Warning: The following article contains graphic details of a violent criminal act.
At first sight one is tempted to think of yet another case of ritual murder in Liberia, as the article reads: ‘(…) the mutilated body of little Saah Momo was discovered in the home of his grandfather in Bomi County.’ It occurred early this year, in January.
It is known that in a large number of ritual murder cases relatives are involved – as traditionally this is part of the ritual to create or obtain ‘juju’, the spiritual power which perpetrators seek to increase their wealth, power or social prestige. However, it is not plainly stated by the police and in the article – as it is often the case – that this is about a ritual killing. In Liberia, police and journalists don’t mince their words when reporting on ritual murder cases.
The Liberian National Police arrested six persons in connection with the violent death of the 2-year old boy, Saah Momo, including the mother and an uncle of the victim. The deceased’s uncle testified in court that he had murdered his nephew upon the order of the child’s mother. Allegedly, she was motivated to have her son murdered for financial gains: she wanted to sell his organs. It has not been revealed with whom the suspects wished to trade body parts with.
Was the violent death of little Saah Momo a case of organ trafficking or another case of ritualistic murder?
Some countries in the region, e.g. Nigeria, are notorious for murders committed by criminals who wish to harvest human organs in order to sell them – albeit for ritualistic purposes to superstitious people who believe that in this way, with ‘juju’, they can increase their wealth, success in business or in politics. These murders in Nigeria and Ghana are often committed by so-called Yahoo Boys and the criminal acts are locally known as ‘money rituals’.
In Liberia, murder cases for purposes of organ trafficking are far less widespread but since – by definition – these dark activities take place in secret, we don’t know on what scale they happen.
In short, the article is not clear whether the murder of little Saah Momo was a case of ritualistic murder or of organ trafficking. However, in both cases there is a clear ritualistic component as organ trafficking is not carried out with the purpose of organ transplantation, aiming to improve a patient’s health, but to sell organs to superstitious people and ‘juju’ men who wish to use human body parts for ritualistic purposes. (webmaster FVDK)
Liberia: Two Convicted for butchering a 2-year-old boy in Bomi County
Published: May 23, 2023 By: Rachel T. Saykiamien – The Daily Observer, Liberia
Jurors at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Bomi County have brought down a unanimous guilty verdict against two men who brutally murdered a two-year-old boy, Saah Momo, in Zealey, Dowein District, Bomi County.
The verdict followed a final argument in court by both prosecution and defense lawyers on May 23, 2023.
Defendants Momo Gray, the uncle of the deceased child, and his brother and father of the child,, Siafa Gray, were found guilty of murder; a first-degree felony under the law. In February of this year, the two were indicted by the grand jury of Bomi County for their involvement in the murder of Saah Momo.
On May 10, Momo Gray, the accused uncle of the two-year-boy, pleaded guilty to the crime of murder after his appearance at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court, while the father of the boy, Siaffa Gray, pleaded not guilty.
From the beginning, several individuals, including the mother and grandparents, were arrested but released after it was established that they had no hand in the act. However, the uncle and father, who played a major role in butchering the boy, were charged and tried in court.
On May 23, 2023, defendants Momo Gray and Siafa Gray were found guilty of murder; a crime that contravenes Chapter 14 Subchapter 14.1 of the penal code law of Liberia. Under the law, a person who is convicted of such a crime may be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
A pre- sentencing hearing is expected to take place before the defendants are convicted.
Judge T. Ciapha Carey has ordered the clerk of the court to inform the probation officer of the Ministry of Justice to investigate the lives of the defendant’s prior to the incident. This is done to ascertain if the defendants were law abiding citizens or had stayed out of trouble prior to the crime.
In January, the mutilated body of little Saah Momo was discovered in the home of his grandfather in Bomi County. The Liberia National Police (LNP) arrested the deceased’s uncle and five other persons in connection to the death of the child.
Those arrested were Momo Gray, Siaffa Gray, Cooper Ross, Satta Wonda, the mother of the deceased, and Omacy Nyei.
At the time, police established that all of the suspects committed the act for financial gain and were subsequently brought to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police to be questioned. But the police failed to state whether their investigation discovered who these suspects were trading body parts with. However, four people, including the deceased’s mother and grandparents, were set free.
Defendant Momo Gray, the uncle of the deceased, taking the witness stand and testifying on his behalf on May 19, admitted to murdering his nephew, but alleged that he acted upon the order of the child’s mother; whom he said was encouraged to have her son killed in order to sell the major organs for money due to hardship.
This posting is not about a particular ritual murder but it certainly is about ritual killing, in Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic founded in the first half of the 19th century by African-American colonists.
As I have previously stated here and elaborated multiple times on the motives of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, today’s ritual murders are 100% criminal acts uniquely aiming personal gains. In Liberia’s history we’ve repeatedly noted a surge in ritualistic killings in times of political tension and during election campaigns. For this reason, the last paragraph of the article presented below contains a remarkable observation. It was written by Edward H. Stemn, Maryland County correspondent of one of Liberia’s best newspapers, the Daily Observer.
Maryland County, in south-eastern Liberia, is notoriously-known for its ritualistic killings. On more than one occasion I’ve drawn attention to this fact. Therefore I will not dwell on it now.
Edward Stemn’s observation is almost casual but it is revealing. For this reason I’ve decided to include the article and share it with you (webmaster FVDK).
Liberia: Police Charge Teenagers for ‘Corpse Abuse’ in Maryland County
Published: May 10, 2023 By: Edward H. Stemn, Maryland County corespondent – Daily Observer
The Liberia National Police have charged three teenage boys in Maryland with “abuse of corpse.”
According to the LNP report, the township commissioner of Hoffman Station, Harper City, arrested and turned over to the police station three children for allegedly digging a corpse from a grave in a cemetery.
The police report, established through investigation, revealed that the teenagers broke into a grave and took up the corpse, brought the skull to town, and started to scare people in the community.
“It was during the process of instilling fear in the community that they were arrested and brought to the police station for investigation,” the police report disclosed.
Following their arrest, police said the boys admitted to the act when queried by LNP officers.
Those arrested and turned over to the police are Hilary Prowd, 13; Alphonso Nevis, 13; and George Sartee, 15 — all residents of Hoffman Station.
The three male teenagers are currently in police custody.
During the police investigation, the three suspects, in separate accounts, said the human skull in their possession was not meant for any ritualistic purpose.
George Satia, giving his account of their actions, said that, on May 6, after eating with his colleagues at night, they paid a visit to a graveyard in Hoffman Station and suddenly discovered that a human skull was seen outside one of the graves.
“We got through eating and left our house to at least play outside, but since the graveyard is not too far from us, we planned to go there and sit and lecture,” Satia told the investigators.
“While going close to the grave, we saw the human skull, and that is how we went closer and removed it from the hole, carried it outside of the graveyard, and kept it in the bathroom to scare our friends with it,” he explained.
For his part, Alphonso Nevis stated that the skull was brought out of the graveyard to scare their peers and not for anything negative.
The action of the teenagers has created fear amongst residents of Hoffman Station township, as many believe that the action of the kids might be for ritualistic and political reasons as Liberia fast approaches the legislative and presidential elections in October.
The following article contains an interesting glimpse into a micro-world of superstition, murder – ritual murder – , traditional practices and social codes. It also shows that the phenomenon of ritualistic killings is old. Even before the cited 1982 case these traditional, criminal and revolting practices occurred in Zimbabwe (as in other countries).
Hence, so far no news. But isn’t it time that these ancient practices disappear? There’s no place for ritualistic murders and related crimes in the 21st century. (webmaster FVDK)
Stranger Than Fiction – Body Parts Retrieved 41yrs Later
Published: April 2, 2023 By: ZWNEWS
THE popularly used ‘stranger than fiction’ phrase was brought to life this afternoon in Mutasa after the alleged private parts of a man who was allegedly murdered for rituals 41 years ago were retrieved from under a disused shop.
When The Manica Post news crew arrived, hundreds of villagers in Maondo Village and other neighbouring villages under Chief Mutasa had come out in their numbers to witness the retrieval of private parts, eyes and tongue which were alleged to the late Tukai Kujeke’s from the Dangarembwa shop at Maondo Business Centre.
Kujeke was allegedly murdered in 1982 and buried with missing body parts.
It is alleged that he was murdered by Oneday Manyarara and James Dangarembwa, who are both now late and whose families appeased Kujeke’s avenging spirit with seven cattle each this afternoon.
Led by Nyanga traditional healer, Sekuru Shingirai Mukotsanjera, the retrieval team found the parts in a small calabash, about two metres deep just outside the Dangarembwa shop.
Afterwards, the body parts were taken to the cemetery where Kujeke’s body was buried and were also placed in his grave to rest with his body.
The shop, which has been unused for years, is alleged to have been haunted by the late Kujeke’s spirit since the 80s.
There’s another reason for bringing this arrest of four suspected ritual murderers to your attention.
The saying ‘History is repeating itself’ seems to be applicable here.
Also in 2016 news media reported the arrest of four suspected ritual murderers. Below the Reuters article describing the incident. However, the full text of the saying is ‘History is repeating itself. The second time as a tragedy’.
Unfortunately, this is applicable too. (webmaster FVDK)
Zambia police arrest four suspects for ritual murders that sparked riots
Zambia police arrest four suspects for ritual murders that sparked riots
Published: May 10, 2016 By: Reuters staff
LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia police said on Tuesday four suspects have been arrested in connection with a string of grisly ritual murders in the southern African nation’s capital that triggered anti-foreign riots targeting mostly Rwandan migrants in April.
The arrested suspects are two army soldiers, a civilian employee of the Zambian Air Force and a traditional doctor, police said. They were to appear in court Tuesday afternoon charged with seven counts of murder.
“All the murders which the accused have been charged with were committed in a similar manner by crushing the left side of the head, removing body parts and later dumping the deceased near their homes,” police said in a statement.
Police said in April that the victims had ears, hearts and genitals removed, raising suspicion of ritual killings.
Human body parts are sometimes used in traditional remedies and concoctions in southern Africa. The practice is linked to witchcraft beliefs.
Zambia hosts thousands of refugees from neighboring countries, especially Rwanda and Burundi, but relations between the communities are usually peaceful.
Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia
The following article is highly recommended reading, excellent work by Victor Ayeni!
In Nigeria, nearly every day ‘money rituals’ are reported, maybe not surprising in view of the country’s large population of well over 200 million people – Africa’s largest – even though just one ritual murder is already one too much. However, on the other hand, it could well be that the cases known and reported are only the tip of an iceberg.
But what do we know about ‘money rituals’, as ritual murders are being called in this part of the African continent? Most articles reporting on these crimes, which are driven by greed – for power, prestige or wealth – and based on superstition, are superficial. It is hard to find an article which treats this phenomenon in depth and in a serious way. The Nigerian journalist Victor Ayeni has done a great job and he’s to be commended for this achievement.
The traditional history of ritualistic killings and human sacrifices point to protection of the community’s interest by sacrificing one of its members. Cruel as this might be in our eyes nowadays, in the 21st century, back then relatives of the victim may have been proud of their family member’s contribution to the community. We see nowadays in many parts of the African continent that the ritualistic act which demands the death of the victim is for the (pretended, aimed) benefit of one person only who thus wants to increase his or her power, wealth or health. Moreover, the victim is often picked at random. Involuntary, the victim is attacked and tortured, what results is a gruesome, a wicked crime. Sometimes, specific groups are targeted, e.g. people with albinism, hunchbacks or bald people.
In some countries ambitious politicians tend to resort to these practices in the hope of increasing their political chances and success, resulting an increase in ritual murders during election campaigns. It’s a shocking reality – even though we don’t known the full scale of it.
‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria show another characteristic: some people consider it a business model, which enables them to ‘earn’ money from superstitious people who believe that by using another man’s organs or other body parts, ‘juju’ will be created, to their personal benefit.
Victor Ayeni explains well how this works in Nigeria. A very informative article which ends with the question ‘Are money rituals real or a fiction?’
The reader may answer this question for him- or herself after reading Ayeni’s valuable article. (webmaster FVDK)
Money ritual seekers’ dark walk into deceit, misery
VICTOR AYENI explores the subject of money ritual in popular culture, religious houses, and Nollywood movies, why the purveyors of the belief succeed in deceiving youths, and its implications on the public
The apprehension in the air was so thick that one could cut through it with a knife as Olajide (surname withheld) narrated his journey through a maze of confusion.
The 27-year-old graduate was helping a friend manage a pig farm in Osogbo, Osun State, when another friend introduced him to Internet scam, which in Nigerian lingo is called Yahoo Yahoo.
But his experience shocked the wits out of him.
“I was being paid N10,000 per month at the farm, but the money couldn’t meet my needs as time went on, so a friend of mine bought me an iPhone and from there, I was introduced to Yahoo Yahoo.
“I started off on a neutral ground and I was getting little money from my clients (victims), but after like three months into it, things became so tough that I couldn’t fend for myself again. I explained my situation to a friend and he took me to an Alfa (cleric),” Olajide recalls, shaking his head in disbelief.
This Alfa was known in Yahoo boys’ circles to be adept in the art of money magic – an occult economy that involves the performance of rituals to supernaturally conjure money.
Abode of fear
When Olajide described his financial difficulties to the Alfa, he was given two options.
“Alfa said he would help me out with small osole. I asked what he meant by that and he explained that osole (spiritual assistance) is different from oso (human body parts).
“Alfa told me oso required the use of human parts for material wealth with repercussions such as untimely death or insanity, whereas osole required the use of plants and animals for the same purpose but with lesser repercussions like being poor. I opted for osole,” he added.
Olajide was instructed to pay a sum of N12,000 into the cleric’s bank account for the materials and return in four days.
Five days later, when Olajide put a call through to the Alfa, he was asked to return for the materials.
He said, “When I got there, he gave me a small black soap and told me to find small palm oil and go to a flowing river to bathe that I had to cleanse myself first before I would use the materials.
“He explained to me that the soap was made with pepper mixed with some herbs and directed me to rub the palm oil on my body first before bathing with the soap. He warned that if I didn’t use the palm oil first, I was going to disappear and I would not be seen again. So, I did as I was told.”
Olajide said he complied with all the instructions.
“When I went back to him, he gave me three different materials: a soap to bath with every morning by 4am, a potion which I must swallow daily after taking my bath, and a powdery mixture to be licked every night before I go to bed.
“He said the herbal concoction was made from animals like crow, chameleon, cat, pigeon, and some leaves. He also told me that I would experience more hardship during the first two or three months of using the ritual materials, but I should endure it because after that, the tide will turn and money will be flowing in from my clients,” he added.
The idea of recipients conjuring money through magic is a familiar theme in many Nigerian films and religious houses.
Whether through animal sacrifices or trafficking in human parts, it is erroneously believed that these rites bring stupendous wealth to those who practice them.
When our correspondent inquired from Olajide if the magic worked, and in what specific ways the money came to him, he was silent.
When he spoke, he recalled faithfully following all the instructions given to him, but for the next two months, as the cleric predicted, he experienced serious financial hardship.
At this point, he said his friend introduced him to a client (victim), who had been defrauded several times.
Olajide then began to siphon money from the victim.
The inexplicable ease with which his ‘client’ gave him money implied that he (client) had been hypnotised.
“I ended up getting plenty money from this client. The cleric had assured me of having lots of money from osole, but he advised me to return to him for an upgrade of the ritual by paying N450,000, saying I would be making millions of naira after using the alleged ‘upgraded’ soap.
“But I didn’t go back because I asked my friend who took me there about what the new upgrade entails since that was what he did, and he warned me sternly against it because of the repercussions behind it.
“He said once I bathe with the ‘upgraded’ soap the cleric would prescribe, I could only wear the clothes and shoes I had and I must not change them for the next two years,” he added.
Four months after he dabbled in osole, Olajide realised that his fortunes began to dwindle as reality pulled the plug on his gravy train.
He said, “Things suddenly turned sour after four months. The client I was getting money from was arrested and ended up in jail and I no longer had any financial link. I ended up becoming more broke than before.
“My friend found me another client but I ended up wasting money rather than gaining some. Then, I was taken to another voodoo practitioner. This one said he would perform a ritual for me but one of its conditions was that I must never have sex with more than one girlfriend for the next three years and if I did otherwise, I would run mad.
“It was then I decided to withdraw from this stuff and went back into teaching for some time. Later on, I was introduced to the crypto business that I now do.”
The poverty factor
The belief in gaining wealth through mystical practices has gained much appeal over the decades in Nigeria with the exponential rise in poverty and lack of equal economic opportunities, especially for young people.
According to the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index Survey released by the National Bureau of Statistics, 63 per cent of Nigerians, which account for 133 million citizens, are multi-dimensionally poor due to a lack of access to health, education, living standards, employment, and security.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria has not only increased constantly in the past years, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has also projected that the country’s unemployment rate will hit 37 per cent in 2023.
However, investigations by Saturday PUNCH showed that many Nigerians fervently believe that they can make a lot of money regardless of the dire economic situations in the country through a supernatural supply of money.
In Nigeria, there are various tales around wealth creation that foster the concept of one becoming rich through the manipulation of metaphysical forces in nature.
Among the Yoruba, South-West Nigeria, there is the aworo phenomenon that is believed to draw large patronage to a trader in a marketplace.
There is also awure (wealth booster) which can be prepared as a traditional soap or concoction.
Research shows that many Nigerians plank their belief in money rituals on mostly unverified reports.
This has drawn many into desperate measures, including taking the lives of close family members and friends.
In December 2021, a suspected Internet fraudster from Edo State, identified only as Osas, allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Elohor Oniorosa, for ritual purposes.
In November 2022, another Yahoo boy, alongside his herbalist, one Ike, aka Ogenesu, was arrested after policemen recovered suspected human parts at the herbalist’s place in Obiaruku, in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.
But Ogun State appeared to have the highest number of reported incidents of such killings.
For instance, the state recorded at least 15 cases of ritual killings between January 2022 and 2023.
In January, the Ogun State Police Command arrested a 36-year-old herbalist, Taiwo Ajalorun, who reportedly confessed to the gruesome killing of a 26-year-old mother of two and two others in the Ijebu Ode area of the state.
On December 28, 2022, in the Ijebu-Ode area of the state, a gang reportedly killed three women, including a girlfriend of one of them, after sleeping with her.
In February 2022, two suspected criminals who were alleged to be ritualists were set ablaze by an angry mob for being in possession of human parts in Oja-Odan in the Yewa-North Local Government Area of the state.
Also, in October 2022, two suspected Internet fraudsters allegedly killed a 40-year-old man, Abdullahi Azeez, in Owode-Egba.
But probably the most pathetic was that of some teenagers who were caught burning the head of a female, Sofia, whom they killed for money ritual in the Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta.
One of the teenagers, Soliu Majekodunmi, who was Sofia’s boyfriend, said in January 2022 that he learnt the practice through Facebook.
Majekodunmi said he typed, ‘How to make money ritual’ on Facebook and got the details, adding that the link instructed him to behead and burn a female skull in a local pot.
Shaman or sham man?
Our correspondent found many Facebook accounts and groups created for seekers of money rituals.
Most of the social media pages had photographs of new naira notes placed in African traditional pots, calabashes, and cowrie-strewn bags, and some showed animal blood splattered on the ground around them.
Posing as a school teacher, our correspondent reached out to one of the acclaimed shamans, Babatunde (surname withheld), who resided in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State.
In his response, he introduced his shrine as the ‘Arab Money Family’ and sent his phone number to our correspondent.
In a rather confident tone, Babatunde said, “If you are ready, even if it is this night, you will pay me and I will get the materials ready to start the ritual work for you. Most of my ritual work is done overnight and by tomorrow, it will be completed and your money will come out.
“You will send me your bank account, photograph, and full name, and you will be receiving money in your account. You will be receiving cash thrice every two weeks.”
When our correspondent inquired whether it is spirits that would be sending the money, he interjected in a mildly exasperated tone, “Listen, I will prepare the money here in my shrine and the money will be entering your account.”
He sent his ritual material price list and asked our correspondent to select the amount of money he wishes to receive in his bank account.
The list says, “N15,500 for N200,000; N20,000 for N300,000; N30,500 for N500,000; N50,000 for N1million; N75,000 for N5million; N90,000 for N20million; and N120,000 for N50 million.”
When our correspondent selected “N20,000 for N300,000,” he reiterated that his brand of ‘money magic’ utilises native materials instead of human blood.
“I make money without human blood and I only make use of native materials. I only make use of materials called ‘Cash of Hope’ and the ‘Money Drawer Oil.’
“Mind you, my work does not require any side effects or human being blood for sacrifice or repercussions, okay? Never say never to the high spirit.
“You don’t need to travel down for the ritual; I will just send them to you and you will get your money, but you must come down to my shrine with a token of appreciation for my work, any amount your heart chooses,” Babatunde added.
When the reporter complained about being unable to afford the cost of the ritual material, the magician urged him to find the money by any means possible and contact him when ready.
Babatunde was also observed to regularly post videos on his Facebook and WhatsApp statuses featuring ‘clients’ who claim to have acquired money through his rituals but the veracity of their claims could not be confirmed.
The second acclaimed money magician, who resides in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, goes by the Facebook name, Iya Ifa Bomi.
In this case, our correspondent posed as a greenhorn ‘Yahoo boy’ and asked her for spiritual assistance in order to obtain money from his ‘clients.’
She said, “You mean you are talking to your clients and they are not giving you money? I can perform a ritual for you and it will involve the use of big Titus fish, pepper, and some fresh leaves, but it will cost you N25,000.
“When you have the money, you can come to Ogbomoso and pick up the materials. I will prepare them for you. I have done this for many Yahoo boys like you and they all come back to testify that their clients are cooperating although some of them are ingrates. We also have some of us who do this work who are scammers and have made people not trust our works.”
Another cleric contacted by our correspondent, Alfa Abdulmumeen Aremu, advertised himself as a practitioner of “money rituals for engineers, contractors, business owners and ‘Yahooboys.’”
He first demanded a sum of N2,000 and told our correspondent to send his full name and his mother’s name for spiritual consultation before he could recommend osole to him.
In a voice note, he explained, “There are different types of osole and I perform them for people like you, so don’t worry, I am adept in this work. Send me those things first and I will do some consultations to know your destiny in five minutes and I will revert to you.”
Our correspondent sent him a pseudonym along with the name of his late grandmother.
After some minutes, Aremu sent a voice note saying, “I can see you have a very bright destiny but you have some enemies. They are divided into two: some from your family and others from your workplace.
“You will cook ritual meals like rice and semo with tasty stew and give them to the children in your community. They will eat it with relish, and some of them will go to sleep. After you do that, you will be spiritually clean and we can proceed to the next stage.”
A student of Business Administration, Kazeem Akinpelu, says money rituals are real.
“If they have not been working, people will no longer be practicing them. I grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State, and I know of a market where they sell human parts at night.
“The people selling in this particular market practice voodoo and they are patronised by those who perform money rituals. There was also one time the body parts of a lynched motorcyclist here in Ibadan were used by ritualists,” he added.
However, a civil servant, Nnamdi Okeke, dismissed money rituals as a fantasy that existed only in the realm of make-believe.
“Well, I have not come across any money rituals and I haven’t thought of doing such either. I don’t believe there is anything like ‘blood money.’
“Someone can watch a film and tell you the story, but no cult will tell you what to bring if you have not passed through their ranks, and that is if such things exist, because I don’t believe in them. The question is, the person who wants to make you rich, why is he poor and even why are their children not rich?” he asked.
Similarly, a medical scientist, Mike Okechukwu, said the whole concept of ritual killing boiled down to superstition.
“People would believe what they want to believe to obtain money. Desperate people will employ desperate measures. For me though, I don’t think ritual killings are effective; I have not seen any proof to make me believe so. It all boils down to superstition,” he stated.
But a sales representative, who gave her name as Judith for security reasons, said she once dated a man whom she believed was involved in such rituals.
She said, “I was dating this Yahoo-Yahoo guy and one day, I visited him unannounced and found that he didn’t want me to go inside his room. He was just acting weird that day.
“But while I stood at the door, he didn’t know I saw a native pot placed on the floor. From that day on, I began to suspect him and that was what made me leave him eventually because I don’t want anybody to use me for money rituals.”
Money ritual mirage
Commenting on popular beliefs about money rituals, a Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Lagos State University, Danoye Oguntola-Laguda, said herbalists appeal to Internet scammers for pecuniary gain.
He said, “My experience is that there is nothing called money rituals. What many people mistake for money rituals is the prayer for getting rich. That could definitely involve some sacrifices of animals or birds or cooking for the whole community (saara) which brings the blessing of feeding multitudes and people may not be able to determine how you become rich.
“I don’t want to say that those who believe in osole or perform oso are wrong because there are a lot of myths that point in that direction, but if you ask many of them to tell you or show you the real thing, you will see that they have nothing to show.
“I want to say that most of these traditionalists do not even know that those who consult them are ‘Yahoo boys.’ They just see them as people seeking a way to be rich and they do a ritual, pray for them and tell them to go and kill one goat. The babalawos are also human beings who have families to feed so when they see a victim with such a proposal, they grab it with both hands.”
Oguntola-Laguda also explained the difference between religious practice and occultism.
“Religion is experiential; it is about your experience. If I tell you that prayer doesn’t work, it’s because I tried it and it didn’t work and if I tell you that it works, it’s because I tried it and it worked for me.
“There is a need to separate occultism from religious practices. Occultism is the appropriation of spiritual agents, who in most cases are negative, and it’s not limited to African traditional religion; it is something that cuts across the board.
“Many religious people appropriate these negative spiritual agents for these money rituals and power to be able to do things that are extraordinary, like the power to be able to tell the sun to go down or to tell the rain to stop.
“So, it is occult people that will tell you that they will make you rich and invite a spiritual agent to do that for you but they always come with a price and that is what many people have come to call oso or osole.
“In the past, in Yoruba traditional society, the wizard who is called oso doesn’t mean he is rich but has power appropriated through spiritual agents that he deploys for good or evil of society,” he added.
Nollywood magical realism
The scenarios of materially wealthy people enmeshed in sinister rituals and pacts with spirits, is a recurring theme in Nollywood plots.
Findings by Saturday PUNCH revealed that whether in the predominantly Muslim North or the largely Christian South, many religious Nigerians believe in the reality of an unseen world, and the fictive representations from Nollywood plots have heavily shaped their perceptions of reality.
A Nollywood screenwriter, Mr Abiola Omolokun, argued that the depictions of money rituals in films are a true representation of Yoruba culture.
He said, “First, I don’t write such stories, but they are true representations of reality. Money rituals are real and are reflected in our cultural beliefs; they are not fiction.
“We tell a story just to teach morals and make people see things differently. Our stories make them know that for every action, there are consequences.
“Through our movies, we teach that patience is a virtue that youths need to walk on the right path, and in due time, with hard work and perseverance, everything will lead to success.”
However, a researcher in African Studies, Akin Faleye, contended that such stories lack historical precedent and are fraudulent.
“As a student of global history, I will say that there is no evidence that the Yoruba practised money rituals in the pre-colonial time. All these stories of money rituals are fraudulent and emanated from psychopaths rather than people with some actual spiritual knowledge of how to make money,” he stated.
Money rituals in other cultures
In some other cultures, what could be termed as money rituals are often symbolic acts or dramas that appeal to psychological and cosmic powers through an application of symbolic structures.
In Ireland, there is a tradition of taking a piece of straw from the nativity scene/crib in the church at Christmas and keeping it in your purse or wallet, which is believed to bring financial prosperity throughout the year.
An Indian author, Suresh Padmanabhan, in his work, I Love Money, devoted a chapter to ‘Money rituals’ and wrote, “Take a currency note in your hand and wish it ‘Good morning.’ “Express gratitude to your wallet, accounts book, cash box, bank passbook, or any other tools connected directly to money. Smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself when you perform a task well.”
Some practitioners in western traditions also perform what they define as money spells/rites, which involve the invocation of spirits and archangels, drawing ritual circles, erecting a temple and an altar, and presenting offerings to ancient deities.
However, these rituals are often believed and practiced by religious groups on the fringes and are based on cultural paradigms that only allow clearly defined routes of financial access through hard work, lucrative business, and clever exploitation of market gaps.
Lamenting the lack of profitable skills available to Nigerian youths, a United Kingdom-based personal development coach, Mr Toyyib Adelodun, highlighted the need for popular magical ideas about money to be refuted.
“Nigerian youths need to understand that money is a unit of account to measure, therefore the more value you produce for the community, the richer you are supposed to be. So, the first thing a young person should seek is education and skills to earn money.
“Money is always circulating in an economy. It is the Central Bank of Nigeria that prints money, it doesn’t come from anywhere else. We saw a practical example of this recently when the CBN embarked on the naira redesign and there wasn’t enough money in circulation. So, there is no magic that is going to bring money from anywhere unless you offer your skills as a person of value.
“I have been to several countries in the world and I can see that money only comes from value creation. Unfortunately, Nigerian youths are not equipped with the relevant skills; we just go to religious houses to pray and sit back at home and don’t market skills or deliver an excellent service in order to generate wealth. We don’t have to resort to crimes,” he said.
Clerics urge re-orientation
A Senior Pastor at Christ Life Church, Ibadan, Prof. Wale Coker, told Saturday PUNCH the youth need a re-orientation that would see them embrace a new value system other than the present mad rush to become wealthy overnight.
“The scriptures state that ‘wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, but he that gathers by labour shall increase’. Youths should be encouraged to walk in the fear of God which is the beginning of wisdom,” he added.
The National Missioner of the Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, Shiekh, Abdur-Rahman Ahmad, stated, “All those who claim to be Muslims and Alfas that are involved in money rituals know within their hearts that they are doing something wrong and deceiving people.
“The reality is that there is no money ritual. It is not only against the letter and spirit of the laws of Islam but also against human conscience. Islam recognises only three sources of legitimate wealth: direct labour or hard work, inheritance, and a legitimate gift and this doesn’t mean a Greek gift or bribe or something induced.”
On her part, a traditionalist, Omitonade Ifawemimo, said, “There is no shortcut in Isese (traditional spirituality). If you don’t work, you won’t be wealthy. Nollywood and the fantasy it creates bears responsibility for the concept of money rituals.
“Human sacrifice for money rituals does not exist in Isese. It is fake, madness, and a scam! It’s tragic that Yoruba movies have messed up people’s thinking into believing all these lies.”
Warning: the following article contains graphic details and may shock readers (webmaster FVDK)
Missing 4 Year Old Found Dead With Missing Body Parts
Published: March 9, 2023 By: UniqueGracee – Opera News, Nigeria
The dead body of a 4 year old boy identified as Eleazar Ishiya, was found in a Manhole in Jabi area, Abuja. It was reported that he was declared missing three days ago at Filing Ball, Jabi Daki Biyu.
According to an eye witness identified as Joel Joseph, Eleazar’s grandmother attempted to jump into the hole when she found out her grandson’s body was inside. Luckily she was held and pushed out of the hole, it was Joseph that jumped into the hole and brought out the boys corpse.
When the little boy was brought out of the hole, his body was already rotten. It was also discovered that he was missing some vital organs, his genitals and tongue were cut off while his eyes were plugged out.
From the state of the young boy’s body, it was evident that it was a ritual killing and the killers had dumped his body in the pit after killing him at night.
Mrs Precious Ishaya who is the boy’s Mother described the little boy as being smart, he was also the only child of his parents. She explained that the day he went missing, he was about to bath but instead he decided to go out to by sweets from their neighbors shop and he went missing.
The Mother explained that it was not the death of her son that hurt her the most, but it was the horrible way he died that hurt her the most. She said that she doesn’t know who did such a thing to her child but she rests the case to God.
She also said she did not have the courage to look at the body of her son when he was found dead, it was later that she managed to look at his dead body in pictures.
Source: Daily Trust
Content created and supplied by: UniqueGracee (via Opera News )
Leo Igwe does not need any introduction. Multiple times I have posted articles on this indefatigable human rights champion. See e.g. my October 25, 2021 posting.
The belief in witchcraft and the weak rule of law in many African countries contribute to mob justice (or ‘jungle justice’ as this popular act is also called) and lynchings of perceived witches. In Kenya e.g., as in many other African countries, mob justice is criminal. Nevertheless, up to five incidents are reported (!) weekly in this East African country. The reader may guess what happens in other African countries… (FVDK).
Witchcraft Persecution and Advocacy without Borders in Africa
Published: March 3, 2023 By: This Day – Nigeria
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges Africans to campaign against abuses linked to witchcraft beliefs everywhere. This call follows the rescue of Nigerian nationals, who were accused of witchcraft in Kenya. As reported, the police rescued these Nigerians in Thika Town in Kiambu County. It was stated that an angry mob beat and almost lynched them while they were performing some rituals. These Nigerians claimed that they were conducting some prayers. It was not stated the kind of prayers that they were conducting. The police intervened, resisted the mob, and took these nationals, who sustained some injuries, to a nearby hospital.
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches commends the Kenya police for intervening and rescuing these foreign nationals. As in many parts of Africa, witchcraft accusation is a killer phenomenon, and a death sentence. These foreign nationals were fortunate. Police rescued them. In many instances, the police arrive late, after the damage has been done.
Recently, Kenya recorded incidents of witch persecution and killing. Last week, two elderly women, accused of witchcraft, were lynched in Murang’a County. There is still no information regarding the arrest and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of this heinous crime. In other African countries, such as Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, accusations of witchcraft and witch persecution take place. Alleged witches have been attacked, killed, or banished. However, in most cases, locals are the target.
People often accuse members of their neighbors, members of their family or community. This incident draws attention to the fact that foreigners are also at risk of being accused. Africans should look beyond their borders in advocating against witchcraft-linked violations. People often demonize strange and unfamiliar prayer and ritual forms. They regard them as evil, as invocations of occult harm. African Christians and Muslims have been indoctrinated to demonize, occultize and witchcraftize religious others, especially traditional religions or any ritual forms that deviate from religion, as they know it.
As this incident has illustrated, those who conduct prayers and rituals that depart from local norms are at risk of being accused of witchcraft and evil magic. Witchcraft accusation is a threat to the lives of Africans everywhere. Africans should not look the other way as alleged witches are attacked and killed in other countries. They should know that everyone is at risk of being accused or killed for witchcraft, whether you are a local or a foreigner. Africans should strive to advocate against witchcraft accusations and witch persecution without borders.
Another suspected ritual murder in Uganda. This time an eight-year old boy was killed apparently for ritual proposes. The boy, Yasin Sserunga, who was a pupil at Destiny Primary School, was found dead with head and toes missing.
A suspect was arrested but his arrest won’t bring back the boy to his parents who are unable to recover from their grief at their son’s death. They pay the price for someone’s belief in witchcraft and superstition. (webmaster FVDK).
Family piles pressure on police to recover head of suspected ritual victim
Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.
Published: March 3, 2023 By: Mazima – Uganda (thanks to URN)
A family in Luwero District has asked the Police to find the head of an eight-year-old boy who was killed in a suspected ritual murder.
Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.
Sserunga was found dead the next day with his head and toes missing. Sserunga’s torso was buried at Kasanga village in Nakasongola District but to date, the Police are yet to recover the head and other parts.
Yasin Sserunga, the father of the deceased says that two weeks ago, residents arrested a key suspect Robert Mawanda, a neighbor, and handed him to Police but investigations have dragged on.
Sserunga says the family is still in pain for burying their child without some body parts. He also fears that the police may release the key suspect because they have detained him for two weeks without appearing in court, which is contrary to the mandatory 48 hours.
Abubaker Sande Ssebwoya, the uncle to the deceased says that the suspect was linked to the murder after residents and relatives found him at the scene of the crime at around 2 am when they were searching for Sserunga.
Ssebwoya adds that the Police also obtained phone printouts that linked the suspect to the scene and other people have recorded statements on the matter.
The child’s family abandoned their home after the murder and are staying with relatives.
Patrick Lule, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson has asked the family to remain calm because the police are determined to ensure they get justice and recover the missing body parts.
Lule says that Police detained Mawanda but he has denied participation in the ritual murder and knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing body parts.
Lule, however, notes that the Police are pursuing scientific investigations to link him to the murder and his file has been sent to the State Attorney to sanction charges against him.
According to the Police report, 58 people were murdered in 2022 in Luwero and the district ranked eighth in the country with the highest number of homicide cases.
Murder cases show a rising trend in Zimbabwe, according to statistics released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency. In 2018 more than 1,450 murders were reported, this number increased to more than 1,700 cases in 2019 and to nearly 3,600 cases in the two-year period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. The yearly average of 1,500-1,600 murder cases means that each month more than 100 persons are being murdered.
It is not known how many ritualistic murders (‘muti murders’) are included in this yearly average of 1,500 – 1,600 victims. Statistics only reveal part of the truth. By definition, ‘muti murders’ are murders committed in secret, and some victims (statistically recorded as ‘missing persons’) are never found. Only discovered bodies of victims with ‘parts’ (often organs) missing indicate that a murder for ritualistic purposes has been committed, but even then one has to be careful and not jump to conclusions as the perpetrator(s) may intentionally mislead the investigators by removing body parts.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the occurrence of ritual murders constitutes a problem in this Southern Africa country (as it does in neighboring countries). Recently, a debate on the persistent problem of muti murders arose after the discovery of a mutilated body in Greystone Parts, near Hatfield, in Mashonaland East and southeast of the capital Harare.
In the article presented below also reference is made to the notorious Tapiwah Makore case, referring to the seven-year old boy who was murdered for ritualistic purposes by his uncle in 2020 (see previous posts). But, as the article relates, Tapiwah Makoreh (also spelled as Tapiwa Makore) was not the only or last victim of unscrupulous murderers who are driven by greed and superstition. Unfortunately, the discovery of the dead body of Faith Musonza in Greystone Park only confirms this sad conclusion. (webmaster FVDK)
Zimbabwe grapples with ritual murders
Published: February 26, 2023 By: Staff reporter – The Zimbabwe Mail
IT is late afternoon in the heart of Greystone Park, some 20 kilometres from Hatfield, where the gruesome murder of Spar employee Faith Musonza is said to have occurred.
A relative’s home in Greystone Park is where her funeral is taking place.
A gentle breeze steadily blows across the yard as if everything is normal, but this is not the case.
Mourners have been stunned into silence as they struggle to come to terms with the sad news of Musonza’s untimely death.
“We are still trying to process everything; it feels like a dream,” said one of the relatives who appeared non-plussed at the funeral wake.
Musonza’s husband, Fradreck Chasara, was visibly disturbed, as he unsteadily alternated between a black leather couch and the carpeted floor.
Musonza was recently killed in Hatfield by unknown assailants as she headed to her rented house in Cranborne from work.
Her mutilated body was found dumped in a storm drain. Heinous crimes involving grisly murders have become prevalent of late. The sanctity of human life is no longer being observed.
In 2020, the nation woke up to news of the callous murder of seven-year-old Tapiwa Makore in a suspected ritual killing.
He was buried the following year, with his head still missing. The incident left many with a lot of unanswered questions.
Last year, in Nyanga, two related seven-year-olds were found dead in a disused house in the village, with their throats cut open and blood drained.
Several other murder cases have been reported across the country.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the number of murder cases continue to rise with each passing year. At least 1 453 cases were recorded in 2018, before rising to 1 733 the following year. Between January 2020 and December 2021, 3 583 cases were recorded.
Overall, the cases averaged between 1 500 and 1 600 every year.
“A murder case is recorded every week; in some situations, even two or more, with the trend growing in all provinces,” said Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
Most of the killings, he said, are associated with infidelity, alcohol abuse and rituals. Statistics from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) also corroborate the same trend.
“In January 2021, we had 630 people incarcerated for murder and the figure rose to 845 by October that same year.
“In January 2022, we had 817 and the figure stood at 984 by November,” said ZPCS.
Mental health issues
Psychologist and University of Johannesburg post-doctoral researcher Dr John Ringson believes most murders are caused by mental health issues.
“When one is mentally unstable, even a small argument can trigger aggression. We have had cases of people who committed murder for beer or small amounts of money. Mental health issues need to be addressed at national level,” he said.
Drugs and substance abuse, he added, were also causing mental health challenges that push people to commit crimes.
Traditionalist Mbuya Calista Magorimbo says some bogus witch doctors who encourage harvesting of body parts for rituals (kuromba) to boost business fortunes are also causing the unnecessary loss of human lives.
“Ritual killings for purposes of becoming wealthy have existed since time immemorial. However, the situation has since gone out of hand due to prevailing economic hardships,” she said.
“Some even harvest body parts for charms to make them powerful at work or to get healed from certain ailments. Women and children are often murder targets.”
She, however, argues that such rituals have never been proved to be effective.
“This is pure cultism, which yields nothing but generational curses, yet some people believe it actually works. Murder only brings trouble!” she warned.
Killings only attract avenging spirits and generational curses, according to Sekuru Peter Maponda, which he believes only serve to perpetuate a vicious circle of crime and murder. Roman Catholic priest Father Paul Mayeresa says avenging spirits exist.
“The Bible values the sanctity of life and does not allow killing under any circumstances. Some murders are due to either temporary or permanent insanity, while others are premeditated revenge,” he said.
“Avenging spirits exist and depending on the relatives of the deceased and their spirituality, some families end up forgiving the perpetrators while others prefer to let the dead fight from the grave.”
House of Refuge International Ministries founder Apostle Partson Machengete is of the opinion that “poverty has left most people desperate to get rich overnight”.
“As a result, they are forced to believe myths that ostensibly offer solutions to their problems. Witch doctors are fleecing the vulnerable and pushing them into unholy acts. They are made to believe the rituals will make them rich.”
He, however, feels some murder cases are genuine accidents and, in some instances, a result of self-defence.
There is consensus that communities need to be sensitised on the need to observe the sanctity of human life.
“We need all stakeholders to come together and formulate programmes that educate the community on the issues and bridge existing gaps,” urges Laws of Attraction psychologist Blessed Chinyangare.
“There is a human element and a spiritual element to this issue, hence it has to be tackled from both ends.”
Headman Zvinowanda Pfumbidzai of Machera village in Hwedza said in murder cases, the funerals and burials should be different from ordinary ones.
In African tradition, he said, murder invites curses for both the victim and the perpetrator’s families, hence rituals become necessary to cleanse the parties involved.
“Traditionally, the wronged family conducts rituals — kureverera — to provoke the spirit of the deceased to go and get revenge, so, in return, the murderer should pay damages — kuripa.
“The victim’s family should be given room to indicate their price during the process. Likewise, the victim’s family should also conduct a cleansing ceremony,” he said.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Africa, murder cases reportedly increased by 22 percent since 2012.
Most of the killings usually occur between Friday and Sunday.
The South African Police Service has since deployed desk-based police officers to the streets, particularly in identified hotspots, while dedicated detectives track and arrest suspects wanted for violent crimes. – Sunday Mail
Already much has been said about ritual murders in Uganda in previous postings. The numerous reports of ritual killings in Uganda may adequately correspond with the many ritual murders committed in this country, but may also be attributed to the country’s active and well functioning press and the press freedom it enjoys (webmaster FVDK).
Two witchdoctors arrested over suspected ritual sacrifice of boy
The duo, however, denied any involvement in the alleged crime.
Police in Kamuli District are holdingtwo witchdoctors as persons of interest in the suspected ritual murder of a four-year-old boy whose mutilated body was discovered in a sugarcane plantation, four days after he went missing.
On Wednesday, Alvin Butanakya went missing from his grandparents’ home in Naikesa Village, Kisozi Town Council.
But three days later, a sniffer dog led police to a shrine owned by Balat Buluuba and Fred Balikoowa.
At the shrine, police say they found Butanakya’s body smeared with ash and with missing parts, including the right hand, tongue and genitals.
Mr Micheal Kasadha, the Busoga North Police Spokesperson, said residents sought their help and they introduced a sniffer dog which led detectives to the shrine where the two were holed up.
“A search was conducted and some exhibits of evidential value were recovered. The two are helping police in investigations after which they will be charged with murder,” Mr Kasadha said at the weekend.
The duo, however, denied any involvement in the alleged crime.
“We are practicing native doctors who help spirit-struck patients. We are being framed because of our big clientele. The blood stains they claim are from the deceased is actually from a chicken we slaughtered and sprinkled on the walls,” they explained.
Mr Robert Lutwama, the deceased’s grandfather, with whom he was staying, said the boy left home with his grandmother, Ms Annet Kilikumwino, on Wednesday at around 10am and never returned.
This prompted a search party by the community which yielded the discovery of his body buried in a sugarcane plantation 50 metres from his grandparents’ home.