A teenage albino boy has reportedly been killed and dismembered in Burundi. An albino rights group said the 15-year-old’s body was found late on Saturday, according to the AFP news agency. “The young albino was killed atrociously … his murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of Albinos Without Borders.
Previous albino killings in the African country have been linked to people practising witchcraft. More than 20 albino people have been killed in Burundi since 2008. (iitalics added by the webmaster FVDK)
In 2016 a five-year-old albino girl was kidnapped from her home by gunmen. The child’s dismembered body was discovered shortly afterwards. (Also see my October 4, 2018 posting).
Burundi’s government has banned witch doctors who claim to perform spells and charms using albino body parts to bring good luck and wealth. But in some areas a complete albino skeleton is worth as much as $75,000 (£62,000), according to the Red Cross.
Around 500 albino people live in Burundi.
Officials believe killings are carried out by local residents who work with witch doctors in neighbouring Tanzania, where 53 albino people have been killed since 2007 for their body parts. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK).
There are around 170,000 albino people living in Tanzania.
Related article: Albino teen found dismembered in Burundi
Published: August 19, 2019 By: Agence France-Presse
NAIROBI, Kenya – A 15-year-old albino boy has been found dismembered in Burundi a week after going missing, the first such killing in the country in three years, a local albino group said Sunday.
Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation, are killed regularly in some African countries for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals.
The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river separating Burundi from the DR Congo, not far from his home village.
“The young albino was killed atrociously… His murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of the local association Albinos Without Borders.
More than 20 albinos have been killed in Burundi since 2008, with the last case in 2016 when a five-year-old girl was found dismembered after being taken from her home.
Kazungu said a four-year-old albino boy had been missing since October 2018 from the village of Cendajuri near the Tanzanian border, but that he had “no hope” of finding him alive.
Some experts believe the demand for albino body parts in Tanzania — where such attacks are the most prevalent — has fueled such killings in border areas.
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)
Fortunately, I am not the only one worried or angry about the mutilating and murdering of people living with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. We have people like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the famous Ghanaian undercover reporter, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Overstone Kondowe, director of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, Richard Rooney in Swaziland, Kassim Kazungu, President of the organization Albinos without Borders in Burundi (‘Association Albinos sans Frontières de Burundi’) and – last but not least, the people running Under The Same Sun, an organization fighting for the rights of Persons with Albinism in Tanzania, headed by Peter Ash. And there is Tom Head.
I read his piece on ‘why albinos are being murdered in South Africa’ and immediately felt the need to share it with you, the reader of this blog on ritual killings in Africa. Tom Head is, according to his own writing, a 26-year old writer and English Teacher. ‘British by birth, South African by heart. His wife is definitely his better half. Known to follow rubbish sports teams. Writes mainly about current affairs, politics and sport.’ Unquote. Judge for yourself whether I took the right decision to include his article on this site. His article dates from the end of March, this year. Thanks Tom for your precious contribution!
A luta continua – the struggle continues!
Why are albinos being murdered in South Africa?
TOPSHOT – An albino model wearing a creation waits to access a private lounge during the fashion show at the 2017 Durban July horse race in Durban, South Africa, on July 1, 2017.
Myth and superstition threaten the lives of one of society’s most marginalised groups.
In 2018, it goes without saying that no-one should be fearful of their lives because of what skin colour they were born with. However, this is very much a reality for albinos in sub-Saharan Africa.
The UN state that people who live with albinism are treated “more like ghosts than humans”*, following years of ostracisation and a general lack of public understanding. Feeling marginalised by society is one thing. But being murdered because you’re different is a whole other, heartbreaking issue.
What causes albinism?
Albinism is hereditary. It doesn’t have to be passed on directly from an albino parent, but the mother or father must be a carrier of the gene for a child to inherit the condition.
When the human body fails to produce enough melanin, it affects the colourisation of the skin and its pigmentation. Around one in 20 000 people worldwide are albino.
Why are albinos murdered?
Their persecution is almost entirely based on myth and superstition. Witch doctors operating in southern Africa believe their body parts possess magical powers. Some think that possessing their limbs can ensure better health, and will bring good luck to the owner.
The idea is beyond ridiculous, but it is ultimately tragic. On the other side of the coin, some witch doctors also teach the idea that albinos are cursed. The crackpot theories range from the ideas that they are trapped spirits, to being the living souls of colonialist invaders.
Malawi has reported “at least 18” murders of albino citizens since 2014. However, Tanzania is where the most murders occur, and that’s due to the sheer size of their albino population. It’s estimated around 7,000 people live with albinism in the country.
Violence against albinos has never matched the same levels seen north of Mzansi. However, there have been some high profile cases in Mpumalanga this month that have forced South Africa to confront a horrifying reality.
A traditional healer who allegedly killed two children with albinism appeared in a Witbank court last month. Following that, the grave of an albino local was dug up in Pienaar near White River: His hands and right foot had been cut off.
Police in Mpumalanga have vowed to step up their attempts to protect the albino community. General Mondli Zuma stated this week that the “barbaric act” of dealing in body parts has to be stopped.
Misinformation and lies should never result in the death of a human being. But when they are systematically pedalled to target one specific community, something drastic has to change. Albinos can no longer be treated as ghosts, rather than people.
* – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
KAYUNGA – Police in Naggalama has arrested four witchdoctors for alleged ritual killing.
A disappearance report of Mirembe Zuraika was filed at Naggalama Police Station on August 11 and Police mounted a search leading to the arrest of the witchdoctors.
The DPC Naggalama ASP Jessica Naawe confirmed that the relatives of Mirembe reported a case of the disappearance of their daughter and tipped off police that she had talked of having an appointment with a one Owen Sebuyungo, a 24-year-old witch doctor.
In his confession, Sebuyungo narrated that Mirembe visited his shrine for help since she had been possessed by evil spirits (empewo).
Sebuyungo then contacted his spiritual consultant a renowned witchdoctor Mohammed Wamala alias Bob who enticed him to murder Mirembe.
One of the suspects held over the vicious ritual murders is led to a cell at Naggalama Police Station (PML Daily PHOTO)
Wamala allegedly told Sebuyungo that he would amass lots of wealth if he could cut off the head of a female human being.
Following leads, police conducted further investigations leading to the arrest of a syndicate of witch doctors that are believed to have participated in the heinous act.
Upon thorough questioning, the four confessed to having welcomed Mirembe at the shrine and at dawn, beheaded her and buried the head in the shrine.
The suspects then led Police to the shrine where she had been buried.
Shockingly five bodies buried in a rather disturbing position were exhumed.
Wamala told Police he had ferried over eight females from his home in Ganda Nansana, murdered and buried them at this shrine located in Ntunda Kayunga.
Police has also recovered a number of items that include spears and pots filled with fresh blood suspected to be human blood.
Several bodies were exhumed by the Police at the shrine (PML Daily PHOTO)
Blood samples have been picked, taken to the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) while the recovered bodies that had decomposed beyond recognition have been taken to Mulago hospital for DNA test so that the relatives can identify them.
“The search is still going on. We suspect more bodies must still be buried under the remaining five shrines,” ASP Naawe said.
Police has since cordoned off the area as the search for more evidence continues in this strange murder case.
The four suspects identified as Junior Kibuuka, Fred Kiiza Semanda, Wamala Muhammed and Owen Sebuyungo are detained at Naggalama Police Station.
Police, CMI recover five bodies from Kayunga shrine, healer arrested
By Fred Muzaale
August 11, 2018
Police in Naggalama, Mukono District and operatives from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) have arrested a traditional healer and also recovered five bodies from his shrine in Kisoga village, Nazigo sub-county, Kayunga District.
The Naggalama police division police commander, Ms Jesca Naawe, identified the suspect as a 27-year-old a renowned youthful traditional healer.
Ms Naawe explained on Saturday that the five bodies, one believed to be of a woman, and the rest of male adults, were dug from three shallow graves which were found in the suspect’s shrine.
Police find child skull in fresh search on shrines
By Fred Muzaale & Joseph Kato
August 14, 2018
Mr Owen Ssebuyungo (squatting) one of the suspects directs police during the search in Kayunga District yesterday. PHOTO BY FRED MUZAALE
Kayunga- Security operatives yesterday retrieved a skull of a child when they resumed a search at a witch-doctor’s shrine in Kisoga village, Nazigo Sub-county in Kayunga District where five human bodies were recovered last Saturday.
The main suspect, Mr Owen Ssebuyungo, 27, and three other witch doctors are being held in separate detention centres.
The five bodies, one being of a woman, were dug up by police assisted by residents at Ssebuyungo’s grass-thatched shrine.
The security team resumed the operation at around 2pm although it was interrupted by a downpour.
The residents and police from Kayunga and Naggalama police stations used hoes to dig up the entire compound, which had five shrines, as the suspects watched.
By press time, police had recovered a skull of a child at the shrines, but the excavation was still ongoing.
“We have come back to dig up the entire area because locals told investigators that they think there are still more bodies which were buried in the shrines,” Mr George Obia, Kayunga District Police Commander said.
Police have since Saturday maintained presence at Ssebuyungo’s shrine, which has been declared a scene of crime.
A house belonging to Ssebuyungo’s mother, standing a few metres from the shrines, looked deserted as she reportedly fled after her son’s arrest about a week ago.
Ssebuyungo, according to locals, lived with his wife in Kabimbiri town in the neighbouring Mukono District and only came to his shrines to attend to clients. His father Charles Ssonko, now deceased, was also a witch doctor.
The Local Council One chairman, Mr Bernard Ssekizira, said the discovery of human bodies at the shrine has left the residents in shock.
“Although we had heard rumours that Ssebuyungo was involved in suspicious acts of kidnapping people, we never took it seriously until Saturday when human bodies were discovered at his shrine,” Mr Ssekizira said.
He said the incident has tainted the image of their village, adding that people will start shunning the area.
He urged authorities to investigate activities of all witch-doctors in the area to arrest whoever is engaged in criminal acts.
Following the incident, Kayunga Deputy Resident District Commissioner Yahaya Were said they had stopped all activities of witch doctors in the district until the registered association of traditional healers goes to the district to verify the honest healers from the unscrupulous ones.
Residents in Mukono also told investigators that Ssebuyungo and his accomplices had another shrine in Kiwungi village in Ssi Sub-county, Buikwe District which they abandoned a year ago.
Police did not say whether they would also search the abandoned shrine.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said one of the suspects, Wamala, had revealed to police that he often took young girls from his Nansana shrine to Kayunga shrine for offering to the gods.
“We arrested Wamala and while in detention at Naggalama Police Station, he confessed that he ferried eight women to this shrine. At the shrine, we recovered four bodies, a human skull and pots containing blood-like liquids but we suspect there could be more bodies in this shrine,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
He said police had not yet discovered the whereabouts of the said women but highly suspect they were murdered in ritual sacrifice within the shrine premises.
Last week police recovered the body of Allen Nakiyingi, a teacher in Kira Municipality in Wakiso District, buried in her lover’s house in Matugga town, in the same district.
She had gone missing for three weeks. The house in which Nakiyingi’s body was retrieved belonged to her boyfriend’s mother who is also a witch-doctor based in Kayunga District.
Confessed: Ssebuyungo told security that they sacrificed human beings to woo many clients to their shrine.
The bodies, which had decomposed beyond recognition, were retrieved from shallow graves and a Shs5,000 note was placed on each of them.
Spears and pots of blood, suspected to have been drawn from human beings, were recovered at the shrine and taken to the Government Analytical Laboratory for investigation.
The bodies were taken to Mulago Hospital for DNA testing.
Locals destroy house, crops of Kayunga witch doctor’s mother
By Fred Muzaale
August 15, 2018
Residents of Kisoga village demolish Owen Ssebuyungo’s house on Tuesday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE
Kayunga- Angry residents of Kisoga village, Nazigo Sub-county on Tuesday morning destroyed a house belonging to the mother of Owen Ssebuyungo, a witch doctor and key suspect in the murder of six people whose bodies were retrieved from his shrine on Monday.
The area LC2 chairperson, Mr Mohammed Kagimu, on Tuesday said the angry residents stormed Margaret Ssonko’s home at around 5am after the police, which had maintained presence in the area since Saturday, had left.
“Given the anger residents had, there was no way they could spare his parents’ home and crops,” Mr Kagimu said.
After destroying the home, they pounced on her garden and destroyed crops such as coffee and bananas. By 9am on Tuesday, residents were still seen cutting down the crops.
Fleeing for safety
Ms Ssonko reportedly fled the area a week ago after her son was arrested by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence officers.
Ssebuyungo, together with three other suspects; Juniro Kibuuka, Fred Kiiza Semanda and Muhammed Wamala, are detained at Naggalama Division Police Station, according to Ms Jesca Naawe, the district police commander.
The Kayunga District Police Commander, Mr George Obia, criticised the residents for taking the law into their own hands.
He said on Monday evening, the police used a grader to excavate suspected crime points since tools such as hoes and mattock could not do the work in a short time possible.
He said apart from the child’s skull and bones that were recovered on Monday, no other bodies were found.“Our investigators have now gone to Nansana to search Mohammed Wamala’s shrine,” Mr Obia said.
He, however, said investigations into the case have almost been concluded adding that the files would be taken to the resident state attorney today for perusal. “Most likely they will appear in court on Friday or latest on Monday,” he said.
Ms Naawe said the suspects will be transferred from Naggalama Police Station to Kayunga Police Station.
This incident has prompted the Resident District Commissioner Rose Birungi, who heads the district security committee to halt all activities of traditional healers in Kayunga district, located about 50 kilometres from Kampala.