Zimbabwe – Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

Another development in the sad saga of the ritualistic murder of the young, 7-year old Tapiwa Makore. It must be said that local authorities and notably the local police acted swiftly after the discovery of the victims’ mutilated body, on September 18. Even President Mnangagwa reacted on the muthi (muti) murder, condemning the heinous crime on September 25 (see my posting dated October 2, 2020).

It is believed by superstitious, wicked people that body parts which have been taken – from a living victim (!) – and processed in a particular way, by a traditional healer or witchdoctor (n’anga), that these ritualistic activities will enhance one’s power or wealth.

There is no place for such superstition and disrespect for human life in the year 2020 (or before that year). The rule of law must apply, suspects should be put on trial and judged by an independent judge. And more prevention should take place: through education.  

Warning: The following articles contain graphic details of the cruel murder (webmaster FVDK).

Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

Asst Comm Paul Nyathi

Published: October 16, 2020
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe – Investigations Editor

POLICE have picked up a traditional healer for questioning over the missing head of the seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, suspected to have been murdered for ritual purposes.

Body parts taken in a ritual murder which occurred at Makore Village under Chief Mangwende, would have to be processed in particular ways, the superstitious believe, so that they bring good fortune and riches. 

Police started hunting for the traditional healer they believed was implicated in this killing soon after they arrested the two men they suspect were the actual killers. 

Only a torso and legs were recovered from the dismembered body, but the head is still missing.

In their investigations, police recovered the head of another child, a 12-year-old, in the same village, but think it may have been exhumed from a grave.

Although the police did not disclose the name of the traditional healer, they confirmed he was being questioned.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police have established that they had been given a lot of misleading information on the death of the boy and people were hiding crucial information.

“We have realised that some people are not telling the truth and they are hiding crucial information. But we will surely get to the bottom of the matter and the truth will come out,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.

Tapiwa was allegedly murdered for ritual purposes by his uncle Tapiwa Makore (Senior) who used his own domestic worker, Tafadzwa Shamba (40).

The boy was kidnapped in the family garden in the village. 

Shamba, a herdsman, and the boy’s uncle have since been arrested and taken to court facing murder charges.

They now await trial while in remand prison. They were remanded in custody to October 26 in absentia yesterday, as they are still assisting police with investigations.

Meanwhile, police have taken the head of a 12-year-old child recently found in the same village for forensic analysis.

There has been no report of another missing child in that age group, creating room for suspicion that the head could have been exhumed from a grave.

“The other head found in Makore village is now subject to forensic analysis. So far no report of a missing person falling in that category has been received by the police. We are still investigating that matter,” said Asst-Comm Nyathi.

During investigations, Shamba recently told detectives he killed the boy by cutting off the head with a knife in the dead of the night, while the boy’s uncle was holding a torch.

Shamba said after the alleged murder, he carried a black plastic bag containing the head and the dismembered body while his employer, who is the boy’s uncle, carried another bag containing the arms and legs.

He led the team of detectives to the uncle’s homestead where he said he fed the boy, drugged him with kachasu and locked him up in a room for hours.

Shamba said he met the boy’s uncle around midnight and took the boy to a nearby mountain, where they allegedly killed him. 

“Around midnight, we opened the door and I carried the boy, who was still in deep slumber to a mountain in the village. Mr Makore carried the knives and the plastic bags. While here (in the mountain), I pressed the boy to the ground and cut off his head with a sharp knife, while his uncle was holding a torch for lighting.

“I also cut off the hands and legs, but we packed the parts in different plastic bags. I carried the one with the torso and the head while Mr Makore carried another one containing the legs and hands,” he said.

At the scene, investigators saw human waste, believed to have been excreted by the boy during the murder.

Shamba told detectives that he cleaned the scene of the blood and set the grass on fire to destroy evidence.

He said while walking back to Makore’s homestead, he felt the load was becoming heavier before dumping the torso near Mr Summer Murwira’s homestead.

While at Makore’s homestead, Shamba said he was instructed to put the head in one of the rooms, which he did.

The following day, Shamba said he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave as police investigations were intensifying.

Source: Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga

More on the same subject:

Pastor Charles Charamba Speaks Out On Murehwa Ritual Killing

Pastor Charles Charamba

Published: October 14, 2020
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Audrey L. Ncube 

Gospel musician Pastor Charles Charamba has condemned the killing of children for ritual purposes. The condemnation comes in the wake of the murder of a seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore,  for ritual purposes, allegedly by his uncle.

In an interview with Hmetro, Pastor Charamba decried the loss of young children as a result of heinous and evil actions for rituals and witchcraft purposes.

“The disappointing aspect in this account of Tapiwa from Murewa is that those men that wanted to be rich, wanted to be rich during this lockdown knowing that everyone in the world has been impoverished.

“They were led by that need to be rich when everything else around the world is stagnant, that is very evil,” Pastor Charamba said.

Pastor Charamba revealed that he is pained by the unfortunate killing of Tapiwa Makore for ritual purposes. He emphasized how the Bible talks about the sacredness of life.

“For me as a pastor, it is very unfortunate that we lost Tapiwa and others of his age but I am saying that life is sacred.

He explained it is painful and unfortunate that these killings are done by people very close to the children. He called on guardians to keep children safe and not to fall under the influence of superstition as it is an enemy of society.

“It is something that is very sad and very unfortunate because it is being done by people who are supposed to be trusted custodians of the children. They abuse their offices and also abuse their relationships with their victims.

“We are hoping that the Almighty guides us so that our society changes and improves when it comes to issues that have to do with trust.

“Above all, the way in which we people want money nowadays is not a good way at all and this is also being caused by what is known as superstition because what people usually regard as worshipping is not actually worshipping,” he said.


SourcePastor Charles Charamba Speaks Out On Murehwa Ritual Killing

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Murehwa Ritual Murder Details Emerge… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Use Body Parts To Get Rich And For Horticulture Project

Tapiwa Makore Senior

Published: October 1, 2020
By: iHarare, Zimbabwe – Sharon Chirisa

Murehwa Ritual Murder Details… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Get Rich 

The senseless murder of 7 year old Tapiwa Makore from Makore Village under Chief Mangwende, in Murehwa, left the whole country with a bitter taste in their mouths.

The whole country is still recovering from the heinous crime and never has been the pursuit of justice been swift and urgent before.

Tapiwa Makore was abducted while he was watching over his family’s garden from thieving monkeys, only for his mutilated corpse to turn up the next day, being ravaged by the Makore neighbors’ oblivious dogs.

A breakthrough emerged in the case, after the cattle herdman, Tafadzwa Shamba was arrested in connection with the murder, eventually leading to Tapiwa’s namesake and uncle, as being the mastermind behind the cold blooded killing.

The police were correct in treating it as a ritual murder, because that is what it turned out to be after further investigations.

Ritual murders are often accompanied by mutilation and the dismemberment of certain body parts which are believed to be the main ingredients for spells, this mostly includes the head, private parts, tongue and sometimes the eyes and limbs.

The reason behind Tapiwa Makore’s murder is more shocking like the murder itself.

According to state broadcaster reports earlier this week, his uncle had him killed because he wanted to increase his wealth and boost his horticulture project using dark magic.

Tapiwa Makore’s other body parts were taken to a yet to be identified witch doctor, who would then perform the spell.

Even more chilling was the fact that Tapiwa Makore Senior stood by, holding a torch for illumination, as Tafadzwa Shamba was murdering his nephew.

An eerily composed Tafadzwa Shamba appeared on TV indicating on the crime scene  and narrating the horrific details leading to Tapiwa Makore’s final hours.

Tapiwa Makore’s final hours must have been frightening and lonely as he was detained in the home of the man who was not only a trusted family member, but his namesake as well.

The boy was restrained, drugged using an illicit brew of alcohol and then taken to a mountain in the night where he was decapitated and mutilated.

His uncle Tapiwa Makore Snr , initially denied the accusations but an arrest was made.

Makore and Shamba are currently remanded in custody, awaiting trial on the 13th of October 2020.

The stain of his death is one that will linger on in the psyches of many.

Source: Murehwa Ritual Murder Details Emerge… Victim’s Uncle Wanted To Use Body Parts To Get Rich And For Horticulture Project

Boy sacrificed by shaman in Uganda where child sacrifice is big business

In Uganda ritual murder of children is rampant and in many cases witchdoctors are involved in these cruel crimes. It is shocking to read that with an estimated 3 million traditional ‘healers’ or witchdoctors, hundreds of Ugandan children are kidnapped and murdered for ritualistic purposes. Human sacrifice is a thriving business (see below).

The good news is that also in Uganda there are people fighting against these medieval practices, based on superstition, ignorance and facilitated by the lack of rule of law in this country where President Museveni clings desperately to power. He rules increasingly with an iron fist, after initially being welcomed as a liberator, in the 1980s. Respect for human rights in Uganda is a mockery as long as barbaric practices such as human sacrifices continue to exist.

Warning: the following articles contain graphic details of gruesome practices and crimes (webmaster FVDK).

Boy Sacrificed by Muslim Shaman in Uganda Where Child Sacrifice Is Big Business

A Ugandan police officer holds a “No Child Sacrifice sign.” (Image credit: CBN News)

Published: September 30, 2020
By: CBN News – Steve Warren – George Thomas         

A disturbing report out of Uganda is the latest confirmation of an evil practice that CBN News first reported about years ago.

A 13-year-old Christian girl and her 11-year-old brother were reportedly abducted by a radical Muslim woman two years ago and sold to a witchdoctor for ritual sacrifice. 

Morning Star News (MSN) reports Sulaiman Pulisi, a former imam who became a Christian three years ago, said in July 2018 his daughter, then 13, and his then-11-year-old son, Abdulmajidu, disappeared from their home in eastern Uganda’s Kachiribong village, Kasasira Town in Kibuku District. 

Local police rescued Pulisi’s daughter from a house owned by a Muslim witchdoctor or shaman named Isifu Abdullah’s on Sept. 16.

“We are mourning for our son who is alleged to have been sacrificed,” Pulisi told Morning Star. “We are mourning with my daughter, who has been used as a sex object by the Muslim shaman.”

Law enforcement authorities later discovered Sania Muhammad, a Muslim woman living in Kasasira located in eastern Uganda, and two others had sold the two children to the witchdoctor in reprisal for their father’s conversion to Christianity. 

Police believe Abdullah offers human sacrifices as part of his witchcraft activities, according to MSN.  Both the witchdoctor and the woman were arrested in the boy’s disappearance and are awaiting charges. 

There are an estimated 3 million traditional “healers,” or witchdoctors, in Uganda. As CBN News has reported, hundreds of Ugandan children are kidnapped and murdered as part of a thriving human sacrifice business.

CBN News Goes Undercover to Search for Child Killers

In 2017, CBN News Sr. International Correspondent George Thomas joined undercover detectives, armed police, and a pastor hunting for a witch doctor accused of kidnapping and killing children.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga leads the search. He runs Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Christian effort to stamp out child sacrifice in Uganda.  He describes the witch doctors’ brutal ritual.

“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.”

Pastor Peter says these gruesome crimes happen almost every month.

“The problem is increasing and many children are killed, and there are very few actually that survive, most of them die.”

Child sacrifice in Uganda is such a serious and widespread problem that the government has even set up an anti-child sacrifice and human trafficking task force. (italics added by the webmaster).

Superstition and Money

Mike Chibita is Uganda’s top law enforcement official, the equivalent of America’s Attorney General. He says superstition and the desire to get rich quick contribute to high child sacrifice rates in his country.

“The connection is that these witch doctors come and tell people who want to get rich that in order to get rich you need to sacrifice human blood,” said Chibita, who serves as Uganda’s director of public prosecutions.

Kyampisi Childcare Ministries is the only organization in the country providing long-term financial and medical care for survivors of child sacrifice attempts.

“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 like Komuhangi Margaret to help draft specific laws targeting perpetrators of child sacrifice.

“Every Ugandan must wake and say, ‘No to sacrificing our children’,” said Margaret. “Our children are the future of this country.”

Source: Boy Sacrificed by Muslim Shaman in Uganda Where Child Sacrifice Is Big Business

Murewa ritual killing: President Mnangagwa decries evil act (Zimbabwe)

The cruel ritualistic killing of 7-year old Tapiwa Makore in Zimbabwe inspired the president of this country, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to raise his voice against the killing of children for ritualistic purposes – because the gruesome murder of the young boy is not the only ritual killing case in his country. The police found evidence on the crime scene that more children had been murdered, possibly by the same suspect, Tafadzwa Shamba, a herdsman in the same village with the Makores.

Mnangagwa’s condemnation of ritual murders triggered the anger of an opposition politician, Paul Nyathi, who accused President Mnangagwa of hypocrisy. He accused Mnangagwa of several politically motivated murders. Moreover, while Mnangagwa was Minister of State for National Security – under then President Robert Mugabe – the 5th Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army killed thousands of civilians in the Matabeleland region. These massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, lasted from 1983 to 1987, and resulted in an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 deaths. 

Warning: the following articles contain graphic details of a cruel crime (webmaster FVDK).

Murehwa ritual killing: President decries evil act

The late Tapiwa Makore

Published: September 26, 2020
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe  

President Mnangagwa yesterday condemned the killing of children for ritual purposes, saying the Government was concerned with all forms of threats and abuse to children and vowed to end violence against them.

The condemnation comes in the wake of the murder of a seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, last week for ritual purposes, allegedly by a herder.

“I am disturbed by the loss of young children as a result of heinous and evil actions for rituals and witchcraft purposes. These cold-hearted acts of murder have no place in our country.

“The stakeholders in our criminal justice system must speedily and strongly deal with perpetrators so that this evil trend is expunged from our society,” said the President during a virtual Junior Cabinet meeting at State House yesterday.

Murder suspect Tafadzwa Shamba

Tapiwa was looking forward to resuming classes on November 9, and rejoining his peers at Nyamutumbu Primary School in Murehwa after a six-month hiatus.

Like millions of other pupils across the country, particularly his Grade One fellows, he was raring to go as the phased reopening of schools, which comes into effect on Monday, puts an end to their daily routine of playing house, horseplay and hopscotch, in-between errands as may be assigned by their parents.

The seven-year-old Tapiwa was his parents’ gift from God as was reflected in his name. With school lessons temporarily shelved owing to Covid-19, the bubbly boy, like the gift he was, often helped out his mother in tending to their vegetable garden.

In the morning of Thursday September 17, as she has always done, Tapiwa’s mother prepared food for him and set him off on the excursion to keep stray livestock away from their vegetable patch.

She and her husband were set to relieve him later in the afternoon.

However, fate had decided otherwise. It was set in the stars that they would never see their beloved son alive again, neither were they to bury him intact.

Unbeknown to them, the Makore family had set in motion a chain of events that would leave the serene community of Makore Village in Chief Mangwende’s domain of Murehwa District, dumbfounded, distressed and in deep mourning as a dark cloud of both grief and fear engulfed them.

Tapiwa’s story reads like a horror movie where death is traded with such abandon that the grisly ceases to be abnormal with the Grim Reaper, in his dark shrouds, hooded robe and scythe daring the living as they dare each other.

Bereft of words, the community fretfully tries to come to terms with what could have befallen their child; for in African societies, a child belongs to all. No one knows what he went through, and how the Grim Reaper tore through his fragile heart to “reap” his soul. All else pointed to ritual murder.

When Tapiwa’s parents got to the garden around 3pm, where they expected to see him as usual, they were confronted by his “last meal”, untouched, and his pair of shoes. Their boy was nowhere to be seen.

The parents’ enquiries on the whereabouts of their cherished son from other children, who were also keeping watch over their gardens revealed that Tapiwa had last been seen swimming in a pond close-by.

A visit to the pond, however, did not yield any result. Suddenly an air of fear filled them as they alerted other villagers of the missing boy, resulting in an immediate search of the area.

Nonetheless, the search, which was immediately conducted into the wee hours of the night and the morrow, yielded nothing; except more pain, anxiety and regret. By then, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had joined in the search.

The following day, Friday September 18, villagers reported that a neighbour had woken up to an enigmatic sight in his yard. He discovered his dog and puppies feasting on human organs. The body had its head, neck, both legs and arms hacked off.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said of the discovery then:

“The body of the boy was later discovered on September18, 2020, being eaten by dogs with the head, arms and legs chopped off for suspected ritual purposes.”

With the police leaving no stone unturned, one of the suspects, Tafadzwa Shamba was nabbed on kidnap and murder charges, while his two alleged accomplices are still at large.

Shamba, a herdsman in the same village with the Makores, and his co-conspirators ostensibly allegedly waylaid the boy from his family’s garden, took him to a mountain and detained him for the entire day.

The herdsman was promised US$1 500 for his part in the kidnap and subsequent gruesome murder.

However, before the envisaged windfall, Shamba’s luck ran out, as the blood-stained clothes he wore on the day he allegedly committed the crime betrayed him.

Naturally, the discovery of Tapiwa’s dismembered body, and one of the suspects’ subsequent arrest would have put closure to the sad story, as some questions could have been answered.

That was not to be. More human body parts were found strewn all over the place including a skull. However, this turned out not to be Tapiwa’s.  This discovery with all the trappings of the macabre, led to more questions than answers.

Could there be a conspiracy to wipe out children from the area for ritual purposes? Has the area’s Grim Reaper made a date with the Makore villagers for a ransom as an appeasement for some ill-informed engagement from the past?

Villagers and the police unearthed more than they could chew. Among the skulls found, was one that looked so old it could not be linked to the victim’s; the other one was still blood-stained, but with the eyes gorged out and missing jawline. The chin and tongue were also missing.

Also discovered were a fire-singed child’s palm, a jaw with seven lower teeth, and other body pieces.

It is not clear how many other children could have met their fate in Tapiwa’s manner, which has left a cold chill running through the villagers’ spines.

Tapiwa’s relatives are convinced that the discovered fresh skull could not be their “son’s”.

Mr Isaac Makore (57), the deceased boy’s granduncle, said the newly discarded skull they chanced on was not his grandnephew’s, but that of a 12-year-old, yet to be identified child’s.

As a result of the uncertainty, Tapiwa is still to find rest, as burial arrangements have been put on hold pending further investigations.

“My grandnephew went missing, and we later discovered his torso with other organs, like the head, hands, and legs missing. We also discovered separate sets of teeth; and two separate skulls, one with lower teeth and the other one with upper teeth but without a tongue.

“Indications are that the other skull belongs to a yet to be identified older child, and not our ‘child’s’, Mr Makore said.

However, the boy’s privates were untouched.

Following Tapiwa’s grisly murder, and the unearthing of more mutilated body parts, villagers are now living in fear of death merchants who could be on the prowl in the area, seeking children’s hearts for ritual purposes.

Tapiwa’s uncle, Mr Simbarashe Makore (38), said it is believed that there could be many children, although not from their area, who could have been killed for ritual purposes, and had their bodies dumped in the proximity of their village.

“We are now living in fear. Our prayer is that the police apprehend the culprits and rid our area of this menace. Who knows, after our children, they may also come for us, their parents. How could someone kill a fellow human being in such cold blood just like that?” he bemoaned.

Ms Easther Makore (52), Tapiwa’s aunt concurred, saying the police should not leave any stone unturned and get to the bottom of the issue as it was mind-boggling that so many human organs could be discovered hard upon her nephew’s demise.

Mr Summer Murwira (78), a nephew to the Makore family, at whose homestead Tapiwa’s dismembered body was found, said it (body) was bloodless when it was discovered.

Another villager weighed in, saying: “I do not think the place the torso was found is where he was murdered, otherwise there would have been blood stains all over. This is a serious matter.

“We now fear for our children. No one even wants to attend to the gardens anymore, or guard them against roaming livestock since the incident occurred.” —  (Additional reporting by Kingstone Mapupu — Kwayedza).

Source: Murehwa ritual killing: President decries evil act

President Mnangagwa’s remarks provoked an outcry from Paul Nyathi, a Zimbabwean opposition politician, which is interesting to note (webmaster FVDK).

“Mr President, All Murders Must Be Condemned And Stopped”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa 

Published: September 26, 2020
By: ZimEye The Truth & The Future – Paul Nyathi

President Mnangagwa who himself is accused of several politically motivated murders and abductions yesterday condemned the killing of children for ritual purposes, saying the Government was concerned with all forms of threats and abuse to children and vowed to end violence against them.

The condemnation comes in the wake of the murder of a seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, last week for ritual purposes, allegedly by a herder.

While it is noble for Mnangagwa to condemn the killings of innocent children the President himself has a history of killing which taints his otherwise noble call. Zimbabweans have through the years called on Mnangagwa to speak to the murders attributed to his authority and call for an end to the wanton killing of citizens for political purposes as he has done on the killing of children for ritual purposes.

“I am disturbed by the loss of young children as a result of heinous and evil actions for rituals and witchcraft purposes. These cold-hearted acts of murder have no place in our country.

“The stakeholders in our criminal justice system must speedily and strongly deal with perpetrators so that this evil trend is expunged from our society,” said Mnangagwa during a virtual Junior Cabinet meeting at State House on Friday.

While Mnangagwa was Minister of State for National Security, the 5th Brigade of the Zimbabwe National Army killed thousands of civilians in the Matabeleland region. These massacres, known as the Gukurahundi, lasted from 1983 to 1987, and resulted in an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 deaths.

More recently military officials – many behind his rise to power – have been accused of benefiting from the rich Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe, with reports of killings and human rights abuses there.

His ruthlessness, which it could be argued he learnt from his Rhodesian torturers, is said to have been seen again in 2008 when he reportedly masterminded Zanu-PF’s response to former President late Robert Mugabe losing the first round of the presidential election to long-time rival the late Morgan Tsvangirai.

The military and state security organisations unleashed a campaign of violence against opposition supporters, leaving hundreds dead and forcing thousands from their homes. Tsvangirai then pulled out of the second round and Mugabe was re-elected in a one man race.

On August 1 2018, the Zimbabwean army shot at protestors killing at least twelve and injuring many others. The government of Mnangagwa again denied involvement. A commission headed by Mohlante found the army responsible for the killings. The commission made recommendations and all were ignored by Mnangagwa’s military government. None of the recommendations were carried out.

In January 2019, more protestors were killed by the same army in cold blood. Scores of women were raped, some in front family members. A brazen Mnangagwa, would later demand to see graves of those killed and the women raped should come to him that he can believe that such atrocities took place at the hands of the army he directs. Many Zimbabweans were shocked and hurt by such reckless statements from a heartless president.

Source: Mr President, All Murders Must Be Condemned And Stopped

Liberia: Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards, witches and ritualistic killers

Yesterday I elaborated on a traditional belief in trial by order in Liberia (‘sasswood’). The firm belief in people who have magical powers – wizards, witches, ritualistic killers, also native doctors and herbalists – lies at the base of what follows. The citizens of Picnicess District in Grand Kru County have asked the famous traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo for help. Reportedly, over the years, they have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. Hence their appeal to Tamba Bundo to help expose the people responsible for these unexplained disappearances and deaths.

Their appeal for help was taken seriously by highly placed government officials such as the Superintendent of Grand Kru County, Madam Doris N. Ylatun, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf, and a legislator, Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator for Grand Kru County. In one way or the other they became involved in this traditional approach to solve a security problem in the area and to remove the anxiety of the Picnicess Community.

Allegedly, Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County has witnessed between 40 and 50 mysterious deaths; among the victims we count two boys who went fishing and a Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church. If true this represents a serious security problem. Apparently, the country’s security forces have failed so far to apprehend anyone linked to one or more of the mysterious deaths or disappearances. It is important and significant to note that all three officials mentioned above have accepted the failure of regional and/or national security forces to intervene effectively.

Many questions emerge following the appeal of the Picnicess citizens. What did really happen in their community? Who were involved? Why didn’t the police arrest one or more suspects? Was there a cover-up, if yes, why, and who were (was) implicated? Of course it is very likely that it is just a coincidence, but could there be any relation with the forthcoming elections? It would not be the first time in Liberia’s history, but I wish to emphasize that this is only a theoretical thought; we have to be very prudent in pointing fingers without any substantial evidence or indication. There is no reason to suspect any particular person. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, It is a remarkable fact that the people of Picnicess District appeal to a native doctor for help to solve their security problem.

I must conclude that the citizens of Picnicess have no confidence in their government to protect them and to maintain the rule of law in their community. They prefer the protection and services of a traditional herbalist. This should be a wake-up call for the government of President George Weah, a Kru-Liberian who hails from this county. Let’s hope that this indeed will happen though for more than one reason I fear nothing will happen that will improve this sad and shameful situation (webmaster FVDK).

Herbalist Tamba Bundo

LIBERIA: Senator Coleman breaks silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess, calls on herbalist Tamba Bundo to continue his work

Published: August 27, 2020
By: Global News Network Liberia – Emmanuel S. Koffa, GNN Correspondent, Grand Kru County

Dr. Peter Coleman, Grand Kru County Senator has finally broken silence over witchcraft activities in Picnicess where a native doctor who is currently doing a cleaning up work to expose people believed to be witches and wizards who reportedly have been killing innocent people, said the County Legislative will support the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo activities in the county.

Speaking to Grandcess news on August 25 2020, Senator Coleman said, the Grand Kru County legislative Caucus acknowledged the good work of the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo, and further stressed the need for the caucus to allow Tamba Bundo to perform his detail in the county without fear and favor.

Senator Coleman further noted that, Tamba Bundo will be giving a strong support by Caucus by providing effective security protection in the execution of his duty while in the County performing his traditional mandate.

Dr. Peter Coleman, Senator for Grand Kru County

Senator Coleman statement comes in the wake of misinformation that the Grand Kru County Caucus was not in the know, and has no interest in the traditional herbalist Tamba Bundo to perform traditional activities in the County aimed at bringing relief to the people of Picnicess, and Grand Kru County in general.

He disclosed that a delegation of the national council led by former chief-wing of Grand Kru people Swen Wleh will be coming to the county in an effort to guide the traditional ordeal in Picnicess with herbalist Tamba Bundo. He however maintained that, at no time the Caucus stop the ordeal as it is being alleged in the county.  Meanwhile, Senator Coleman is asking the people of Picnicess to remain calm as all will be done to ensure that peace prevails in the fishing community.

Source: LIBERIA: Senator Coleman Breaks Silence Over Witchcraft Activities In Picnicess, Calls On Tamba Bundo To Continue His Work

Related article:

Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards and witches

Published: August 24, 2020
By: Global News Network Liberia – Cholo Brooks 

Residents of Picnicess, Grand Kru County are calling on Liberian government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow Tamba Bundo, a herbalist who was hired by citizens of the County to help expose those involved in ritualistic activities by killing innocent people through witchcraft.

Since his arrival in the county, according our Grand Kru County Correspondent, Tamba Bundo, the herbalist has been making significance improvement by exposing people believed to be wizards and witches who have reportedly led to the death of innocent people in the County.

Some of those who have been exposed as witches and wizards through the magical performances of Mr. Bundo are also demanding that he remain in the county to continue his work, and further expose the rest of their colleagues who are involved in the killing of innocent people in the county for ritualistic purposes.

Recently, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney Sirleaf announced that the ministry is not in the know of Mr. Bundo’s activities in the county, and further called on him to return to Monrovia for further interrogation.

But speaking to reporters in the county prior to the commencement of his operations, Mr. Bundo displayed documents from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to reporters which give him the authority to perform such activities at any location.

But with this latest development from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, residents of the area who spoke to GNN said they are saddened to hear that Mr. Bundo has been recalled, stressing that this move by the Minister may have been some members of the county legislative caucus who are allegedly behind such action.

Speaking to residents in the county, herbalist Bundo assured them of his return following consultation with his bosses at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, adding, “Please be patient I will come back to continue my work, don’t worry I will come back to continue my work”, Mr. Bundo told residents of the county.

Over the years, the people of Picnicess have suffered from mysterious disappearance and ritualistic acts leading to the loss of at least 56 lives. These inhumane acts have created fears in the hearts of the residents and nearby communities’ members as well as scaring away investors from developing interest to do business with that community.

This act which is becoming a culture or tradition in that part of Grand Kru County has reached an alarming stage thus leading the people of Picnicess to write a petition to the local county authority headed by Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun.

The petition which followed the disappearance of two boys who went fishing and the death of the Catechist of the St. Jude’s Catholic Church, sought justice for the inhumane and devilish acts that have been going on in that community. In the letter of petition, the community requested the presence of Herbalist Tamba Bundo to come and liberate the people of Picnicess from the hands of witches, wizards and ritualistic killers.

In an interview the county’s Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun said: “Upon receiving the letter of petition from the Picnicess Community, I immediately informed and notified my boss Minister Varney A. Sirleaf the minister of Internal Affairs, about the request of the people of Picnicess.

She continued that the notification, met the ministry’s approval of the request made by the people of Picnicess and promised to send the herbalist. The Superintendent said the arrival of the herbalist delayed because of the coronavirus Pandemic. In the interview Madam Ylatun said, on August 15, 2020, she received a letter from herbalist Bundo which is a permit letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs specifically the Traditional Council mandating Herbalist Bundo to clean and protect the Picnicess community.

As the herbalist was about to commence his operation in the county, a release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs was seen on social media dating August 17,2020 indicating that the ministry did not licensed or ordered any herbalist within or around Liberia to carry on any activity. The Press Director at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Abraham S. Kromah confirmed that the ministry has not ordered Tamba’s operation in the county; adding that an investigating team is to arrive in the county for proper and further investigation into the matter. He made the statement in an interview via mobile phone on Grandcess Radio.

This statement brought down the faces of citizens in Picnicess into total tears and sadness.

Meanwhile herbalist Bundo in an exclusive interview with a team of reporters confirmed that he was licensed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the interview, he displayed before the team of reporters the license that was given or awarded to him by the Ministry of Internal Affairs; adding that he does not have a copy of the permit as he has turned it over to the County Superintendent Madam Doris N. Ylatun.

The license shows that herbalist Tamba Bundo was licensed on the 18th day of March AD 2020, recommended by Chief Swen Wleh as well as been approved by the Chief of the Traditional Council of Liberia Chief Zanzan Karwo.

While in a mood of heartbrokenness, a three men delegation representing the Picnicess community appeared on Grandcess Radio breakfast show “Good Morning Grand Kru” on Friday August 21, 2020 to appeal to the local county authority and the county’s Legislative Caucus to help in talking or having dialogue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to grant or allow Tamba to continue his work in Picnicess and the County.

The delegation on the radio program said they foresee genocide in that community if the herbalist is not allowed to perform the traditional rite he have started adding that this might leave some families to go into extinction. They narrated that people have already started fleeing the community for fear of their lives. A member of the three men delegation commented that “What is the stance of the government into this matter as the lives of the majority in Picnicess are in danger knowing that the government is establish to protect lives and property.”

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is now left with the decision to allow Tamba Bundo to continue his operation in that part of Grand Kru County.

Credit: Grand Kru TV Online

Source: Picnicess Citizens Say Herbalist Tamba Bundo Is Doing Well By Exposing   Wizards And Witches

Related article:

Witch Doctor Arrives in Grand Kru to Settle Issue of Mysterious Deaths

Herbalist Tamba Bundoo and his materials

Published: August 19, 2020
By: The Daily Observer – Leroy M. Sonpon

Chenakaleh in Picnicess District, Grand Kru County, has witnessed mysterious deaths in recent days a Catholic Church brother, Joseph Nyenplue, totaling 40 on the 10th of July this year. To avenge the wrong on the perceived witchcrafts, people of the district have invited Witch Doctor Tamba Bundoo to challenge, and they (people) are optimistic that his intervention will ease the catastrophic situation confronting them in the district.

The Daily Observer has gathered that ‘Tamba’ was on Monday, August 17, expected to begin cleansing Chenakaleh of mysterious deaths, demonic attacks, and other sicknesses after a weekend discussion with Grand Kru County Superintendent Doris N. Ylatun and other officials.

It has been gathered that in order to avoid stigmatization and protest over the 40 persons who died over the years, Tamba has been instructed by the County Leadership to only consecrate Picnicess against any further witchcraft activities — meaning anyone who gets involved from henceforth in any witch activity after his cleansing exercise will “confess and die.”

It may be recalled that the unexplained July 10 death of the late Nyenplue caused Picnicess Community to petition the County Leadership through a protest seeking justice and nemesis.

According to reports from Picnicess, Tamba has invited the citizenry to witness his performances.

It might also be recalled that Grand Kru County Superintendent told the Daily Observerexclusively that there has been a spate of mysterious deaths of people since before her appointment at the administrative helm of the county in 2018, and recently in her tenure, at least five unexplained deaths occurred, bringing the death toll to 40.

She said killings are only done in Chenakaleh and the residents believe that not much has been done to find those behind the recent killings.  Therefore, they are demanding a witch doctor, popularly named “Tamba,” to uncover the witches and cleanse the community.

“The County Leadership has agreed to the request of Chenakaleh to cleanse the community from witchcraft activities, ” Superintendent Ylatun said.

“We are expecting Tamba in the county soon, and we are hopeful that the mysterious killing will come to an end,” said Superintendent Ylatun.

The Superintendent indicated that the first appointed commissioner of Picnicess in 2018, Tokpa Geplah, also died mysteriously.

The late Commissioner allegedly disappeared en route to his house after fishing and up to his time, his body is yet to be found.

Source: Witch Doctor Arrives in Grand Kru to Settle Issue of Mysterious Deaths

Liberia: woman dies after reportedly taking ‘sassywood’ to clear her innocence from witchcraft allegations

In Liberia, superstition is widespread. On more than one occasion I have written about this phenomenon in the West African country, Africa’s oldest republic, founded in 1847. The most recent occasion was on July 5, 2020 after a girl had been terribly tortured by her siblings who accused her of witchcraft. At the end of July another case which had actually happened in the preceding month was reported.

This time it was linked to an old ritual, trial by ordeal or ‘sassywood ordeal’ as it is called in Liberia. The Liberian government has outlawed the ‘sassywood or sasswood ordeal‘ many, many years ago, but It enacted a law that was never enforced – for various reasons. In 2009 seven people, accused of witchcraft in River Gee County, in the south of the country, died of whom two died from drinking the poison.

On Monday June 27, Sarah Togba, a woman in Gaye Town, in Grand Gedeh County, died after she ‘voluntarily’ took a ‘sassywood’ to prove her innocence after she had been accused of witchcraft causing the death of several persons. I fear that she will not be the last victim of this age-old practice of trial by ordeal, in fact a kind of mob justice. Still in the 21st century the rule of law is not applied in Liberia (webmaster FVDK).   

Liberia: Woman Dies after Reportedly Taking ‘Sassywood’ to Clear her Innocence from Witchcraft Allegations

Published: July 27, 2020
By: Front Page Africa – Lennart Dodoo 

GRAND GEDEH – A woman in Gaye town, Gbarzon District 3 in Grand Gedeh County met her untimely death on Monday, June 27 after she voluntarily took a ‘sassywood’ (trial by ordeal) to prove her innocence of allegations that she has been involved with witchcraft activities and had orchestrated the death of several persons.

Sarah Togba, according to reports gathered by FrontPageAfrica, was accused along with 13 others of being responsible for the death of one Zean Lolee Sayee who died recently in the country. He was 58 years old.

An eyewitness, Albert Thoudou, told FrontPageAfrica that Sayee’s children, during the funeral rites, confessed to being witches and claimed they knew who caused the death of their father. Sarah and 13 others were mentioned, according to the eyewitness.

He explained to FrontPageAfrica that some of those accused verbally denied the allegation, but Sarah who has on many occasions been accused of being a witch, opted to clear her name by voluntarily taking the “sasssywood”.

“By our tradition here, we have a tree in the bush we call the sassywood tree, if you shew the bark of that tree and you’re innocent, nothing will happen to you and if you’re guilty you’ll die. Sarah went into the bush and people saw her coming back with the sassywwod tree in her mouth. But she suddenly fell and died on the spot,” Thoudou explained.

He added, “I witnessed the incident, she was not forced by the elders. She decided to do it herself. She has always been accused of being a witch, so, maybe, she wanted to clear her name once and for all.”

According to him, four of the accused admitted to the allegation prior to Sarah opting for trial by ordeal. The eyewitness further disclosed that six others are on the standby to prove their innocence.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the children of the deceased who leveled the witchcraft allegation and also claimed to be witches and wizards have cautioned that unless some traditional rites are performed in the town, six other persons would die in similar fashion their father died.

Source: Liberia: Woman Dies after Reportedly Taking ‘Sassywood’ to Clear her Innocence from Witchcraft Allegations

Liberia: adolescent girl tortured, accused of witchcraft

I’ve hesitated to include the article below on this blog – partly because of the gruesome nature of the described act, partly because of the graphic description of the treatment, obviously a form of torture, which family members inflicted upon a girl they accused of witchcraft and being responsible for the death of an uncle.

Eventually I decided to reproduce the article here and to share it with a larger audience. The reason why I choose to do so is because witchcraft lies at the bottom of their repulsive behavior. This site is focusing on superstition and everything which relates to it in a criminal way: ritualistic acts, ritual murders, ‘money rituals’ (Nigeria), muti murders (in Southern Africa), and – indeed – witchcraft. The fact that the ultimate victim, a young and innocent girl, was maltreated and tortured was another reason for drawing attention to this incident. Unfortunately, rape is a daily crime in Liberia and most perpetrators get away with their crimes. In Liberia, impunity seems to be the rule, and not the rule of law.

Therefore, again a warning: the following article contains graphic details of a form of torture (webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Adolescent Girl Sodomized After Being Thrown Out for Witchcraft

Published: July 3, 2020
By: FrontPage Africa 

MONROVIA – A girl believed in her late teens has been sexually assaulted in her anus after she was thrown out of her family in Omega Tower Community on accusation on her being witchcraft.

According to a source close to the family, the incident occurred on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 night when she was asleep.

The girl (name withheld) was discovered early Wednesday morning lying helpless on the main road that links Montserrado to Margibi, crying for rescue.

Some community members felt pity for her, took her from the street, gave her food and water. They at the same time called the Women and Children Division of the Liberia National Police to take the survivor to hospital for treatment.

Her current condition has left community members blaming her family for neglecting her and throwing her out of the house after alleging that she confessed killing her 25 years old uncle (name withheld) in May of this year after a brief period of illness.           

A family source interviewed by this paper narrated that after the death of the uncle, the survivor and her partners were tortured and beaten badly on grounds that they are responsible for his death. This, according to the source, caused her mother and father to escape with her other siblings leaving her at the mercy of the family.

“During the night when her uncle died,” the eyewitness said, “that child was beaten by his family and a man who claimed to be a big man in the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) at which time they broke one of her legs.”

“After all the torture, they still threw her out of the house, they forgot to even take into consideration the danger it poses to her health, not only the aspect of rape.”  

“I do not know why people find pleasure in accusing innocent children of the act of witchcraft when, in fact, there is no way they can prove their accusations,” the eyewitness said in pity.

The eyewitness said after the death of the survivor’s uncle the family members brought a native doctor who said that girl and her partners were responsible for his death.

“After the native doctor was brought here, the family said that the girl confessed that she and her partners killed her uncle because he means them with food,” the eyewitness said.

The eyewitness expressed deep frustration in said aptitude adding that “I do not know who the man that did such a wicked act to a child in such condition.”

According to the eyewitness, the LNP Children Division was able to take the child to the hospital.

“What we are praying for now is not just the treatment of the child but an investigation being done to bring the perpetrator to justice and even the family because they were the ones who exposed her to such danger.”            

In Liberia, rape has become the order of the day with few out of many girls who have suffered such horrible acts from their male counterparts are lucky to get the needed justice.

With many perpetrators understanding that the justice system is very weak, they go ahead to sexually abused girls and walk in the street with impunity.

Source: Liberia: Adolescent Girl Sodomized After Being Thrown Out for Witchcraft

The business, science behind ritual killings

The murder of Thabelo Mazolo in Zimbabwe inspired Bruce Ndlovu, the author of the article reproduced below, to dwell on the phenomenon of ritualistic murders, muti or muthi murders as they are called in Southern Africa. The staggering details of recent murder cases in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe are shocking. The author is to be commended for his frankness to expose and discuss these heinous crimes which have no place in the 21st century.  

Warning: the following article contains many graphic details as to how these murders are committed (webmaster FVDK). 

Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The suspected ritual killer, Tawana Ngwenya (right) and his disillusioned father, Buzwani Ngwenya (left).

Published: June 21, 2020
By: Nehanda Radio – Bruce Ndlovu

“You must cut yourself and spill your blood onto a mirror,” the message to Tawana Ngwenya reportedly read. “Gaze into the mirror and say out loud that you are selling your soul for riches. After that you must open the door for my boys to go out.”

The messages, from a South African sangoma, were allegedly part of a chain of instructions to Ngwenya, messages that allegedly led him to take the life of Tawana Mazolo at Matsheumhlophe, Bulawayo.

The messages were witchcraft delivered digitally, as the unknown sangoma, from his lair somewhere in one of South Africa’s nine provinces gave Ngwenya instructions on how to spill blood and in the aftermath, prepare for a life of riches.

The details of the alleged murder are gruesome. Half of Mazolo’s body, from the waist down, was missing while her breasts and palms were cut off. On the surface, the tragic killing of Mazolo already looks like a ritual murder. The grizzly details suggest that this indeed is the case.

After all, every once in a while, the pages of publications in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries drip with the blood of innocents murdered at the altar of self-enrichment.

There was the case of Edmore Rundogo, whose dismembered remains were found in Maun, about 500km from Botswana’s second city of Francistown.

Rundogo had left his home in Lobengula West (Bulawayo) in search of a better life in Botswana. Instead of the proverbial greener pastures on the other side of the Plumtree border, he had found machete-wielding men who savagely murdered him, ripping his heart out.

The five killers also cut off his hands, feet, privates and took part of his brains. The killers, after being told by the traditional healer that had hired them that they had killed the wrong person, had then tried to burn his body.

South of the Limpopo, there was the case of 10-year-old Masego Kgomo, a schoolgirl who was still alive when Brian Mangwale ripped out her womb.

During the course of his trial for murder, Mangwale would change his story three times, a fact that the courts took as evidence that he had no remorse for his actions. In one of the three accounts he claimed that he and a group of friends had taken the young girl to a traditional healer in Soshanguve, who gave them a concoction to drink before he dragged the crying Masego into a room.

The girl was still crying when the traditional healer returned with her 10 minutes later and started sprinkling something on her body.

Mangwale claimed the medicine man had then returned with a knife and a clay pot and ordered Masego to lie down on a bed.

When she refused, she was forcibly held down while the traditional healer stabbed her in the stomach, put his hand inside her body and removed something that looked like a ball, which he put into the clay pot. He also removed her left breast.

Mangwale told the magistrate he heard the others had wrapped the child’s body in plastic and drank muthi before dumping her body in the veld on the instructions of the traditional healer.

While his testimony kept changing, the courts were convinced that Kgomo had died after meeting the nasty end of Mangwale’s knife. A life in prison sentence was handed to the killer.

Body parts are big business in Africa, but particularly in South Africa where trade in human body parts is lucrative. In the race to get rich in places like the City of Gold, Johannesburg, some believe that the key to getting their hand on all that glitters is taking a shortcut.

Many Zimbabweans, like Mazolo, can trace their gruesome ritual death to powerful sangomas south of the Limpopo. While Ngwenya was the one allegedly wielding the instrument of death when Mazolo took her last painful breath, this is not always the case.

Middle men, like in the case of Mangwale, are usually the ones that handle the dirty work. According to South African scholar Louise Vincent, certain gangs specialise in killing people for the harvesting of body parts only.

“It is believed that certain murder gangs specialise in muthi killings. Unlike human sacrifice where death is the express purpose of the act, in muthi-related killings, death is an anticipated and accepted by-product of the garnering of human organs but it is not the main aim.

Indeed, it is often preferred that the victim remain alive during the process. When body parts, including internal organs, are removed while the victim is still alive it is believed that the power of the resultant medicine will be greatly enhanced. Depending on the wants of potential customers, the instructions that the sangomas give specifics.

“Sangomas seldom do the killing themselves. The order will include not only specifications as to which particular body part or parts are required — testicles for virility purposes, fat from the breasts or abdomen for luck, tongues to smooth the path to a lover’s heart — but the very specific manner in which they are to be collected.

“The use of human body parts for medicinal purposes is based in the belief that it is possible to appropriate the life force of one person through its literal consumption by another. For this reason, a victim is often carefully chosen — not just any person’s penis as a cure for male infertility, for instance, but that of a man with several healthy children.”

Those who grew up in Zimbabwe urban areas will recall how the shadow of ritual murder has never been far off the horizon. Some, no doubt, know of the stories of businessmen who are said to have suddenly turned rich after they lost a spouse or a child. That child, or any other loved one, is assumed to be the blood sacrifice that was necessary for their businesses to turn a sudden corner.

Such perceptions of course, may be nothing but jealous rumour, but they are not helped by actual cases like that of Robert Tazvireva, a bottle store and general dealership owner in Magunje who allegedly instructed Samuel Mushonga in 2017 to murder his own sister so he could enhance his business.

After Mushonga had allegedly fatally stabbed his sister and hacked off her head, he delivered it to Tazvireva who told him to hide it in a nearby bush. Such instances, have helped convince many that businesspeople profit from the spilling of blood.

“‘If the business is not doing well, get a boy or a girl’s head — someone who has a future — and your business will have a future too,” said Dr Gordon Chavunduka time president of the Zimbabwean Traditional Healers Association, once said.

Those who grew up in Bulawayo in the late 90s will remember the myth of men who reportedly drove around the city with a blood sucking frog, looking for unsuspecting victims to profit from.

While such urban legends have never been confirmed, they are an entertaining reminder that people live on the constant lookout for people trying to profit off their ritual sacrifice.

“I recall vividly growing up in one township in Zimbabwe. This was just when public transport in the form of the Toyota Hiace taxi had just been introduced in the country,” says Fanuel Hadzidzi of Gender Links.

“At that tender age, we were scared to death by the stories doing the rounds in the township of the disappearance of children. We were told how kids were being lured by strangers who promised them some sweets.

“The next thing, their bodies would be found in the bushes with some body parts missing. Rumours were that businesspeople were taking the children’s heads for instance to Durban in South Africa and were trading them off for the taxis. Weren’t we all scared!”

With claims of human body parts sold by vendors on the streets of South Africa and other countries, it may be a long time before ritual killings lose their lustre to those trying to make a quick dollar.

Source: Murder economy: The business, science behind ritual killings

The Limpopo River Basin (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe). Source map: The Economist

Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is).
However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.

The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued  by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Published: April 13, 2020
By: Global Sisters report – Doreen Ajiambo

GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.

“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.

One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.

The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.

Screenshot of the GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana (credit: Doreen Ajiambo). Click on the picture in the original article (see source below) to watch the video.

The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.

“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”

Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”

Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.

“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”

Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.

“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”

The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.

“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”

Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.

“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.

“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”

However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.

“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”

A child stands outside her mother’s hut house at Gushegu camp. Her mother was accused of killing her husband. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Source: Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Districts in Northern Ghana (in the northeast: Gushiegu District)

Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice (Uganda)

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

Police at the demolished shrine where bodies were recovered in Kisoga Village, Kayunga District in September 2018. PHOTO BY FRED MUZAALE 

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.

Source: Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders

DRC: witchcraft horror sees teen attacked and accused of sorcery by own family

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.

Gabrielle shows scares on her head after she was beaten and accused of being a witch (Image: simon murphy)

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.”

Source: Witchcraft horror sees teen attacked and accused of sorcery by own family