The case presented below refers to a posting of early this year, on January 26, entitled More women in ritualistic killings in Sinoe County (published by The New Dawn, January 25, 2019). As noted in the article below it is a bizar, strange story and there is no proof that any of the defendants in the murder trial speaks the truth. However, the trial clearly establishes that traditional societies in which witchcraft and juju medicine play an important role still exist in Liberia. It is only one step further to the criminal practices of ritualistic killings. Did the father of the late Willette Nyewallah make this step?
We may never know the answer. However, we will continue to follow up on this story and, in case new developments occur, will inform you accordingly (webmaster FVDK).
BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A suspect in the Sinoe gang rape and murder trial has testified in court, accusing the father of the late Willette Nyewallah of ordering his daughter’s murder.
Moses Solo is one of ten suspects the government is trying for torturing and gang-raping three women accused of witchcraft and murdering one of them.
Solo, who acknowledged being a member of the traditional society and called himself the spokesperson for the ‘devil,’ testified last week accusing the victim’s father, Amos Nyewallah, of being the acting traditional chairman of the district.
He said when the three women were turned over to the traditional society because they had been accused of witchcraft, Amos Nyewallah called the devil to come take the women away. The town crier then asked all those around to go indoors, he said.
Solo said once all townspeople were indoor, the devil took the three women to the boundaries of the town. He said it was then that Amos Nyewallah ordered the devil to take away his daughter and extract a body part of hers to use in ritual to solidify his position within the traditional society.
“He told us that he wanted something from his daughter’s body to correct his medicine because the position he currently occupies is someone else’s position, but the person was suspended and if the suspended traditional chairman pays his fine, he could come back to his position,” Solo explained, noting that the victim’s father asked for her left eye.
In a bizarre twist of an already strange tale, Solo said the pain brought on by the removal of the victim’s eye drove her to get angry and she transformed into a dragon to attack the devil. Provoked, the devil then knocked the victim down, killing her. Solo said she was buried near a small creek at 6:30 p.m.
Although activities occurring within the traditional society are meant to be completely secret, Solo said he could not hide anything because the matter has reached to the court.
He also claimed that members of the traditional society were less likely to have raped the women because a traditional law had been passed by the devil that would fine anyone found guilty of rape US$50 and one bag of rice.
He said the two survivors do not know the identities of their rapists, but he knows them. Solo added that of all the suspects on trial, only he and Alex Carpeh, who was also on trial, were members of the traditional society.
On Tuesday, August 27, Amos Nyewallah, the victim’s father, took the witness stand to deny Solo’s allegations that he ordered his own daughter’s death.
While he acknowledged being a member of the traditional society, he said he held no position there and warned that Solo’s statements could damage his reputation.
Nyewallah noted that he worked through the commissioner’s office as chairman of Nomorpoe District, where he is responsible for settling disputes between residents and the Golden Veroleum concession company.
Nyewallah further said he was not present when the incident occurred, but when he returned, he went on the scene at about 6:00 p.m. to where the women were being held to ask the traditional people to release his daughter. His request was, however, refused.
Nyewallah said he then went to the commissioner to complain, but the commissioner told him to continue to plead with the traditional people.
The following day, Nyewallah said he was informed by one of the survivors, Florence Tarkleh, that his daughter had been killed and buried. He said when that happened, family members of the defendants took large sums of money to him to appease him over the death of his daughter, but he told them that the matter was now before the government.
For his part, the district commissioner of Nonorpoe, Alfred Jawolo, corroborated Nyewallah’s story that the victim’s father attempted to get the district commissioner to assist in releasing his daughter.
On the first day of the trial of the case, the Criminal Services Department commander for Sinoe, Joseph Doeplay, also testified that Amos Nyewallah had reported to the police that his daughter was being beaten along with two others. Doeplay said it was because of Nyewallah’s complaint that the suspects were charged and sent to court.
Meanwhile, the court has jailed a man for interfering in the trial by signaling to defendants who have been testifying. Dickson Brown, a resident of Greenville, Sinoe, was first caught signaling to defendants on August 19 when the defendants first began testifying. However, he was pardoned by the court based on the intervention of authorities from Sinoe who were also watching the trial.
The next day, Brown repeated his actions, prompting the court to charge him with contempt of court. He was placed behind bars at the Upper Buchanan Prison Compound from August 20 until August 27. After he was released, authorities directed him to avoid the premises of the Second Judicial Circuit Court until the case has ended.
The courtroom of the Delta State High Court, Asaba was filled to its rafters as four accused persons allegedly involved in the gruesome murder of Miss Elozino Joshualia Ogege, a 300 level student of Mass Communication at the Delta State University, Abraka filed into the court.
It was the commencement of hearing in the case against Macaulay Desmond Oghenemaro, Ojokojo Robinson Obajero, Nwosisi Benedict Uche and Enaike Onoriode accused of the killing of Elozino. The suspects were slammed with an eight charge bordering on murder, conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.
The mood was sober and pensive. Many in court wept quietly, cursing as they sat through proceedings. Seated among Elozino’s relatives in the court with pain etched on her face and tears rolling down her cheeks was her mother, Mrs Elizabeth Ogege, who broke down in tearful ululation shortly after court proceedings ended.
As she wailed, she demanded justice for her daughter believed to have been brutally murdered in her prime for ritual purposes.
The case has been adjourned till Tuesday, June 25, 2019, for continuation of hearing.
Elozino’s case is one in the long list of ritual killings carried out by desperate youths popularly called Yahoo Boys. And while there are indications that the momentum of Yahoo menace might be waning, the fact remains that internet fraud, popularly known as ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’, and its twin practice, ritual killing, have metamorphosed into a subculture in Delta State.
This heinous crime has found an easy abode in academic environments because most of the actors are young males whose raison d’etre is primarily to acquire illicit wealth. In 2017 and 2018, there were many reports from Delta communities of unidentified female corpses with missing vital organs.
Related to the foregoing is the pilfering of female panties by persons believed to be using or selling same for ritual purposes. In the case of female panties robberies, it was reliably learnt that each pant stolen or collected at gun-point sells for about N250,000.
There appears to be an undeniable nexus between pant robberies, internet fraud a.k.a. Yahoo-Yahoo and ritual killings in the oil rich state; a link captured in a trending song, which insinuates that pant robbers engage in the crime for money to buy automobiles and other vain frivolities. “One pata-meter makes one benzi-meter,” goes the refrain.
From Jesse and Oghara to Sapele, Abraka, Warri and Ughelli, incidents of ritual killings and internet fraud are prevalent. There are unconfirmed reports that Jesse community is the unofficial headquarters of Yahoo-Yahoo in the state. But the notoriety of Yahoo boys transcends Delta State, with reports that a street in Ghana, where many Yahoo boys go to learn the ropes and also acquire dark powers for the purpose of their illicit trade, has been named Jesse Street, no thanks to the fact that it provides residence and cover for internet fraudsters from Nigeria, especially the ones from Jesse community.
At some point, a particular area of Oghara town known as Scot had a new case of ritual murder every two weeks; a situation that sparked fears within the academic communities of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, Oghara and Western Delta University.
“There was a time in Oghara when moving around at night became a problem,” a student in the Mass Communications Department of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe, who preferred anonymity, lamented as he narrated the ordeal that came with living in the town at the height of the reign of notorious Yahoo boys.
“Besides the fear they stir in people, they are a major distraction because many girls sell themselves cheap for money and so-called flexing to these boys. So instead of reading and living the life they were sent to Otefe to live, many girls spend most of their time in hotels with ‘G boys’, drinking and partying.”
“Then there is the issue of pant thieves. Although it never happened to me or any of my friends, we hear stories of how some girls have been harassed because some boys wanted to take their pants by force. I won’t dare go to class at night to read.
“For now, however, those stories are not common again. But for me, being careful is important.”
A final year student of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, who identified himself simply as Elohor, noted that calm had returned to the university town since security agents focused attention on the town and DELSU in particular in the aftermath of the murder of Elozino.
Relative peace after crackdown
The crackdown on Yahoo boys in the university was said to have yielded the arrest of the masterminds of the murder as well as their native doctor who demanded female genitals and other vital human organs from them.
The crackdown has since been expanded to other notorious enclaves of Yahoo boys in the state, and this has been adduced as the main reason for the prevailing relative peace in the state.
Describing the mood in Abraka and the university environment, Elohor said: “It has been long since I heard stories like that in Abraka. I think most of the guys involved in it have relocated away from the school and the town.
“I believe the relative peace we now enjoy is a result of the activities of the police and officials of the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). They have arrested many of them and that has really scared them.
“The feeling in Abraka now is that of relief. I have not also heard of pant robbery in a long while. The last I heard of that was some time in January when a girl wrote on the WhatsApp platform about one of her neighbours who was robbed of her pant at gunpoint.
“There’s real calm and security now. If anything like that is still happening, they must have really coded it. But I also know that victims of such experiences would not hide it from the public. So, I think that era is gone for good.”
However, there is still a section of the society which believes that everybody, including the government, has handled the situation wrongly.
An evil that won’t abate
A Warri-based public affairs analyst, Mr. Felix Ogbomah, said the criminal trend may never stop as it has found a lifeline in society’s connivance. Ogbomah, who lamented the failure of parents to step in and rebuke the vice when it first surfaced, said just like all other illicit means of making money, those involved should be expected to embrace whatever form of hurdle of resistance that organised institutions would place before them.
According to him, “kidnapping, oil theft, armed robbery and all other forms of criminal means of making money came at one point or the other. And despite all efforts to stop them, either through psychological or physical means, criminals have continued to persist because these unspeakable activities bring them returns. “Likewise this one, we will be deceiving ourselves if we think we have seen the last of it. We started wrong with it.
“This criminal way of life may never go away. I said so because I see too much of acceptance and justification for it by the society. I don’t know if you have spoken to any of these young people about this Yahoo-Yahoo thing to sound them out. You will be shocked when you hear their general view.
“This is especially so with girls who you will find out are girlfriends of those of them who are Yahoo boys. You will hear things like ‘there’s nothing criminal about it, they are just collecting back what the white people took from our forefathers.’
“It becomes most sickening when you realise that Yahoo-Yahoo is not just about campus boys and girls but even vulcanizers, carpenters and people without any form of formal or informal training. Everybody just wants to get rich.
“The parents of some of those I have seen are also a big part of this social breakdown. Can you imagine parents of a boy without any visible income source saying with so much pride that their son has bought an expensive car? No reprimand, no questions. As a matter of fact, they will gladly ask such son to buy them their own as fast as possible.
“I know of a family, I won’t mention the name because I am very close to the father, though I have since reviewed my relationship with them because I consider their treatment of indecency in their family too irresponsible to condone.
“One of their sons, the stubborn one who has been known for always tracking the wrong trail, left home all of a sudden and started bringing things home without any visible means of income. He bought a car for their mother and set up a business for her.
“It is not like it is a bad thing for a son to do things for his parents; that is what we all pray for. But knowing that what your son does is illegal and you still partake of the proceeds of the illegality is what is unconscionable to me.
“This is just an example of how failed parentage has encouraged this evil to fester, and the more dangerous reason why I think this Yahoo-Yahoo thing has come to stay.
“The society is in connivance, and that is the only tonic any crime needs to survive.”
Pastor receives funding boost for iconic rehab centre for child sacrifice survivors
Together, we will end child sacrifice, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga says.
Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga who runs Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Christian charity seeking to stamp out child sacrifice in Uganda, has received a cash donation of $134,225 (approximately Ush491 million) for a rehabilitation centre expected to be a safe place for children who have been victims of child sacrifice and trafficking.
Pastor Peter received the funds from the Bruce Campbell Entrepreneurial Business School whose founder and Principal Business Coach, Mr Bruce Campbell, has been extensively awarded for his work through various international bodies.
This happened in Australia over the weekend.
“We are humbled by the incredible continuous support of the Bruce Campbell Entrepreneurial Business School,” Kyampisi Childcare Ministries said in an update on Sunday.
“Thank you for this generosity, partnering with us in our efforts to build a new Trauma Rehabilitation Centre for kids abused through Child sacrifice and trafficking. What a community full of love and compassion. Together we will End Child Sacrifice,” they added.
Pastor Peter takes care of several child survivors of trafficking and human sacrifice and has built an extensive network linking communities and security to track suspected cases.
In his remarks earlier in March, Mr Bruce Campbell said, “This will be the largest rehab centre of its kind in Uganda (& maybe Africa). So honored to be a board member and help guiding this life changing organisation.”
The organisation, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM) condemns witch doctors’ brutal ritual of child sacrifice, and has brought to books several culprits this year in the capital of Kampala alone.
In his recent interview with local media, Pastor Peter explained that victims of child sacrifice in Uganda carry with them serious and disturbing life scars and injuries which include complete genital mutilations, castration, deep stab wounds, missing tongues, ears, as well as emotional and psychological scars that need life time healing.
Working each day to bring Christ’s hope and healing to these children, Sewakiryanga’s devotion to the cause in 2017 attracted The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) who during an interview with the preacher, joined undercover detectives and armed police in a hunt for witch doctors accused of kidnapping and killing children.
“When they get the child, most times they cut the neck, they take the blood out, they take the tissue, they cut the genitals or any other body organs that they wish that the spirits want.” Pr Sewakiryanga said.
Child body parts are especially prized in rituals because people believe mixing their blood with herbs makes a strong concoction that can cure diseases and appease local spirits. Genitalia are especially prized.
“The problem is increasing and many children are killed, and there are very few actually that survive, most of them die.” Pr Sewakiryanga added.
According to CBN News, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries is the only organization in the country providing long-term financial and medical care to survivors of child sacrifice.
“We want to see that the life of a child who has survived is supported, that they are socially able to stand and heal from the injuries, and that they can have a life after that,” said Pastor Sewakiryanga.
He also works with Ugandan lawmakers to help draft specific laws targeting perpetrators of child sacrifice.
In 2018, Pastor Peter was one of two Ugandan activists recognised by The European Union (EU) for their tireless campaign to stop child trafficking.
He was credited for championing research and spearheading an awareness campaign in communities to stop the crime.
Published: May 11, 2019 By: The Economist – Lilongwe
His fists clenched on the tabletop, Bon Kalindo, an opposition mp, leans forward conspiratorially to list the magical properties of albino body parts. Place the fibula of one under a bottle of Coke and it will fizz manically, until the top pops off. Pass it in front of a torch and the light will go out. Most handily of all, a bone correctly inserted into a machine made by a reputable witch doctor will cause large amounts of cash to fly out; it’s the magnetic liquid albinos have in their bones, you understand. Sensing scepticism, Mr Kalindo brushes it aside. You are not from here, he says.
For some in Malawi, a belief in the numinous runs deep. Medicine men post flyers boasting of potions and charms to neuter rivals, punish the unfaithful or rekindle lost ardour. Such superstition is not uncommon in much of the world. But in Malawi, it can carry dark undertones. The most potent spells require ritual human sacrifice, according to a local journalist who has approached witch doctors under cover. Murders are not uncommon. Women and children are killed for their breasts and genitals. Albinos, who number no more than 10,000 in Malawi, are said to carry the most powerful magic and are thus most at risk.
You have to register to read this article in full (The Economist)
Published: February 22, 2018 By: Amnesty International
DISCRIMINATION – PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM
An estimated 30,000 people with albinism experienced discrimination and were ostracized; many lived in fear of their lives. Incidents of persecution increased; at least 13 people with albinism were known to have been killed although figures are likely to have been greater. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK). The killings were fuelled by superstition or myths about the magical powers of people with albinism. Most killings took place in the central and northern provinces, the country’s poorest regions.
A seven-year-old boy with albinism was murdered on 31 January by four unidentified men who broke into his house and abducted him while the family slept, in Ngaúma district, Niassa province. On 28 May, a group of unidentified assailants abducted a three-year-old boy from his mother in Angónia district, Tete province. On 13 September, a 17-year-old youth was killed for his body parts and organs in Benga area, Moatize district, in Tete province. The attackers removed his brain, hair, and arm bones. None of those responsible for the killings were arrested or brought to justice by the end of the year.
Despite public outcry, the government did little to address the problem. A strategy was designed to stop the killings; however, this was not implemented, allegedly because of a lack of resources.
A 10-year-old albino boy was reportedly kidnapped from his home in the early hours of Monday in northern Mozambique.
According to BBC, the boy’s father, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping.
Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted.
Police said the matter was under investigation.
A report by AFP said that albinos in Mozambique were often hunted for their body parts, which were used as charms and magical potions in the belief that they brought wealth and good luck.
More than 100 attacks against albinos in Mozambique have been reported since 2014, according to the United Nations. (bold letter type and italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
Related article: How an albino boy was snatched from his bedroom in Niassa, Mozambique
Published: July 11, 2018 By DW (Deutsche Welle)
A 10-year-old albino child was abducted at dawn on Monday (July 9) at his parents’ residence in the city of Lichinga. This is the first abduction of an albino this year in Niassa. The case is already in the hands of the criminal investigation police SERNIC.
Just after the country had reported a year free of abductions or murder of albinos, kidnappers infiltrated the boy’s home through a hole in the wall of the room where the child slept with his siblings.
Pires Ernesto, father of the minor, who was working on a night shift at the time of the abduction, sadly told DW :” My brother Carlito called to tell me that my son had disappeared , when I asked him how it happened, he said they had made a hole in the wall and had taken the child out of the room, and said that they were informing the neighbours about what happened, and when I returned to the house at 1 a.m. I did not actually find the child. ”
According to BBC, Pires Ernesto, alleged that the kidnappers dug a hole in the wall of his house in the city of Lichinga in Niassa province and went straight to the bedroom where his four children were sleeping. Ernesto said that only his albino son was abducted.
The kidnapping of albinos that have occurred in Mozambique are mostly related to superstitious beliefs. It is believed that certain body parts of albinos possess magic powers and, because of this, many end up being killed or mutilated.
Resurgence of abduction causes concern
Trindade Guilherme, a representative of the association ‘Amor à Vida’ [Love of Life] in Niassa province, views the re-occurrence of albino kidnappings as a great concern and calls upon the authorities to be swifter in investigations so that the perpetrators are found and punished.
“It is sad, that there were a lot of kidnappings in the past and suddenly it was over, but this morning in the ‘Niassa I’ neighbourhood there was a kidnapping and we became worried again. We ask the police to re-double their investigative efforts so that we can live with more tranquility, ” he says.
After the incident was reported to the police by the minor’s relatives, the authorities went to the scene, said Alves Mate, a spokesman for the Niassa corporation. He assured that the police are investigating the matter, but did not give further details.
The spokesman for the police in Niassa said:”As soon as the police received the information about this incident, the utmost attention was paid to the case and it was immediately referred to SERNIC (National Criminal Investigation Service), since this is a matter that is not only for the responsibility of the PRM”,
Alves Mate reminded us that “the investigations take a while but, at this moment, our police are already working together with SERNIC to solve this abduction case.”
In Mozambique, there are laws to protect people with albinism. However, authorities often fail to catch the kidnappers. There are few cases reported to the police and, on the other hand, police does not have all the necessary resources to hunt down the criminals.
Portuguese version: Moçambique: Recomeçam ações contra albinos no Niassa
Autoria Manuel David (Lichinga)
Uma criança albina foi raptada na madrugada desta segunda-feira (09.07.) na residência dos seus pais na cidade de Lichinga. Trata-se do primeiro rapto de um albino este ano no Niassa. O caso já está nas mãos do SERNIC.
Pouco depois de o país assinalar um ano sem raptos ou assassinatos de albinos, raptores infiltraram-se na casa dos pais do menino por um buraco feito na parede do quarto onde o menor dormia juntamente com outros irmãos.
Triste, Pires Ernesto, pai do menor, conta: “Quando cheguei do serviço, por volta de uma hora, o meu irmão Carlito chamou-me para me dizer que o meu filho tinha desaparecido e perguntei-lhe como é que isso tinha acontecido, pelo que me respondeu furaram a parede e tiraram a criança do quarto. Disse ainda que estavam a informar aos vizinhos [sobre o sucedido]. Quando regressei à casa na verdade não encontrei a criança”.
De recordar que os raptos de albinos que têm ocorrido em Moçambique estão na sua maioria relacionados com superstições. Acredita-se que determinadas partes do corpo dos albinos possuem poderes mágicos e por causa disso muitos acabam por ser mortos ou mutilados.
Ressurgimento de raptos causa preocupação
Trindade Guilherme, representante da associação Amor à Vida na província do Niassa, encara o ressurgimento dos raptos de albinos com uma grande preocupação e apela as autoridades para serem mais céleres nas investigações para que os autores sejam encontrados e punidos.
“É triste, anteriormente ocorriam muitos raptos e de repente tudo acabou. Já pensávamos que situações do género tinham acabado definitivamente. Mas esta manhã no Bairro de Niassa I houve um rapto e voltamos a ficar preocupados. Pedimos a polícia para que redobre os esforços de investigação para que se possa viver com mais tranquilidade”, lamenta.
Depois da ocorrência comunicada à polícia pelos familiares do menor, as autoridades deslocaram-se ao local como disse Alves Mate, porta-voz da corporação Niassa. Ele garantiu que a polícia está a investigar o assunto, mas não avançou detalhes.
“Logo que a Polícia recebeu a informação sobre esta ocorrência dedicou a máxima atenção ao caso que foi imediatamente encaminhado para o SERNIC (Serviço Nacional de Investigação Criminal), visto tratar-se de um assunto que não é da competência da Polícia”, esclarece o porta-voz da Polícia em Niassa.
Alves Mate lembra que “a investigação demora um certo tempo, mas neste momento a nossa Polícia já está a trabalhar juntamente com o SERNIC para desvendar mais este rapto.”
Em Moçambique, há leis que protegem as pessoas com albinismo. Mas, muitas vezes, as autoridades não conseguem apanhar os raptores. Por um lado, há poucas denúncias e faltam meios à Polícia.
LEIA MAIS (= Read more)
Moçambique não regista há um ano casos de rapto ou assassinato de albinos
Dia Internacional para a Consciencialização do Albinismo, uma data instituída pelas Nações Unidas, celebrada este ano (13.06) sob o lema “brilhando a nossa luz para o Mundo”. (13.06.2018)
Moçambique: 4 anos depois, rapto de albino continua por esclarecer
Família de albino raptado há quatro anos queixa-se da inércia das autoridades na resolução do caso. Polícia diz que a investigação está agora nas mãos da Procuradoria. (06.06.2018)
Albinos beneficiam de consultas oftalmolóicas gratuitas, em Moçambique
Cerca de 100 albinos participaram de uma campanha para melhorar a visão e sensibilizar sobre os cuidados com os olhos. Ação foi encerrada este domingo (10.09), em Maputo. (10.09.2017)
Anistia Internacional denuncia nova onda de ataques a albinos no Malawi
Malawi registou nova onda de assassinatos e ataques dirigidos a pessoas com albinismo nos últimos meses, apoiados por um sistema judicial deficiente, denunciou a Amnistia Internacional (13.06.2017)
David Wroe wrote an astonishing article on child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or Congo-Kinshasa, as it is also called (to distinguish it from its neigbour, Congo-Brazzaville). As the author describes, these youngsters ‘were tricked into fighting, forced to perform brutal rituals, and killed by the thousand in battle.’ Unfortunately, this is not unique for the DRC.
‘Meet the child soldiers who have helped fuel the world’s longest running conflict.’
We will not reproduce here the entire article, which is highly recommended literature, but will just focus on the phenomenon which is the focus of the current website: superstition, ritualistic killings and the absence of the rule of law. (webmaster FVDK)
Magic, murder and the lost boys of Congo’s long war
Published: December 23, 2018 By: David Wroe
At night, the boys of Congo’s children’s militia would take the heads of the soldiers they had killed and place them in a ritual circle around the campfire.
Then they would mock them.
Belittling the heads of their enemies made boys such as 15-year-old Victor* feel powerful and brave.
He was part of a group of youngsters who brought down a government soldier one night in March last year in the city of Kananga in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They let him shoot until his rifle ran out of bullets, then they charged him with machetes, sharpened sticks and garden hoes. Victor says he was given the job of cutting the dead soldier’s head off.
“The commander of the camp said I had caught someone who was very strong. And when we caught him he was no longer very strong and they started laughing at the soldier, saying, ‘Show us now how strong you are,’” Victor recalls.
What they did next cranked up their courage up to a frenzy.
The boys rolled the head into the embers of the “Tshiota”, the holy campfire. After the man’s skull had burned, the commander made Victor collect the ash, grind it into a fine powder and mix it with wine.
“Then they gave it to us to drink,” Victor says. “You become furious and can fight without fear. That is the way it was.”They call it “manga” – the magic that made them invincible.
Victor, whose name has been changed, is one of thousands of children recruited into militias that rose up in the southern DRC region of Kasai in 2016 against a corrupt, neglectful and repressive government.
In a region where families are large and poor, where the social fabric is threadbare and where government services barely exist, it is easy to convince or coerce children to join armed groups. Their recruitment is helped by a widespread belief that arcane rituals – sometimes involving cannibalism – confer magical powers that prevent their being harmed in battle.
As explained below, this is not with certainty a ritual murder case. We have to be careful not to judge too quickly and only accept clear facts before concluding that another albino person has become victim of superstition. Unfortunately, there are too many examples in Zambia and other African countries that the life and safety of a person living with albinism are in danger and are being threatened on a daily basis. This explains the reaction of the Albino Community in Zambia. People have a right to live without fear. That’s a human right. (webmaster FvdK).
Masked criminals have killed a medical Doctor Lewis Chola, an albino person who was attached to the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka in circumstances that has shocked his family and send fears to the Albino Community in Zambia.
The masked assailants abducted Dr. Chola, from his home in Kalingalinga in the evenings on 3rd January, 2019.
Information gathered suggest that the abductors later demanded for a 5000 Kwacha ransom from his Family before killing him and dumped his body near a Lodge in Kapiri Mposhi.
The deceased body had no parts missing to suggest that his killing could be a ritual murder but the Albino Community through Gift Sakala, a representative of the Albino Multipurpose corporative, the Zambia Police has been called upon to thoroughly investigate the matter.
Another case of rumors. Another case of superstition. Another case of mob justice. Between the lines one reads that ritualistic murders are not rare in this region of the republic of South Africa (Limpopo province): ‘With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler.’ Gruesome reality, the fear is real. Hopefully the authorities react quickly and effectively. Ritual murders have no place in the 21st century.
Three elderly persons attacked on suspicion of ritual murder
Published: November 16, 2018
By: Elmon Tshikhudo
A confused and saddened Sondaha Sikhipha, who was attacked on suspicion of involvement in the alleged ritual murder of a three-year-old child.
Three elderly people from Khubvi were seriously beaten on suspicion of being ritual murderers.
The three, who are all cattle herders, met the wrath of the angry community after the disappearance of a three-year-old boy in the village. The toddler, Ndiwakhonadzeo Mukhwathi, who was visiting the village with a relative, was last seen by his family while playing with others at a nearby playground last week.
He has not been seen since and the community, the family and the police have been searching for him at the nearby mountains and rivers, but in vain.
With ritual murders rife in the Makonde and Khubvi villages, rumours started doing the rounds about people suspected of having taken part in the killing of the toddler. On Saturday, the community held a meeting at the local hall to discuss the matter.
Headman Sondaha Sikhipha of Vumbani village said he was also invited as a traditional leader. “While at the meeting, I was surprised when I was pointed out as the killer of the child. I did not know anything about the boy’s disappearance but was beaten and forced to confess. A tyre was put around my neck and I was threatened with death. Realising that I was not giving the information they wanted, they took me to the nearby local tea plantation where a tyre was once again put around my neck, petrol poured on me and they set alight some grass nearby. They tried to push me into the burning grass, but the police arrived on time and saved me,” he said.
Sikhipha further indicated he had suffered severe injuries after being attacked with unknown objects. He added that he was a peace-loving person who had never been involved in a fight. “I know nothing about the disappearance of this boy. I was nearly killed for something that I never did, all because of lies. They took me to a prophet and the prophet indicated that I was not involved, but they are forcing me into admitting to killing the boy. I am very hurt as I speak,” said Sikhipha, who is the father of two grown-up children.
Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of road barricading and stone throwing were reported in the village during the week.
Angry residents have allegedly vowed to expel all those they had identified as ritual killers.
Limpopo police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed that some protests were taking place in the area. He said the protests were taking place sporadically and cautioned communities from taking the law into their own hands.
He appealed to the affected communities to give the search operation a chance to unfold further and to refrain from engaging in any form of violence. He added that no one had been arrested so far in connection with the attack on the three elderly residents.
“Anyone with information that can assist to locate the missing toddler is urgently asked to contact Sgt Makhavhu on 076 440 4336 or 015 960 1076, the Crime Stop number 0860 010 111, crime line SMS 32211 or to contact the nearest police station,” said Ngoepe.