproclamés qui passent par ces sacrifices pour asseoir leur hégémonie.
Il y a quelques jours, une jeune fille violée et sur le point d’être sacrifiée a été sauvée de la mort par les forces de l’ordre. Cela s’est passé à quelques kilomètres de Porto Novo, la capitale.
“Vers 3 heures du matin, le conseil de sécurité m’a expliqué qu’une fille de 12 ans a été violée”, raconte Michel Bahou, maire de la commune.
Il a ôté la vie à bien de personnes. Au cours de la perquisition à son domicile, des crânes humains et autres organes ont été retrouvés.
Lors de son audition, il a fait des révélations comme l’explique Joël Akondé, un journaliste dont le son jeune frère a été égorgé et vidé de son sang.
“Il a été sauvagement assassiné, égorgé”, confie-t-il à VOA Afrique.
Ces crimes rituels seraient l’œuvre de cybercriminels communément appelés “gaymen”; les nouveaux modèles de réussite sociale qui se servent de leurs richesses pour attirer les jeunes filles, souvent victimes de ces morts violentes.
Le phénomène serait aussi causé par l’inégalité sociale et un chômage accru.
Devant la barbarie des meurtres, les gardiens de la tradition sont souvent montrés du doigt comme étant complices de ce dérapage; pour avoir mis dans les mains des jeunes sans scrupules les secrets de leurs couvents.
Sur la question David Coffi Aza, gardien de la tradition et prêtre du Fâ connu sous le nom géomancie, se défend.
“Aucun vaudou ne peut faire du bien ou du mal, c’est une énergie neutre”, soutient-il.
Face à l’ampleur du phénomène, le silence des autorités est inquiétant.
Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is). However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.
The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).
Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters
GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.
“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”
Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.
It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.
“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”
Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.
“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”
Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.
The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”
The motive to call someone a witch
Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.
Salamatu agreed there is a motive.
“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”
Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.
There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.
Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.
The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.
The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.
“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”
A superstition that sticks
Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.
“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”
Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.
“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”
Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”
Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.
“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”
Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.
“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”
The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.
“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”
Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.
“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”
Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.
“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”
However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.
“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”