Incredible news comes to us from Uganda and – maybe even worse – it is not even NEW news. This has been going on for years. According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week. A human sacrifice!
Recently, we have noted a surge in the frequency of ritual murders in Uganda. Read the article below. One wonders why the Ugandan law enforcement authorities do not step up efforts to wage war on the traditional healers who are allegedly implicated in this repulsive practice which thrives where ignorance and superstition rule (webmaster FVDK).
Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders
Published: March 26, 2020 By: Daily Monitor – Fred Muzaale
Residents of Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-County, Kayunga District are recovering from shock they suffered after one of their own was beheaded last week.
Tarsis Mutesasira, 60, was beheaded on March 17 and his head taken by unknown assailants.
Residents discovered Mutesasira’s torso lying in a pool of blood in the bedroom. A week later, police are still hunting his killers.
On the fateful day, neighbours say the deceased, who lived alone in his small house, spent the entire day in his garden tending to his crops.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that Mutesasira murder was an act of human sacrifice and two traditional healers have since been arrested to help police with investigations.
Both suspects practise their trade in Kitimbwa Sub-county.
Mutesasira’s murder is one of the several acts of human sacrifice cases that have occurred in r Kayunga District about 60kms from Kampala city.
Mr Isaac Mugera, the officer in-charge of the criminal investigations in Kayunga District, says they do not know why Kayunga continues to register many cases of murders linked to human sacrifice.
He, however, says the big concentration of traditional healers in the district could be the cause of such increasing acts.
“There are more than 200 traditional healers in this district and our preliminary investigations revealed that many are fake, which could be the reason they engage in unlawful acts,” Mr Mugera says.
He adds: “We have tried to register all the native doctors in the district with a view of weeding out the fake ones but it seems we have not yet succeeded.”
Similar incident Mr Mugera cites a September 2018 incident when traditional healer Owen Ssebuyungo, 27, a resident of Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county, Kayunga District was arrested on charges of human sacrifice.
Security operatives recovered five bodies from his shrine. The bodies were recovered from shallow graves each containing a Shs5,000 note.
The suspect is on remand at Luzira prison and hearing of the case at Mukono High Court is ongoing.
Mr Mugera adds that given the strategic location of the district, wrongdoers from Nakasongola, Kamuli, Luweero, Mukono and other neighbouring districts find it easy to hide in the area and commit such heinous acts.
“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by medical personnel,” he says.
Mr Mugera reveals that since this year began, police have recorded a total of nine murder cases.
He, however, explains that two of these are suspected to have been acts of human sacrifice.
Last year, a total of 35 murder cases were registered in the area while 29 murder cases were recorded in 2018.
“As police, we have been successful in prosecuting the suspects in most of these cases because there is overwhelming evidence to pin them,” Mr Mugera notes.
Mr Tom Sserwanga, the Kayunga District chairperson, says acts of human sacrifice are rampant in the greater Mukono area that includes Buikwe, Mukono, and Buvuma districts.
“Many people in these districts believe in witchcraft and when they fall sick, they go to witch doctors for treatment,” Mr Sserwanga says.
According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week compared to the seven cases of child sacrifice reported to Uganda Police in 2011. The report adds that people carry out human sacrifice seeking wealth and fortune, among others.
The Kayunga District traditional healers’ association chairperson, Mr Badru Ssemisambwa, however, dismisses the claims that traditional healers are involving in acts of human sacrifice.
“No genuine traditional healer can kill a person. Those who murder people are fake and only masquerade as healers to make money,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
He says they have in the past three years cooperated well with police to arrest and prosecute quack traditional healers but many others keep joining the trade.
“We are planning a fresh registration of all traditional healers and those without proper documents will be arrested and prosecuted,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
Way forward The Kayunga Resident District Commissioner, Ms Kikomeko Mwanamoiza, says they are working with local leaders and security organs to wipe out the vice.
Ms Mwanamoiza expressed concern over the rampant acts of human sacrifice in the area, adding that there is need to sensitise residents.
“ It is a pity that a big number of people spend most of their time visiting shrines and some are forced to part with their hard-earned money in the name of pleasing their gods,” she says.
Background Call for regulation. The number of traditional healers who engage in criminal acts are increasing by the day, not only in Kayunga but in other districts too.
Several local leaders in many districts in central region have on several occasions urged Parliament to regulate activities of traditional healers, accusing many of duping their gullible clients.
Jailed. The High Court sitting in Mukono in 2018 handed a 40-year jail term to a man and his daughter-in-law after finding them guilty of human sacrifice.
In February last year, police in Luweero District with the help of residents stormed shrines belonging to a prominent traditional healer in Butiikwa Village, Kikyusa Sub-county in Luweero District and set nine of the ablaze, after he was accused of killing a resident in a suspected ritual murder.
When police confronted the traditional healer in a bid to search his shrines, he put up strong resistance but was overpowered.
Police found a mutilated human body and hundreds of human bones from eight shallow graves.
During interrogation at police , the suspect said his accomplices took a adult male to his shrine for ritual sacrifice.
In March 2018, police recovered a headless body dumped at Kalongo Miti Cell, Kizito Zone in Luweero Town Council.
Superstition is a curse. Its spread is like a virus… and it kills… How on earth can one believe that by murdering someone one increases wealth, power or prestige? ‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria cannot be compared to the traditional ritual killings which were performed for the sake of the wellbeing of the community – but which also don’t have a place in a modern society. Taking someone’s life is a crime. And should be punished.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details of the gruesome crime (webmaster FVDK)
Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta, flees
Published: March 28, 2020 By: Punch Nigeria – Afeez Hanafi
The joy heralding the birth of a child is usually indescribable let alone arrival of twins. That was the feeling seven years ago when Chiagozie and Chidalu Agwunobi, were welcomed to the Oliseh clan in Oko Ogbele Community, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. They were a bundle of joy to their parents as they grew up happily in months and years.
Few days ago, that joy was blown away like a candle in the wind when they went missing and their dismembered bodies later found in a bush. They were cruelly killed by their uncle, Onuwa Oliseh, who is still at large.
Onuwa reportedly lured the seven-year-old male twins to the bush within the neighbourhood on Friday, March 6, after they returned from school and butchered them. He was said to have removed some of their body parts for money rituals and dumped the remains.
Investigation by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in the state led to the arrest of Onuwa’s accomplice, Kelvin Uzor, who is also a relation of the twins.
“Police got information that on March 6, the twins were missing from their parents’ house. Their bodies were later found in the bush on March 8 with some parts of their bodies mutilated. Their eyes, hands and private parts were missing. Police began investigation and generated enough intelligence that led to the arrest of Uzor. He confessed that they were a three-man gang and wanted to do money ritual with the body parts,” a senior officer told Saturday PUNCH.
Our correspondent learnt that Onuwa’s younger brother, Iweka, who attended the same school with the twins, told the police that the suspect asked him to lure the deceased from the school.
“I am a primary four pupil of Ekeanya Primary School. On March 6, at about 6.30am, my elder brother Onuwa Ajei Oliseh, asked me if I would go to school and I told him yes. He asked if I can help him bring out the twins from the school before the school closes that day and I told him no because their teacher would not agree.
“That day when I came back from school, I saw my brother place a cutlass on the table where he was eating while I went to the backyard. It was later I heard that the twins were missing and their dead bodies were found in the bush,” he told detectives.
The twins’ father, Agwunobi Oliseh, stated that Onuwa visited his house that Friday in the morning and asked him if they (the twins) would go to school. He said he responded in affirmative, unknown that Onuwa was plotting to kill his beloved kids.
The 52-year-old farmer said when his children returned from school, Onuwa came back and asked them to follow him to the stream in the community.
He said, “I am a traditionalist and a farmer. I’m married with seven kids. My twins were seven years old. On March 6 in the early morning, Onuwa came to my house and inquired if my late children would go to school and I said yes. I later learnt he told his younger brother, Iweka, to help him take my children out of the school premises. He said he wanted to go somewhere with them.
“Later in the day, he went to their school and tried to take them out but he was chased away by their teacher. As soon as they came back, he came to my house and asked them to follow him to the stream. I think they were on their way when he brought out a cutlass and killed them.”
The distraught father, who noted that he and his wife were not around when Onuwa took the twins away, said he was told the suspect ran home with bloodstains.
“According to his brother, he ran back home with his hands stained with blood. He then asked the brother to pour water on his hands while he washed the machete with which he killed the twins. He left for Uzor’s house and both of them went to one Anam.
“It was when I came back later in the day with my wife that I realised the twins were missing. While I was running around, Iweka told me that it was Onuwa who took my children. Onuwa ran away but we were able to find Uzor who told us where their bodies were dumped. We went there and found their mutilated bodies. Their eyes, tongues and hands were removed,” he added.
Uzor, in his statement, admitted the twins were killed for rituals but denied partaking in their murder.
He said one of his friends, called Chukwudi, told him of a traditionalist in Anambra who could help them to perform money rituals with children not above age 12.
The 18-year-old primary school leaver stated that he informed Onuwa, who agreed to the plan.
He said, “I stopped schooling after my primary school education because my parents did not have money. I worked for a farmer called Egwiyo. I served him for many years and he promised to give me money this year. Chukwudi told me there was a place where we could do money rituals in Anambra and he asked if I was interested.
“We later told Onuwa who agreed to do it. I told them I was not interested but if they want to do it, they could go ahead. I told them I would be happy if they succeeded. I was sleeping when Onuwa called me and said he had killed the twins. He said he took their bodies to one native doctor in Delta but the man told him he wasn’t into money rituals.
“He later called me when the heat was much and told me where he dumped the bodies. Now, police said I was the one who killed the twins. Onuwa took the body parts to a herbalist in Aguleri, Anambra.’’
Uzor said immediately he learnt about the twin’s murder, he ran to Anambra where he was tracked down by the police. He added that he gave tacit support for the crime in the hope that he would be given money to buy a car and build a house if it worked out.
He said, “I wanted to become a young chief because most of the young men I know did not work as hard as I did and now they are millionaires. I am a farmer and hardworking but I was not making enough money. I have no savings. That was why I somehow agreed to be part of the plan.
“Onuwa convinced me it was the fastest way to make money and that most of our colleagues made money through that means. My greatest mistake was that I did not inform my family when Onuwa suggested that we should use the twins.
“I love the twins so much and their parents are nice. I cautioned him but I don’t know that he would still go ahead to kill them. They normally went to his house to play; so it was easy for him to take them out without anyone being suspicious. I was not in the bush when he killed them.”
Uzor revealed further that the initial plan was to use an elderly woman in the community for the money ritual but he prevailed on the gang to spare the woman because she was generous.
“Initially, they wanted to use one old woman known as Nne Amaka, but I pleaded with them to leave her because she is nice. If I passed by and begged her for water, she would give me water and even food.
“I feel bad because he betrayed me. I am appealing to young men that money ritual does not pay. I am a hard working man and well known. Even when my name was mentioned in the crime, a lot of people came out to defend me. I am sorry. I want the family to forgive me,” he added.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the remains of the twins had been deposited at the General Hospital, Igbuzor while IRT detectives led by DCP Abba Kyari had launched a manhunt for the fleeing suspects.
The ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia is as old as their cultures. The Kara, Banna and Hamar are not the only ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that kill ‘cursed’ or ‘mingi’ infants. Also in e.g. Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria tribal elders decide that the well-being of their clan or ethnic group is best served by the killing of young, innocent and often defenseless life – and I am certain that infanticide is practiced in more SSA countries.
As with other ritualistic killings (murders!), superstition ‘is the root of all evil’. Ignorance, superstition, AND the lack of law enforcement keeps this ugly practice alive. Let’s all work hard to eradicate these practices from society. Today is 2020. We’re living in the 3rd millennium!
I highly recommend the article below. CNN is to be commended for its publication! (webmaster FVDK)
Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?
Published: November 5, 2011 By: CNN – Matthew D. LaPlante
His top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. That is how elders of the Kara tribe determined that a healthy baby boy needed to be killed.
The child was “mingi” — cursed, according to their ancient superstitions. With every breath, they believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village.
Murderous though it was, the decision to kill the boy was the easy part. It was the sacrifice of one infant for the good of the entire tribe — a rite that some of the elders had witnessed hundreds of times throughout their lives in Ethiopia’s remote Omo River Valley.
The tribe’s leaders were less certain of what they should do about the boy’s twin brother, who had died of sickness shortly after birth. After some debate, including a pensive examination of a goat’s intestines, they decided the dead child must have been mingi, too.
So they dug up the corpse, bound it to the living boy, paddled a canoe into the center of the Omo River and threw them both into the murky brown water.
That was five years ago — a time before many outside of this isolated basin had ever heard of mingi.
Today, nudged out of acquiescence by a slow-growing global condemnation of the ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia, regional government officials have begun to take action — threatening prison for those complicit in mingi killings.
Meanwhile, a small band of Banna Christians has taken it upon itself to give sanctuary to the mingi children of their tribe; an enlightenment among some young and educated tribesmen of the Kara has spawned an orphanage for the condemned; and global Samaritans, drawn by the plights of these defenseless children, have offered money and adoptive homes.
The combined efforts have saved scores of children.
But none of the interventions has brought an end to the deep fear that stokes the slaughter. And so it is estimated by some government officials, rescue workers and village elders that hundreds of children are still being killed each year, by drowning, suffocation and deliberate starvation.
‘All the people’ Bona Shapo steers a dugout canoe through crocodile-infested waters, guiding the craft ashore where the Omo River bends at the bottom of a crumbling precipice near the tiny stick-and-thatch village of Korcho.
The sun is setting into the ravine. Across the river, a troop of colobus monkeys whoops and howls, stirring a flock of gangly marabou storks from their perches on a stand of flat-topped acacia trees.
“This is where they do it,” says Bona, who stood upon these same muddy banks on the day the twin boys were thrown into the river. “Sometimes they take the babies out in a boat. Other times, they just take them to the edge of the water and throw them in.”
The mingi rites of the Kara are slightly different from those of the Banna, which are, in turn, different from the Hamar. But common among all is a profound fear of what might happen if the killings were to stop.
There has been little academic scholarship on the subject, but some observers have speculated that it might have started many generations ago as a way to purge people who are more likely to become a burden or who cannot contribute to the propagation of their people. That might explain why children who break a tooth or injure their genitals are among those singled out for death. Others are killed because they are born out of wedlock or to married parents who have not completed a ceremony announcing their intention to have children — a brutal enforcement, perhaps, of the deep-rooted duty that members have to the tribe first, their family second.
As far as the Kara elders are concerned, these rules are as old and unyielding as the Omo River — and every bit as crucial to their survival. Allowing a mingi child to live among the Kara, they believe, could cause the rains to stop falling and the sun to grow hotter.
“If they have the mingi, there will be no water, no food, no cattle,” Bona says. “But when they throw the baby away, everything is good again.”
Elders bitterly recall times in which their sympathy for mingi children prevailed over their fear. They believe that heedlessness cost the tribe most of its cattle and many of its members. Today, Kara leaders say, a more respectful adherence to the brutal obligations of their beliefs has allowed their tribe to thrive.
“So yes, it is sad, but we are thinking about the village, the family, all the people,” Bona says. “We tell the parents, ‘don’t cry for your baby, because you will save everyone. You can always make another baby.’ ”
‘No other option’ She wasn’t permitted to nurse him, hold him or even see him. But Erma Ayeli still clings to an image of the baby she lost — fantasy though it may be.
“I think he must have been a beautiful boy,” Erma says as she rests on a pile of sticks, surrounded by a playful mob of younger children. “I wanted to keep him.”
Her chin sinks into the tornado of colorful beads draped around her neck.
Apparently sensing her sorrow, a young boy rests his half-shorn head playfully on her lap. Erma tugs at his ear, smiles and reclaims her composure.
She still mourns. But she does not question why her son was killed. “There was no other option,” she says.
Sex outside of the confines of marriage is acceptable among the Kara.
But if a woman becomes pregnant before participating in a marriage ceremony, her child is considered “kumbaso,” a mingi curse that occurs when parents fail to perform the appropriate series of rites before conceiving. Erma cannot marry, though, until her older sister has first been wed. Her hands fall to her swollen stomach; she is pregnant once again.
“It was an accident,” she laments as she rubs her bare waist. “I don’t want to lose this baby, too.”
There is a potion she can take; the village medicine man can mix a concoction of roots and herbs that will make her sick and might cause her body to reject her pregnancy, taking her baby’s life before others can take it from her.
Many women choose this path. Erma won’t. Because this time, at least, she has some reason to hope that her child might be spared a violent death. Far away from her village, she has heard, there is an orphanage for mingi babies. She has pleaded with village leaders to let her child go there.
Either way, though, she won’t be allowed to see her baby. Once again, she’ll be left to dream about what her child might look like. “This time, I think, I might have a girl,” Erma says. Again, her head hangs low. Again, the boy next to her drops his own head into her lap, glancing up with a wry smile.
This time, though, Erma doesn’t smile back. She gently strokes his smooth brown cheek.
‘This was our culture’ They have taken her tribal clothes. Her beads, her animal skins and her jewelry have been replaced by a tattered shirt and loose-fitting skirt. In that and most other visible regards, Mashi Lamo is indistinguishable from the other inmates at the Jinka Prison Institute.
Yet everyone in this ragtag penitentiary knows who she is. “The mingi mother,” says one guard, a woman whose crisply pressed khaki uniform seems to stand out in defiance of this dirty, dilapidated jail, cut into a hillside in the South Omo region’s administrative capital. “Yes, we all know what happened to her. It is very sad.”
It is not typical for Kara mothers to be asked to kill their own mingi children — and none are known to have done it of their own volition. In any case, fellow Kara say Mashi could not have killed her baby; she was far too weak after the birth to have done such a thing. It was other women who took the child away, they say.
But when police arrived, Mashi took the blame. Within days, she had been sentenced to three years in prison. She had no attorney, and there was no trial.
She may be a prisoner today, but her past and future are inexorably Kara. Mashi can speak and understand only her native language. She’s never been to school. When she is finally released, there will be only one place to go.
And so, under the watchful eyes of several other Kara prisoners, Mashi stands by her story.
“What they say is false,” she says of those in her tribe who have proclaimed her innocence. “I did it all myself.”
But asked if she deserves to be in prison, the teenager sinks her face into her hands. “I hate it here,” she says.
“I wanted to keep my baby, but that was not allowed. This was our culture.”
A few feet away, another young prisoner — girlish in figure and demeanor — hides behind a corrugated metal wall and listens in. Prison guards say she is the only other person serving time here for a mingi killing, and they say she shares Mashi’s plight.
But she cannot bring herself to speak of what happened. “This one prefers to forget” the shipshape guard says.
Unevenly executed as it might be, the government’s effort to crack down on mingi killings has had an effect on the Kara. Combined with other interventions, the fear of prison might be helping to save some children.
But not all of them.
“Before, they did it in the open,” says Solomon Ayko, a gangly young Kara man who has witnessed several mingi killings. “Now, it just happens in secret.”
‘They are human’ The Kara don’t count the passing years as outsiders do, but by Ari Lale’s recollection, it happened about 15 years ago, when he was a young man, eager to prove himself to the rest of his tribe.
A kumbaso baby had been born. Leaders asked Ari to supervise the child’s execution.
“The baby was crying,” Ari says, “so we put sand in its mouth and he was still trying to cry but couldn’t anymore.”
Soon, the child was dead, and Ari escorted a group of women away from the village to throw the tiny boy’s body into the bush.
What became of the child’s remains? “The hyenas or other animals took it away,” Ari says with a shrug.
Today, Ari is the leader of Korcho village, and he counts his participation in the boy’s death as one of his proudest memories.
“All the families would thank me for throwing away that baby,” he says.
“If I had not done it, they would have been angry.” It is extremely uncommon for police officers to make the arduous trip from Jinka to any of the Kara villages, but Ari says he and other leaders are nonetheless wary of the threat of prison. At some point, he says, the government will want to make an example out of someone of his stature.
But Ari, who wears his hair taut under a hard, red clay bun in the way of his tribe’s warriors, has not stopped believing in the dark magic of mingi. And so he and others have found a different way to carry out the killings.
They will not drown or suffocate the children, as they once did.
But they have forbade anyone from the village to have contact with a cursed baby.
“If a mother was to give the baby her breast, she would also become mingi,” he says. “After the baby is born, we keep it alone in the house and we do not give it water or milk.”
Without nourishment, the infants quickly die, and there is little that can be done to prove that a baby wasn’t simply stillborn.
Ari appears to be pleased about this solution. Yet he balances his pride with a lament for the dead.
“They are human,” he says of the mingi children.
For all of the praise he got for carrying out that first killing, Ari says, he would have much preferred to let the child live, if only there had been another way.
For some, now there is.
‘A sickness in our culture’ Kara children die all the time.
Many succumb to disease. Others are killed by wild animals. And some are sacrificed in the name of mingi.
For Shoma Dore, that was simply part of life.
“This is something that came down from generation to generation,” Shoma says. “If a baby comes with the top teeth before the bottom teeth, it must be killed. If it comes without the ceremony, it must be thrown away. … I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.”
Not, that is, until Shoma left the tribe to attend school in his early teens. In Jinka, he says, he realized for the first time the evil that was being done by his tribe. And when he returned, two years later, he found that others among the Kara’s more educated youths had come to the same realization.
“There are many important and good parts of our culture — there is also a sickness in our culture, and we have to change ourselves,” says Aryo Dora, who decided a few years ago to go with Shoma and about 30 other young Kara to plead with tribal elders to stop the killings.
Their plan, developed with the assistance of a team of Westerners, was simple: If mingi children could be sent far away from the village, they would pose no risk to the tribe.
“Once we explained the plan, they agreed quite easily,” Shoma recalls.
And that is how the orphanage began.
It wasn’t long before Webshet Ababaw was drawn into the fight. The professional tour guide and driver was in Jinka when he received a call from the orphanage. Leaders there had received word that a kumbaso girl was about to be born in the Kara village of Labuk. They needed someone with a four-wheel-drive vehicle who wasn’t afraid to race across the axle-breaking savannah to get to the village in time to save her.
No one seemed inclined to help find the child when Webshet and an official from the orphanage arrived in the village, but they finally found the infant lying on the ground behind a stick hut. Her mouth was filled with dirt and sand, but she was alive and seemed to be in relatively good health, Webshet says.
Piecing together a newborn first-aid regimen from what he’d seen in the movies and in a high school health class, Webshet unstrung a lace from his shoe and tied it around the baby’s broken umbilical chord. When no one in the village would give him a blanket, he wrapped the shivering child in his jacket. And when no one would give him milk, he found a goat, crouched beside it, and took a small amount for the girl.
None of the Kara had helped him on that day, but as he raced back to Jinka, Webshet looked at the small bundle in the passenger seat beside him and smiled.
There she was, improbably cooing as he bumped along the rugged dirt road.”
At least someone decided to contact us,” he says. “That is the only reason why she was alive.”
Orphanage officials later named the baby Edalwit, which means “she is lucky.
“Today, more than 30 mingi children live together in a small single-story home in a quiet Jinka neighborhood. Aryo, who is co-director of the orphanage, won’t grant permission for outsiders to check on the children — a rule intended to protect the orphans from potential exploitation, he explains. But, he says, they are loved, cared for and schooled with the hope that one day, they will be allowed to return to their families.
“These children are the future leaders of their tribes,” Aryo says. “They are going to grow up big and strong. They are the ones who will end mingi.”
‘We did our best’ It is a bright May morning in Korcho. In the communal spaces between the round, grass-topped huts, dozens of women are on their knees, vigorously thrusting their body weight into stone hand mills, grinding sorghum into flour.
Zelle Tarbe, though, is working inside. It has been just six days since she gave birth to her baby boy. Her breasts are still swollen — full of milk that will not nourish her child. The shock of losing him is still plastered across her face.
Zelle, who is unmarried, knew she would have to give up the child, but it was harder than she expected. “I wanted to keep him with me,” she says.
But she is nonetheless feeling very fortunate, “because my son is alive.”
Zelle was able to spend a few short moments with her baby before orphanage officials spirited him away.
“He was so sweet and beautiful,” she says from the shadows of the hut as a friend butchers a goat and hangs its carcass on the wall beside her. “But I did not give him a name because he was mingi and could not stay with me.”
Already, though, she is dreaming of a day in which she might make the journey to see her boy.
“Someday, I hope, I can visit him in Jinka,” she says.
No one, least of all Zelle, would argue that the rescue mission isn’t preferable to death for mingi children. But the orphanage has nonetheless been a controversial solution. A Christian group that supported the effort for two years withdrew its backing this spring after accusing the orphanage’s director of stealing money donated by American benefactors.
Orphanage officials counter-accused the Americans — who had helped arrange the adoptions of four mingi babies — of stealing the children from their families. The adoptions were, in fact, all legal under Ethiopian law, which treats mingi children as abandoned. But the orphanage leaders have argued that the biological parents surrendered their babies under cultural duress and should have the right to reclaim those children if their situation were to change.
Either way, adoptions and orphanages don’t address the root causes of mingi. And even when it had the support of a determined and resourceful team of Westerners, the rescue and shelter system was able to save only a fraction of the endangered children.
“At one point, there were six women we knew about who were pregnant with mingi children,” recalls Jessie Benkert, one of the Americans who supported the rescue effort. “We only got one.”
Geography is as much an obstacle as tradition. The Kara tribe is separated into three main villages, and the only telephone able to reach the outside world is in the main village of Dus, an hours-long hike from the other communities. Hundreds of other Kara live deep within the bush and, tribe members say, are more likely to carry out mingi killings there without notice.
Getting from Jinka to any of the Kara villages in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is, in the best of situations, a half-day’s trip across soft savannah sands and muddy river beds. A light rain can delay the trip by days. And during the rainy season, which lasts for up to eight months each year, the route can be washed away entirely.
Tribal leaders in Korcho say about 20 mingi children have been born into their small village since the orphanage opened. Orphanage workers have arrived in time to save only about half of them, they say.
Last year, rescue mission leaders learned that a Kara woman had given birth to a mingi boy whom tribal elders had promptly attempted to kill by ripping out his umbilical cord. The wounds had quickly gone septic, and there was no time to send a car to retrieve the child. Evacuation by air was the only solution; chartering the aircraft cost $3,500.
“That was the sum of all the money we had,” said Levi Benkert, Jessie’s husband. “And we couldn’t be certain that, even if we did it, he was going to live.
“They did it anyway — and saved the boy. An online fundraising effort quickly recouped the costs of the evacuation, but rescue mission officials knew they couldn’t sustain those sorts of expenses. And, in any case, they’ve since been pushed out of the Omo River Valley by local government officials who have sided with the orphanage’s Ethiopian director.
“We did our best,” Levi Benkert says. “We saved as many children as we could. And we continue to pray for them every day.”
‘Out of fear’ The people of the Omo River Valley love their children.
That is what Andreas Kosubek has come to believe over six years of organizing medical mission trips into the Kara heartland.
“These people are really good people,” says the German missionary, who recently gained permission from tribal elders to build a home on Kara lands. “They are not doing this because they are evil, wild, dumb monsters. They’re doing it out of fear. They fear for the lives of others in the tribe.”
From Kosubek’s point of view, the fear will end only if the Kara come to believe in something stronger than mingi. In his way of thinking, that means introducing them to Christianity.
“But we cannot do that,” the 29-year-old evangelist says, “unless we approach them with humility and a dedication to service.”
And Kosubek says he has often failed in that regard.
Not long ago, a Kara man brought his sick daughter to Kosubek, who was on tribal lands to work on his home and not accompanied by anyone with medical training.
The toddler was breathing rapidly and not responding to her father’s words or touch.
“She was the same age as my daughter and, you know, if my daughter had been sick like that, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done to save her,” Kosubek says, noting that he would have immediately evacuated his own daughter to a hospital. “But so many things crossed my mind: It’s difficult, it’s expensive.”
The girl later died, probably of simple pneumonia.
“I could have helped her,” Kosubek says. “And I am ashamed.”
Kosubek recognizes the need to end mingi killings, but he doesn’t feel entitled to condemn those deaths.”
Far more children are dying in other ways,” he says. “These are ways that we can address and prevent immediately if we just cared enough. Before we judge, we have to ask ourselves what we have done to help these children.
“In that question, he believes, is a model for truly bringing an end to the slaughter — through genuine selflessness and compassion.He’s seen it, firsthand, among the people of the nearby Banna tribe.
‘My children are also mingi’ In a smoke-filled mud hut in the village of Alduba, Kaiso Dobiar dips a ladle into a tar-black pot of coffee, filling her home with the aroma of the brew as she stirs the simmering liquid.
Kaiso is proud to be Banna, and she follows many of her tribe’s customs and beliefs. But she is also Christian and, wary of false idolatry, she and her husband refused to perform the rites mandated by tribal leaders before they conceived.
“So my children are also mingi, in that way of thinking,” says Kaiso, who is fostering two additional mingi children in her home.
A tiny girl crawls onto Kaiso’s lap, reaching over to help stir the pot. “This is Tarika,” Kaiso says. “She is 2 years old, and she is mingi.”
The girl was born without the appropriate Banna ceremonies, but her birth mother hid the child for six months. “Then the rains stopped for a short time,” Kaiso says. “The people rose up and said, ‘You must get rid of her. Throw her into the bush.’ But I said, ‘do not throw your child into the bush, give her to me.’ ”
Also sharing this small hut with Kaiso’s family is Tegist, another mingi child who guesses her age at 7 or 8 years. Kaiso says her foster daughters cannot play with other Banna children and must remain in her family’s small compound.
“They will have to stay here until they are older,” Kaiso says. “After that? God, he knows.”
Missionaries first came to the Banna decades ago, and the Christian church here is larger than any other among the tribes of this region. Still, their numbers are small; Banna’s Christians make up just 1 or 2 percent of the tribe’s population.
But their collective efforts have been enough to almost eliminate mingi killings within their tribe. With little money or other means of support, Banna’s Christians have accepted responsibility for nearly all of the tribe’s mingi children. Many, like Kaiso, are already caring for one or more mingi boys and girls. One family has taken in 17 foster children.
They do so at great potential risk to their own families. As she steps outside her home, the precariousness of Kaiso’s situation becomes clear.
“Kaiso, why are you protecting those children?” an angry neighbor screams from beyond a stick fence. “Tell us why!”
The Banna have not faced drought or a significant bout with deadly disease for many years. That, local Christians say, has kept much of their neighbors’ anger at bay.
But if the tribe’s fortunes were to change, its leaders would be swift to identify a culprit, Banna tribesman Andualem Turga says.
“What you need to understand is that, to these people, these babies are like an influenza,” he says. “If it is not stopped, it can kill many people. That is what they believe. … And when things go badly, the people believe this more than ever.”
Another foster mother, Uri Betu, tries not to think about such things. Her faith, she says, is clear on her responsibilities to the two mingi children who live in her home — and any others that need her care.
“For now, we do not worry,” Uri says as she watches her pair of 2-year-old foster daughters, Tariqua and Waiso, play in her yard.
ver time, Uri prays, the Banna will see that the presence of mingi children in their midst is unrelated to the patterns of rain and sun that sometimes cause their crops to fail.
Still, she laments, “there is a long way to go to change the beliefs we have had for so long.”
Ritualistic activities and murders have become so common in Nigeria that their occurrence is being announced on television, a strange combination of 20th century technology and medieval superstition and practices. Since protection of the privacy of suspects is unheard of in Nigeria, the nine suspects who were arrested in Ogun State were shown in full glory. The suspects allegedly admitted murdering a women for a ‘money ritual’, notably the leader of the gang, Segun Olaniyi, confessed his role in the crime.
Judge for yourself and watch the television broadcast, by clicking the link mentioned in the Source below (webmaster FVDK).
Police Arrest Ritualist Gang In Ogun State
Published: March 9, 2020 By: Channels Television
Officers of the Inspector General of police intelligence response team in Ogun state have apprehended a gang of nine including herbalists and clerics who admitted to killing a woman for rituals.
Surprisingly, the leader of the gang, Segun Olaniyi who calls himself the ‘devil’, in confessing to the crime also pleads for mercy.
The police say the suspects will face the full wrath of law.
Children who are accused of witchcraft. Children who are abused. Children who are discriminated, punished, beaten, tortured, mutilated, killed. The following story is again one which makes you shiver, like yesterday’s article. I read the article reproduced below with growing disbelief and disgust.
As with ritualistic crimes, superstition lies at the base of this evil. It saddens to read that these children are not protected by their parents, their families, their communities, not even by the State. The protection of the weak and the poor is an obligation of the State. In the DRC the central and regional authorities fail miserably (webmaster FVDK).
Witchcraft horror sees teen attacked and accused of sorcery by own family
Gabrielle’s life was turned upside down when she found herself at the centre of a chilling witchcraft craze sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Published: February 23, 2020 By: Daily Record UK – Stephen Stewart
Gabrielle is like any other bright teenager. She loves learning new things, chatting with pals and watching TV.
But her life has been turned upside down after she was accused of being a child witch – by her own family.
She is one of thousands of young children and teenagers at the centre of a new, chilling witchcraft craze sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This epidemic – reminiscent of the infamous 16th century European witch hunts – has seen girls as young as four burned to death.
The Sunday Mail recently travelled to the Central African nation with Scottish charity SCIAF to see their work helping female victims of sexual violence.
As revealed in our sister paper The Daily Record, armed factions illegally mine a mineral called Coltan – used in phones and electronic devices – to finance their atrocities, including gang rape and sexual slavery.
These mind-numbing levels of violence have plunged much of the country into the Dark Ages with economic and educational catastrophe triggering a related rise in beliefs in superstition and witchcraft.
Gabrielle is just one of a skyrocketing number of kids facing accusations of sorcery.
The 15-year-old said: “I felt like a princess when I was at school. I was first in my class and I was very proud of that.
“Then things went bad. I remember sleeping and my uncle came home and he started beating me around the head with a piece of wood.
“He beat me and beat me and beat me and then he took me to the hospital because he felt bad about what he had done.
“He felt pity and they told him at the hospital not to beat me because I might die. I do not want to stay at home any more because they plan to kill me or leave me to the bandits.
“People go into churches and say I am a witch. They say that it is because of me that they have death and misery in their family. I don’t know why they say these evil things and abuse me.”
SCIAF is helping to fund various projects in the Bukavu archdiocese to help women victims of sexual violence.
These projects often deal with other vulnerable people such as Gabrielle and other children accused of witchcraft.
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in Africa, according to the UN, but until recently, violent allegations were not usually aimed at children.
There are now alarming numbers of killings of children accused of being “sorcerers” and a growing phenomenon of witchcraft accusations against children and adolescents.
The main power attributed to child witches is the ability to inflict harm from the invisible world to the visible.
This could consist of transmitting an illness to a relative who must be “sacrificed” with fellow witches.
Children are accused of causing diarrhoea, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS, and the fatal consequences that may follow.
They are also often suspected of bringing about general misfortune, poverty, unemployment, failure and bereavement.
Gabrielle’s dad Vincens – who is blind and battles ill health – was even one of her accusers.
Victims are now trying to rebuild their lives through SCIAF and local partners at the Centre Olame Bukavu which seeks to defend the human rights of women and girls.
Sciaf launches the WEE BOX Big Change appeal this week, which will help vulnerable women and girls.
Gabrielle now often feeds her father, 55, and helps him get around. He said: “I know now these were very bad things. When she was forced out of the home, she had to sleep outside.
“I was living in ignorance and believing in ignorant things. As a Christian, I can only ask for forgiveness. My whole family have went to Gabrielle and said, ‘Please forgive us for these bad things we did and the awful superstitions we believed in’.
“I was sad when she went away and lived outside. As a father, there are things you do through ignorance but you then regret your weakness and ignorance. I felt pity and regret and wanted to find her.
“Through this centre, I have seen how I went wrong. Now, if neighbours or someone else say things about my daughter, I don’t accept it as I can’t allow these things.”
Lisette, 14, is another victim of the witchcraft craze. She said: “I don’t like staying with my family. I suffer a lot when I stay there. I don’t feel well at home because they hit me and say bad things about me.
“If I try to do the dishes, they hit me and say, ‘Don’t touch those things because you will kill us’. They make me isolated and force me to stay outside. I want to be a nun to stop these things and make people live better lives.”
Captain Innocent Rutema Baguna is a police officer who has seen the horrors of the epidemic.
Dad-of-10 Innocent, 54, who became a police officer in 1998, said: “I have witnessed horrible things. One of the worst was when I saw a girl who was four and was accused of being a witch.
“She was burned alive as people had accused her and then put her in a house and then set it on fire. I can never forget that. I do my best to protect the children.
“It can be a dangerous job as you have to go to places to interview people where the rebels are very active.
“My work is a matter of sacrifice but I am an orphan, my mother died when I was only six.
“So, now that I am a father, it is very important that I do my best to protect and help the children. Our future depends on it.”
SCIAF’s chief executive Alistair Dutton has just returned from DR Congo.
He said: “The lives of thousands of poor, vulnerable women and girls are being destroyed by sexual violence and exploitation.
“They need our help. SCIAF and our partners are on the ground providing medical care, counselling, legal aid and support so they can recover and rebuild their lives.
“But the need is great. I’d ask everyone to please give what they can so we can do more to help women and girls in need.”
As the Sunday Mail team left, Gabrielle shyly handed us a drawing she had been working on.
Her poignant message reads: “May peace reign around the world but especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Is the capital punishment a justifiable sanction or a sufficient deterrent to ritualistic murders, money rituals, muti murders, or whatever one calls the heinous crimes which ruthless criminals commit to increase their wealth, prestige or power? In Osun State, Nigeria, legislators contemplate to prescribe the death penalty for kidnappers and ritual killers. See the article below.
The United Nations has voted in favor of a moratorium on the death penalty (though Nigeria was among those voting against the resolution). It is to be doubted seriously if the capital punishment serves as a deterrent to ritual killers. Wouldn’t it be more logical and useful to eradicate superstition – which lies at the base of the belief in juju – by providing the necessary education and to create more job opportunities? (webmaster FVDK).
Kidnappers to Face Death Penalty in Osun
Published: February 26, 2020 By: This Day, Nigeria – Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Timothy Owoeye, yesterday said the state kidnapping and other related crimes (prohibition) bill 2020 would prescribe death penalty for kidnappers and also compliment efforts of the Amotekun Corps when fully inaugurated.
The Speaker at the public hearing on Osun State kidnapping and other related crimes prohibition bill 2020 stated that it is imperative to have an enabling law to ensure quick and diligent prosecution of kidnappers.
Owoeye pointed out that ever since the issue of Amotekun Corps arose, there has been a downward trend in the cases of kidnapping in Osun and other South-western states.
He held that the seveth Assembly under his watch is reviewing the existing laws on kidnapping which recommended that 14 years would be reviewed to death penalty.
The Speaker added that should the bill scale through the needed stages, those caught with human parts and kidnappers whose victims dies in the process of abduction would face death sentence as against imprisonment obtainable before now.
Owoeye noted that with the way kidnapping is becoming lucrative, it is sacrosanct that laws with severe consequences be put in place to protect Nigerians from kidnappers.
According to him, “Ever since the issue of Amotekun came up, I have noticed downward cases of kidnapping in Osun and other South-western states; however I am more afraid of the surge in ritual related cases.
“The country was saddened at the gruesome murder and dismembering of a 23-year-old 400 level LASU student, Favour Oladele, for money ritual purposes. We the Osun people are sadder that the killing took place in Ikoyi town, in our own soil.
“As parents and community leaders, we must begin to re-orientate our young ones on this prevailing get-rich-quick syndrome. There is no shortcut to success, the only way is preparation, hard work, patience and perseverance.”
Also, the Chairman of Osun Civil Society Coalition, Waheed Lawal, has given reasons for government at all levels to re-double their efforts to create job for employable youths, stating that it would go a long way in reducing the crime rate in the country.
Police Community Relations Committee Chairman in the state, Amitolu Shittu, on his own, commended the seventh Assembly for championing the crusade to bring sanity to the society.
Read this “chilling story of how a prison warden, moviemaker and con-herbalists abduct, butcher 30-year-old hunchback in Osun State, Nigeria, for money ritual.” The cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual occurred in September last year and the article was published in December.” Warning: the article contains graphic details of the heinous crime the accused allegedly committed (webmaster FVDK).
Reporters of the Saturday Sun were able to interview some of the suspects in police custody – which his amazing and raises several questions. Who authorized these interviews and why? Is this in conformity with the defendants’ rights, despite the horrible accusation against them and their alleged responsibility and guilt? What is the added value of interviewing people in detention who have not yet been tried by an impartial court?
The following article is a sad story. We sympathize with the victim and his dear ones. Once more, it is demonstrated that the belief in the power and juju obtained through ‘money ritual’ in Nigeria is widespread. We must fight against ignorance and superstition and compliment the Nigerian authorities for all efforts to help eradicating this evil from Nigerian society (webmaster FVDK).
Nigeria: Hunchback hunters
Published: December 21, 2019 By: The Sun, Voice of the Nation – Chioma Okezie-Okeh
On September 15, 2019, a 30-year-old hunchback, Olusegun Fasakin, was abducted from his home at Igangan-Ijesa, Atakunmosa East Local Government Area of Osun State. All efforts by the police, his family and friends to locate him did not yield any result. His abductors never called to demand a ransom.
The truth of what became of him recently resurfaced. It was an accidental discovery by law enforcement agents tracking a suspect of a robbery case.
Since then, detectives have picked some of the suspects involved and interrogated them. The suspects sang like canaries, divulging the ghastly details. The suspects are a ragtag group of desperadoes, that include a prison warden (correctional officer) and a set of herbalists who are ex-convicts previously jailed for a similar offence.
Saturday Sun interviewed some of the suspects in police custody. Their stories add up to a macabre tale of the cold-blooded murder of an innocent man for money ritual.
Discovery by mistake
Acting on a petition by the victims of the armed robbery incident that took place in Ijesa, on October 10, 2019. Head of the Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, drafted operatives at its Osun annexe to investigate the case.
The IRT team, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bisiriyu Akindele, tracked down one Akinyemi Oyebode who participated in the robbery. While on his trail, detectives intercepted a phone conversation between him and a prison warden. In the conversation, he was heard threatening to expose a prison warder if he fails to pay him some money.
He was grilled after his arrest, during which he made a clean breast that the incident he was talking about was the abduction and killing of Olusegun Fasakin, a 30-year-old hunchback.
Law enforcement agents consequently rounded up those allegedly involved in the crime. The suspects were identified as Akinyemi Oyebode, Jamiu Adeniyi, Isaac Ayandokun (a.k.a. Baba Niyi), Kehinde Oladokun (a.k.a. Alfa), Ojo Taiwo Olasukanmi (a.k.a. Ifa) and Mukaila Kolawole (a.k.a. Baba Beji) who all claimed to be herbalists, and Charles Adebusuiyi, a serving prison warder at the Ilesa Correction Centre.
Presently, all primary suspects, save for the prison warden, have been arrested
The search for a hunchback
Saturday Sun spoke with Akinyemi Oyebode, the suspect originally tracked by IRT operatives.
He alleged that several meetings were held inside the office of Charles Adebusuiyi at Ilesa Correctional Centre.
The 24-year-old, a native of Okemesi in Ekiti State, was a school dropout who trained as a vulcanizer, but has served time in prison, jailed in 2016 after he was found with wraps of Indian hemp during a raid by operatives of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He was released earlier this year after three years behind bar.
His family sought to straighten his life. They bought him a motorcycle so he could earn his daily bread as a commercial bike man. He soon made a lot of customers including the prison officer.
“He was one of my early customers and I normally pick and drop him in front of the prison. One thing led to another and I told him that I have spent about three years in prison. Gradually we became friends and sometimes he will invite me to come and have a drink with him,” he said.
Oyebode insisted they held several meetings in his office at the prison premises.
“This was how I got to know the likes of Alfa, Baba Beji and Ifa who are all herbalists,” he said. “One of the days that I took Charles to Sabo, I overheard them talking about doing rituals to make money. I needed money at that time so I was interested. As soon as Charles came out and we were heading back to town, I told him that I am also interested in what I overheard and he assured me that he will alert me when everything is set. I was so excited especially when he told me that he was going to pay me one million at the end of the deal.”
Oyebode admitted he knew they were going to abduct someone for money ritual only that he was not sure who the target was.
His story threw illumination on the dark deed that took place on the night of September 15.
He narrated: “Few days later Charles called me to come and pick him up that we have an important job. I took him to where his car was. Three other persons were already there. They were not the regular faces that I knew.
“When we got to Igangan Square around 10 pm, he asked us to wait, while he and the three young men went into the neighbourhood. In less than 20 minutes, they came back dragging one tall man with them. The man did not resist or shout; he was just following them like a fool. They put him in the car and drove off. Charles told me not to worry that he would handle everything.”
After waiting for some days and it was clear Charles had no intention to give him any money, Oyebode called up and threatened to tell the police what he was up to.
The warden pacified him with N18, 000. In the meantime, one of his friends invited him to join a robbery gang.
“We attacked a compound in August and raided the entire flats. I got a big phone which I sold for N16, 000,” he confessed.
That was to be his undoing, as IRT operatives who took charge of the case, tracked him down, for the robbery, and also routinely queried him about his telephone conversation with a “prison warden” he threatened.
With this background, the next logical question is, who commissioned the search for hunchback?
In their various depositions during interrogation, the suspects all claimed they were contracted by a shadowy figure, a medical doctor who promised them millions of naira in return for a real hunchback.
The answer could only come from Mukaila Kolawole, popularly known as Baba Beji. It was he who got the contract from a man whom he claims people know as a medical doctor.
The native of Iragbiji in Osun State earned a livelihood as a farmer. He was, however, jailed in the past for the killing of a hunchback. “I was framed,” he said.
He told Saturday Sun the details.
“In 2009, I was a member of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC). One of our members, known as Muritala, misbehaved and was suspended from the group. He got annoyed and formed his own local vigilante group. They were the ones who attacked a nearby village and abducted a woman with hunchback. We were at a meeting the night her mutilated corpse was found. The Muritala-led vigilante group raised alarm that we were the ones responsible for the murder. About ten of us were arrested that day and charged to court for murder. I was released last year after spending nine years.”
It was during those nine years he met Charles Akinbusuyi.
“He was our warden. He normally ‘dash’ us money. We became friends with him. He assured us that anytime names of those to be helped by government was compiled, he’d make sure my name was included.”
He was part of the inmates granted amnesty by the Chief Justice of Osun State in 2018.
Back to the business of September 15, he continued: “When I regained my freedom, I went back to farming but kept in touch with Charles. One day, he called me that he was tired of depending on monthly salary that he wanted a faster way of making money. He asked me if I knew anyone who is into money ritual and I said yes. I introduced him to some of my friends who were herbalists and they suggested to us different ways that we can make quick money. It was while we were at it that I received a call from my longtime customer and asked if I can help him abduct and kill a man or woman with a hunchback. He offered to pay us millions and I told Charles about it and he agreed to be part of it.”
It turned out that Baba Beji who claimed in the beginning of his confession that he knew nothing about hunchback killers, was the person who assembled the best hands to find a hunchback. “Millions were involved and I know that it is not a one-man thing,” he said. “I alerted my herbalist friends that I know and told them about the contract. Everyone started searching until Charles said that he knows of one in a village called Iwara where he normally goes to consult a native doctor.”
According to him, the prison warden planned the abduction. “Charles agreed to hire boys that will abduct the man,” he claimed. “He is a prison warden so he knows a lot of criminals.”
Kolawole took charge of the second part of the mission. “I assembled my fellow herbalists who would help in the killing and removal of the hump. All of us went to the area, and Charles and three other young men that I assumed are professionals, moved into the compound and asked us to wait. In less than 20 minutes, they came out with a man. The young men left and the rest of us entered the vehicle to an agreed place where we intended to slaughter him.”
Kolawole was the one who delivered the killing stroke. “When we got to a deserted area that night, I brought out my spanner, and because I knew what I came there to do, I quickly hit him on the head and he fell down. When I was sure he was dead, I used a knife to cut out the deformed part of his back.”
“We called Niyi, who is an expert in such things, to come and confirm if it was authentic.”
They received a big blow when the expert arrived and proclaimed the hump not useful because it was not a natural hump but a growth.
“We were disappointed. We had no choice but to discard the body and return to Osogbo.”
While he claimed that he had no idea what exactly the hump of a hunchback is used for, Kolawole admitted he knew native doctors use it to produce charm for wealth. “I heard that if you want good money from everywhere, that some people used their (hunchback’s) bones to make bathing soap. This is what I heard, maybe doctor [the one who commissioned the job] will explain better.”
Additional information came from Olasukunmi, popularly known as Ifa, who claimed that he was lured into the crime.
“I am a movie producer and I have successfully produced three movies as far back as 2010. During my spare time, I also do herbalist work which I learnt from my father. I am still working on one of my movies when police arrested me,” he stated.
His connection to the group was Akinbusuiyi, the prison warden.
“I knew Charles in prison when I was arrested by the police during a raid. I didn’t spend much time with them before I was released from prison,” he said.
He was present on the killing ground.
He explained his role: “On the day of the incident, I met them at the express. They asked me to help hold the torch because it was late at night, at about 11:30pm. I held the torch while Baba Beji cut him open. I was not the one who killed him.”
Ifa tried to distance himself from the murder, saying: “I am a herbalist and my stock-in-trade is assisting fraudsters to be successful.”
He explained he got entangled in the plot hunchback plot. “Baba Beji came to me and asked if I knew where we could get a man or woman with a hunchback. I told him to leave me alone as I was not into any money ritual. He called me one day to join him and I asked him what it was. He said that one of his friends who can pay very well wants to see me. I thought he was real till we got to the forest,” he narrated.
He tried desperately to justify his role: “I was scared, that was why I joined him. I know how these things work out ––if I don’t join them, they will kill me.”
Baba Niyi is the expert in the group, the man who could identify the hump of a natural hunchback.
He, too, once spent time in Ilesha prison. He was one of the vigilantes that were jailed alongside Baba Ibeji over the killing of a hunchback.
He, also, knew the man who commissioned the job. “I have known the doctor for many years. He normally asked for herbs. This was why he asked me to go and cross-check. I went there and discovered that it was not real,” he said.
Baba Niyi insisted on his innocence. “I did not follow them to kill anyone,” he submitted.
What became of the body?
They claimed the remains was dumped inside the bush along Osun-Ibadan expressway.
The fugitive prison warden
Charles Adebusuiyi, the prison warden, has since vanished into thin air. His office, Nigerian Correctional Services, confirmed no one has seen him at work since the case broke out. He has been declared wanted by the police.
From others’ confessions, it was he who allegedly contracted the services of the abductors –Emmanuel, Kazeem and another popularly known as MTN – to go to Igangan and abduct the victim. The three abductors, presently on the run, are suspected criminals who were once inmates at the Ilesa correction al center, where Adebusuiyi was a warden until he became a fugitive.
The victim’s family
Saturday Sun spoke with one of the relatives, Olatunji Fasakin, who was at the police station.
“I am his nephew and we live at Igangan-Ijesa, Osun State,” he introduced himself.
According to him, the family had given up hope of finding when they heard that IRT operatives had cracked the case.
He gave his side of the story thus: “On September 15, 2019, around 6 pm, I left to the forest to hunt. At about 8 pm, my wife called me that they have kidnapped my nephew and urged me to hurry back home. Upon my return, I met his mother and grandmother in tears. They told me four men took him away on a motorcycle. I took my motorcycle and drove towards the direction they were heading. When I got to Iwara junction, the persons that I met said that they have left and that some of the villagers who tried to stop them were beaten up. I returned to the village and reported the matter at Igangan police post.”
Although, some community members who heard of his abduction had rightly deduced that he was picked because of his hunched back, the family, nonetheless, had hoped his abductors would, in time, call to demand a ransom.
“But they never did,” he said, “When we couldn’t find him, everyone assumed that he was used for money ritual.”
He explained why his cousin was not a natural hunchback: “He had been sick right from birth, the constant ill-health affected his growth and he was no longer walking properly. Anyone that saw him would assume he had a hunchback. He wasn’t a hunchback.”
On how they got the news of the arrest of his abductors and killers, he said: “A family friend at Ayesan police post informed us that it was IRT Osun that arrested them.”
He said the family is still in mourning, stating, “but now we know what really happened to our brother.”
The family pleaded with the police to help them find his remains so that they can give him a befitting burial.
The following article, published by the Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe in late December 2019, is strictly speaking not about ritual killing or a specific ritualistic murder case. However, it has everything to do with the subject: superstition and the use of rituals using human body parts. It is a shocking account of a thriving market for human body parts. The interviews, and apparently also the investigations, have taken place in Zimbabwe, yet there is no reason not to believe that similar practices may be reported from other countries.
As the articles also concludes: ‘In Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, trading in human body parts is illegal.’ Hence, it is up to the government(s) to maintain the law (webmaster FVDK).
Inside the thriving human body parts market
Published: December 29, 2019 By: Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe – Emmanuel Kafe and Simbarashe Manhenda
Human body parts, according to sources and a pathologist, can also be harvested during post-mortems.
HUMAN body parts, mostly fingers, internal organs and private parts, are being sold by syndicates made up of mortuary attendants and security guards, investigations carried out by The Sunday Mail Society have revealed.
Information gathered revealed that the syndicates are conniving to harvest the body parts from mortuaries without the knowledge of the deceased’s families.
Investigations revealed that the body parts are much sought after and literally cost an arm and leg.
Water used to clean corpses, which is believed to be used in the preparation of juju used in housebreaking, is also in great demand.
As a result of the high demand, the water and body parts are only being sold in foreign currency.
The Sunday Mail Society’s investigations revealed that there is a ready and thriving market for the human body parts and water.
Among those that are acquiring the parts from the morgues are traditional healers, prophets, sex workers, criminals and businesspeople.
Apparently, acquiring human body parts can be as easy as ordering pizza.
A phone call and a little bargaining is all that it takes. After agreeing on a fee, the deal is sealed.
From the interactions with those involved in the illegal and unusual trade, it is clear that the syndicates are making a killing.
After getting a tip-off from a security guard who was once part of the human body parts’ cartel, The Sunday Mail Society crew went underground and pretended to be genuine buyers.
Following the tip-off, we approached one of the security guards manning the premises of a well-established funeral parlour in Harare.
Posing as traditional healers, we enquired from him how we could get certain human body parts.
We also asked about the prices.
The security guard, whom we were later told is paid a “commission” by the mortuary attendants for linking them with buyers, did not even attempt to exercise caution.
Without hesitation, the security guard gladly gave us the mortuary attendant’s contact details, saying his colleague would gladly help us.
After contacting the mortuary attendant, who was expecting our call, a meeting was promptly arranged.
The meeting took place at a local eatery.
From our deliberations with the mortuary attendant, we gathered that human private parts can be sold for as much as US$ 500.
Internal organs such as the heart were pegged at more than US$ 1 500.
The mortuary attendant, who remained composed and relaxed as if he was negotiating the sale of a heifer, explained how the body parts are harvested.
“The parts are mostly removed when the bodies are cleaned in preparation for burial,” he explained, adding that harvesting external body parts was often a challenge since relatives usually inspected the bodies of their departed loved ones.
“However, there is no risk in harvesting internal organs such as the heart and lungs since relatives of the deceased rarely inspect those parts of the body. Those ones are easier to get,” said our source.
In addition, he also said bones and teeth could be “easily obtained’”
But despite that, external organs such as the eyes, breasts and private parts were in great demand.
Also in demand is the water left after washing corpses.
Criminals, among them armed robbers and burglars, are believed to use the water as juju or to induce heavy sleep among house occupants.
According to sources, the water is mixed with juju to produce a concoction which criminals believe will protect them during their escapades
A 500ml bottle of the water was being sold for US$ 200.
It is widely believed that if the water is sprinkled on the door of a targeted house, the victim will fall into a deep slumber, resulting in the robbers ransacking their homes.
Mbuya Alice Nhemachena, a traditional healer, said the water was in great demand.
“The water can be used to make it easier for burglars to steal. Criminal elements can fork out a fortune to get hold of this water. It can also be used to make love potions,” Mbuya Nhemachena said.
Sekuru Friday Chisanyu, another traditional healer, said stealing and selling human body parts is a form witchcraft.
“Some traditional healers tell their clients to bring ‘a warm heart, freshly pulled out of a person’. People who engage such traditional healers want easy money and will end up engaging in ritual murders,” Sekuru Chisanyu said.
“But some people approach us saying they are now being tormented by avenging spirits after buying human body parts,” he said.
So who are the victims in this macabre scam?
According to sources, accident victims are the most common victims of human body parts’ theft.
For accident victims, relatives normally cannot tell whether missing body parts was lost during or after the accident.
Dr Edwin Muguti, a former Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, said it was possible for one to steal human body parts during a post-mortem.
“It is possible for pathologists, mortuary attendants and security guards to illegally harvest body parts. Such laws as the Human Tissue Act and the Anatomy Act were enacted to deter such practices,” Dr Muguti said.
But Mr Talent Nharara, the operations manager at Foundation Funeral Services, said he was yet to come across such criminal cases.
“I have heard about such things, but I am yet to come across such cases. However, it might be possible for body parts to be harvested during embalming and when the corpse is being washed. The fact that people always talk about this means that such things might be happening,” Mr Nharara said.
The human body is usually washed, embalmed and dressed up in preparation for either burial or cremation.
But according to Mr Nharara, the water used in cleaning corpses is disposed of in a manner which makes it almost impossible for one to collect it for sale.
“The water is disposed of using special drainage pipes. Like I said before, I am yet to come across people who siphon such fluids, but that does not mean that the fluids are not being siphoned off,” added Mr Nharara.
He was, however, not at liberty to reveal exactly how the water is disposed of.
Mr Taka Svosve, Zimbabwe Association of Funeral Assurers’ (Zafa) general manager, said there was much speculation regarding the harvesting of human body parts. “From our investigations, nothing of that sort is happening. Some fraudsters might actually be selling ordinary water, which they claim to have come from mortuaries.”
“Our people are professionals and we make sure that such acts are detected. Just like any other professionals, those that work in morgues adhere to stipulated rules,” Mr Svosve said, adding that there was need for the public to be educated about the role of morticians and undertakers so that society can get to understand how they work.
Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said no such reports hadbeen made to the police.
“I cannot comment on that one at the moment. There is need for investigations and verification,” Ass Comm Nyathi said.
In Zimbabwe and other parts of the world, trading in human body parts is illegal.
The recent disturbances in Zambia have given rise to many articles in local, regional and international newspapers. To cite them all would be an impossible task, I will not even attempt it here. Below I reproduce a kind of summary given by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo. Of course, I realize that he is a high placed Zambian official (politician) who might be interested in the political correctness of his statement, or having – understandable – political objectives. However, his Ministerial Statement before Parliament provides us with enough elements to be relatively well informed about the recent incidents which occurred in many places and regions of his Southern African country. Besides, it is interesting to note the ‘definition’ of ritual murders which he gives us: ‘(….) I wish to state that the term ritual killing means slaying a human being to appease deity. In short, victims of ritual killing are found with certain body parts missing from them for suspicious ritual use. (…)’
The article is reproduced here for various reasons. First, it shows the willingness and determination of the Zambian authorities to maintain the law. Secondly, it gives insight in the fear of local people and the reason why mob justice occurs. Furthermore, it establishes – once more – the fact that ritual murders have not been eradicated from Zambian society and, finally, it shows the nowadays complex nature of this phenomenon with the mixture of traditional beliefs, superstition and outright criminal behavior which characterize ritualistic killings, in Zambia as well as other countries.(webmaster FVDK).
‘370 households, 1198 people affected by gassing so far’ – Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo
It’s no surprise to me to read that ritual killings in Nigeria – usually referred to as ‘money rituals’ – are rampant and on the increase. I frequently report on these crimes in Africa’s most populated country. Esther Onyegbula, the author of the article below expresses her disgust while presenting a frightening number of ritualistic murder cases, some of which have been reported earlier on this site.
Her article makes it clear that ritual murders are a plague in Nigeria, in virtually every corner of the country, but notably in the western and eastern states. Moreover, after reading her story, one is convinced that even though in some cases the authorities uphold the rule of law, in many cases the police fail to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
Isn’t it time to wage a full-scale war against the criminals who slaughter innocent citizens in order to gain wealth or prestige, and against ignorance, the root cause of all superstition? (webmaster FVDK)
Weird world of money ritualists
Published: February 3, 2020 By: Vanguard Nigeria – Esther Onjegbula
In the last two years, ritual killings have been on the increase.
Although ritual crimes cut across almost all regions in the country, they are more pronounced in western and eastern states of Nigeria.
Every week, there are reports of one ritual killing or the other.
Some suspects are arrested and prosecuted while others arrested are not prosecuted as investigations are marred by lack of evidence or police compromise.
Last month, newspapers were awash with reports of how Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University, LASU, who went missing on December 8, 2019, was killed allegedly by her boyfriend, Adeeko Owolabi, who was said to have connived with a self-acclaimed pastor, for ritual purpose in Osun State.
Owolabi and his mother allegedly engaged ‘Pastor’ Segun Philips to end Favour’s life in a gruesome manner. The boyfriend allegedly tricked the victim from Lagos to Ikoyi-Ile, Osun State with the promise that he wanted her to meet his parents to approve their relationship.
But unknown to Favour, she was on her last journey on earth as she was led to the church where her head was smashed with a pestle allegedly by Owolabi and butchered by the ‘pastor’, who later removed her vital parts for money ritual.
Narrating how he killed the victim, Owolabi said, “I lured the deceased to Ikoyi-Ile and lodged her in a hotel before killing her. After I lodged her in a guest house, I took her to a house which I claimed to be my uncle’s house, but knowing that the place was a den of ritualists. “I smashed a pestle on her head and she collapsed. The prophet thereafter used a knife and cutlass to dismember her body which was divided into breasts, head and legs and other vital parts. “We buried the remaining parts of her body beside Prophet Philip’s Church called ‘Solution Salvation Chapel’, while some vital parts were given to my mother to eat for spiritual cleansing”.
Owolabi isn’t the first young man who has been arrested for killing his lover in recent past. In 2018, Seidu Adeyemi killed and buried his girlfriend, Khadijat Oluboyo, the daughter of a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr Lasisi Oluboyo. Adeyemi murdered Khadijat, a student of Adekunle Ajasin University, after inviting her to his house in July 2018. After the killing, Adeyemi buried the deceased in his room for five days before he was exposed by his father who reported to the police.
At Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha local government area of Edo State in November 2018, a teenager, Akpobome Samuel, allegedly strangled his mother to death and had sex with her corpse for ritual.
According to Samuel, who was paraded by the police, “I acted on the instructions of a witch doctor who I contracted for money ritual. “The voodoo doctor told me that after killing my mother, I should sleep with her corpse in order to get rich. “That is why I complied with his instruction and killed her. “I was caught by my grandmother who came to knock on the door having waited patiently for my mother to accompany her to church. She caught me having sex with my mother. “The native doctor told me to kill my mother and sleep with her corpse, but he did not tell me the number of days to sleep with her. “He told me to keep her dead body inside the room for two days but I was caught when I could no longer keep it.
“I did not know that my grandmother was sitting outside. She opened the door and sighted me on the corpse inside the room and raised the alarm that drew the attention of neighbours. “My mother did not offend me. I killed her because of money”.
Apart from people using their loved ones for ritual, there are instances where innocent persons have been used for ritual purposes by people they didn’t know.
Recently, there was an allegation by some residents of Kwara State that some policemen in Adewole Police Division, Ilorin had been selling suspects detained at the station to ritual killers for N 80, 000 per person. Although the state Commissioner of Police, Lawan Ado, said the allegation was false, the state Police Command redeployed policemen at the station. Ado added that no one had come forward with information to indict any police officer at the station for selling suspects to ritual killers. “But we have been redeploying the policemen there. More than half of them have now been transferred and, soon, the other half will be redeployed so that even if there is anybody who is involved – which no information has established – we will at least remove him from the area.”
But a frightening dimension was recorded in suspected cases of ritual killing in Ilorin last year when commercial motorcycle operators allegedly became targets of alleged ritualists. Motorcyclists were said to have been lured into the Government Reservation Area (GRA) of the town by ritualists posing as passengers only to be mowed down by members of the group.
Apart from the commercial motorcyclists, no fewer than six women were killed by suspected ritualists in the area and their breasts removed.
In July 2019, a young man was caught at Corporation Estate, Mile 12, Lagos after he allegedly murdered a commercial sex worker and removed her private part.
Back to Ondo State, the killing of an 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Kojusola Mogaji, in Arigidi-Akoko, created panic in the community. It incident got so scary so much so that Oba Yisa Olanipekun and the entire community embarked on interdenominational prayers and fasting, traditional rites while a vigilante group was raised to unravel ritual killings in the area.
Even the dead are not spared
It is not only the living that are gruesomely murdered and body parts harvested for ritual; the dead are also not allowed to rest in their graves as suspected ritual killers and skull miners exhume remains of dead people which are prepared for ritual.
Three young men, who were arrested by the Oyo State Police Command for being in possession of fresh human parts, confessed that their unbridled desires to get rich quick prompted them to get the body parts for money ritual.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, said the suspects were arrested after a tip-off by a member of the public. Odude added that the suspects confessed to have removed the body parts from corpses at a Muslim cemetery in Isale General Area of Ogbomoso.
One of the suspects claimed this was his first attempt at using human parts for money ritual.
Another said: “We went to Isale General at Ogbomoso to exhume the bodies at about 8p.m. On our way back, two inquisitive boys, who accosted us on the road, demanded to know where the offensive odour was from. “We tried to deceive them, but they were insistent. So we had to run. They caught one of us before the police arrested us at our homes. “We wanted to use the parts for money ritual. If we had succeeded in taking the corpses to our place, we would have dried and burnt them. “After burning the parts, we will grind the same to powdery substance and mix some of it with soap to take our bath in the morning and to take pap at night. “After we would have done this, some weird creatures, who we generally call demons, will bring money to us — usually at night.”
In another case reported in November 2019, a cemetery vault builder, Kazim Olarewaju, who worked at Okesuna Cemetery, Adeniji Adele area of Lagos island, revealed that he sold two human skulls for N12, 000. Olarewaju, who was arrested by policemen attached to Adeniji Adele Division, alongside two other suspects, Muritala Salami and Amidu Kazeem, explained that this was the second time he was trading in human parts.
Narrating how he got involved in the act, Olarenwaju said, “I work at Okesuna Cemetery. In September, Mr Muritala Salami and his relatives came to the cemetery to bury a relative. “After the burial, he said I should help him to get a biscuit. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. He said it was a human skull. “I told him immediately I couldn’t. He collected my telephone number and left but continued to call me till I bulged. “Initially, I asked him to come to the cemetery and take it himself. When he came, I helped him to take the bag outside the cemetery gate so that security guards won’t suspect anything. “The first time he paid me 12,000 for two skulls. “Last week he called me again and I told him to steer clear but he kept threatening me till I agreed to help him get two more human skulls. “It was while I was taking delivery of his order that I was arrested by the police.” Explaining further, Kasim said, “I started working at the cemetery two years ago and I have never been involved in a thing like this before I met Muritala”.
Explaining what he was doing with human skulls, Salami, who said he was a dealer in herbal preparation, said he used them to make charms to enable him get more clients. “I grind the dried human skulls, mix it with pepper and take it with local gin first thing in the morning. Before I began to do this, I was making about N30, 000 daily but afterwards I began to make between N80,000 and N100,000”
Confirming the arrest, spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, DSP Bala Elkana, said the investigation was ongoing and that the suspects will be charged to court.
From the foregoing, it would appear that native doctors, fake pastors, Muslim clerics and cemetery workers usually work with suspects in the business of ritual killing.
Worried by the spate of ritual killings and bodies’ exhumation from graveyards, then-Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of Zone 2, AIG Lawal Shehu, declared war on native doctors and human parts’ dealers in Lagos and Ogun states. Shehu said each time suspects were apprehended, they usually claimed they were herbalists, adding that some native doctors were aiding and abating the practice. He made the declaration after four suspects, identified as Lukmon Bayewunmi, Kabir Badmus, Victor Nnacheta and Nurudeen Sogaolu, were arrested with dried human jaw and scalp.
Meanwhile, the police have been accused of compromise on some cases of ritual killing.
For instance during the tenure of CP Imohimi Edgal as Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, precisely in August 2018, two suspected ritualists, Folake Falade and Emmanuel Gbenga were arrested under the Cele Nicer Bridge, Ijanikin, by the police.
Folake, who was almost lynched by an irate mob, said she had been there (Cele Nicer Bridge) for nine years and that her business was to sell human parts to ready buyers. She said her customers usually parked on the bridge at night with their vehicles bonnets opened, pretending that their vehicles had one fault or the other, but unknown to people that they were waiting to buy human parts. According to her, her boys would be beneath the vehicles pretending to be carrying out repairs to douse any suspicion and, in the process, hand over nylon bags containing human parts to the clients.
A resident, Lawrence Oke, claimed that Folake revealed that “whenever she failed to find preys to meet the demands of clients, she would dress seductively and head to a nearby hotel at night”. Oke went on, “Any man that picked her for the night would become prey as he would end up in her den where his body parts would be harvested and sold off to waiting clients.”
The resident further narrated that Folake confessed that she had boys that worked for her.
He added, “She said that once her hands touched someone, that person would lose his senses and follow her sheepishly.”
However, despite what many believed was compelling evidence against the suspect and initial police stand, nothing was heard about the case after the arrest.
Meanwhile, the belief that invoking spirits or demons can bring cash after performing some rituals obviously is what is fuelling ritual killings in parts of the country.
Sunday Vanguard spoke to some of those who should know in this special report.