Superstition is a curse. Its spread is like a virus… and it kills… How on earth can one believe that by murdering someone one increases wealth, power or prestige? ‘Money rituals’ in Nigeria cannot be compared to the traditional ritual killings which were performed for the sake of the wellbeing of the community – but which also don’t have a place in a modern society. Taking someone’s life is a crime. And should be punished.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details of the gruesome crime (webmaster FVDK)
Uncle kills seven-year-old twins for rituals in Delta, flees
Published: March 28, 2020 By: Punch Nigeria – Afeez Hanafi
The joy heralding the birth of a child is usually indescribable let alone arrival of twins. That was the feeling seven years ago when Chiagozie and Chidalu Agwunobi, were welcomed to the Oliseh clan in Oko Ogbele Community, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State. They were a bundle of joy to their parents as they grew up happily in months and years.
Few days ago, that joy was blown away like a candle in the wind when they went missing and their dismembered bodies later found in a bush. They were cruelly killed by their uncle, Onuwa Oliseh, who is still at large.
Onuwa reportedly lured the seven-year-old male twins to the bush within the neighbourhood on Friday, March 6, after they returned from school and butchered them. He was said to have removed some of their body parts for money rituals and dumped the remains.
Investigation by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in the state led to the arrest of Onuwa’s accomplice, Kelvin Uzor, who is also a relation of the twins.
“Police got information that on March 6, the twins were missing from their parents’ house. Their bodies were later found in the bush on March 8 with some parts of their bodies mutilated. Their eyes, hands and private parts were missing. Police began investigation and generated enough intelligence that led to the arrest of Uzor. He confessed that they were a three-man gang and wanted to do money ritual with the body parts,” a senior officer told Saturday PUNCH.
Our correspondent learnt that Onuwa’s younger brother, Iweka, who attended the same school with the twins, told the police that the suspect asked him to lure the deceased from the school.
“I am a primary four pupil of Ekeanya Primary School. On March 6, at about 6.30am, my elder brother Onuwa Ajei Oliseh, asked me if I would go to school and I told him yes. He asked if I can help him bring out the twins from the school before the school closes that day and I told him no because their teacher would not agree.
“That day when I came back from school, I saw my brother place a cutlass on the table where he was eating while I went to the backyard. It was later I heard that the twins were missing and their dead bodies were found in the bush,” he told detectives.
The twins’ father, Agwunobi Oliseh, stated that Onuwa visited his house that Friday in the morning and asked him if they (the twins) would go to school. He said he responded in affirmative, unknown that Onuwa was plotting to kill his beloved kids.
The 52-year-old farmer said when his children returned from school, Onuwa came back and asked them to follow him to the stream in the community.
He said, “I am a traditionalist and a farmer. I’m married with seven kids. My twins were seven years old. On March 6 in the early morning, Onuwa came to my house and inquired if my late children would go to school and I said yes. I later learnt he told his younger brother, Iweka, to help him take my children out of the school premises. He said he wanted to go somewhere with them.
“Later in the day, he went to their school and tried to take them out but he was chased away by their teacher. As soon as they came back, he came to my house and asked them to follow him to the stream. I think they were on their way when he brought out a cutlass and killed them.”
The distraught father, who noted that he and his wife were not around when Onuwa took the twins away, said he was told the suspect ran home with bloodstains.
“According to his brother, he ran back home with his hands stained with blood. He then asked the brother to pour water on his hands while he washed the machete with which he killed the twins. He left for Uzor’s house and both of them went to one Anam.
“It was when I came back later in the day with my wife that I realised the twins were missing. While I was running around, Iweka told me that it was Onuwa who took my children. Onuwa ran away but we were able to find Uzor who told us where their bodies were dumped. We went there and found their mutilated bodies. Their eyes, tongues and hands were removed,” he added.
Uzor, in his statement, admitted the twins were killed for rituals but denied partaking in their murder.
He said one of his friends, called Chukwudi, told him of a traditionalist in Anambra who could help them to perform money rituals with children not above age 12.
The 18-year-old primary school leaver stated that he informed Onuwa, who agreed to the plan.
He said, “I stopped schooling after my primary school education because my parents did not have money. I worked for a farmer called Egwiyo. I served him for many years and he promised to give me money this year. Chukwudi told me there was a place where we could do money rituals in Anambra and he asked if I was interested.
“We later told Onuwa who agreed to do it. I told them I was not interested but if they want to do it, they could go ahead. I told them I would be happy if they succeeded. I was sleeping when Onuwa called me and said he had killed the twins. He said he took their bodies to one native doctor in Delta but the man told him he wasn’t into money rituals.
“He later called me when the heat was much and told me where he dumped the bodies. Now, police said I was the one who killed the twins. Onuwa took the body parts to a herbalist in Aguleri, Anambra.’’
Uzor said immediately he learnt about the twin’s murder, he ran to Anambra where he was tracked down by the police. He added that he gave tacit support for the crime in the hope that he would be given money to buy a car and build a house if it worked out.
He said, “I wanted to become a young chief because most of the young men I know did not work as hard as I did and now they are millionaires. I am a farmer and hardworking but I was not making enough money. I have no savings. That was why I somehow agreed to be part of the plan.
“Onuwa convinced me it was the fastest way to make money and that most of our colleagues made money through that means. My greatest mistake was that I did not inform my family when Onuwa suggested that we should use the twins.
“I love the twins so much and their parents are nice. I cautioned him but I don’t know that he would still go ahead to kill them. They normally went to his house to play; so it was easy for him to take them out without anyone being suspicious. I was not in the bush when he killed them.”
Uzor revealed further that the initial plan was to use an elderly woman in the community for the money ritual but he prevailed on the gang to spare the woman because she was generous.
“Initially, they wanted to use one old woman known as Nne Amaka, but I pleaded with them to leave her because she is nice. If I passed by and begged her for water, she would give me water and even food.
“I feel bad because he betrayed me. I am appealing to young men that money ritual does not pay. I am a hard working man and well known. Even when my name was mentioned in the crime, a lot of people came out to defend me. I am sorry. I want the family to forgive me,” he added.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the remains of the twins had been deposited at the General Hospital, Igbuzor while IRT detectives led by DCP Abba Kyari had launched a manhunt for the fleeing suspects.
A gruesome murder in Chipata, Eastern Province, Zambia.
It is not the first time that the Eastern Province is in the news with an attack on a person with albinism. Also last year, in 2019, the province made headlines with the murder of an albino. Often, Zambians point an accusing finger to neighboring Malawi when a mutilated body of an albino is found. However, just recently, in January of the current year, a prominent Zambian, MDD president Dr Nevers Mumba, alleged that ritual killings are common in Zambia and have always happened towards elections.
POLICE in Chipata have picked up a dead body of an albino without a tongue, arms and eyes.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner Lackson Sakala said police recoverd the body at Yamene farms along the Chipata/Lundazi road yesterday.
Mr. Sakala said the incident occurred between 15 hours and 17 hours adding that the deceased was found in a maize field at a distance of about 60 metres from the Chipata/Lundazi Road.
He said when police officers visited the scene of the suspected murder they discovered that some body parts were missing.
“After inspecting the body they discovered that the following body parts were missing; there was no tongue in the mouth, the tongue was cut, both eyes were removed and both arms were also removed by way of amputation. The victim at the time he met his untimely death was wearing a jean trousers, red t-shirt and black shoes,” Mr Sakala said.
He said the body had since been deposited in Chipata Central Hospital Mortuary awaiting postmortem.
“May I appeal to those that may miss their relative, an albino to come through so that they identify this unknown albino who was murdered yesterday. As police we have actually instituted investigations into this gruesome murder,” Mr Sakala said.
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) fears that this will increase the already fragile position of people living with albinism in Malawi. History teaches us that attacks on people with albinism increase during election campaigns. The Malawian government fails to react properly. Since 2014, 171 attacks against people with albinism were carried out of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing. Hence, the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi has launched an anti-killings campaign. (webmaster FVDK).
Malawi persons with albinism launch anti-killings campaign
The Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) has launched a campaign to condemn killings of people with albinism for rituals ahead of the fresh presidential polls in the country.
APAM President Ian Simbota, told local media Sunday after the launch that members of the Association fear for their lives as some study showed that persons with albinism are targeted for rituals during elections. Simbota told Xinhua Monday that as of March 23rd, 2020, APAM had recorded 171 cases of attacks against people with albinism of which 25 persons were killed and 13 were reported missing since 2014. (italics added by the webmaster FVDK)
“We received the February 3 judgement with mixed reactions because on one hand we were happy that we will be given back our ballot power but on the other hand looked at the threatening times that we always go through because of the same election exercise,” said Simbota.He said during the campaign the APAM members want to sensitize mostly political leaders to desist from beliefs that killing a person with albinism and getting their body parts for rituals can make them win an election.
“Those things don’t exist, it’s just some evil way of thinking. We are the voters and politicians should use us as such and not as rituals; it does not work,” said Simbota.”We are a population of 134,636 people and those are the votes that we are worth,” he added. In 2015 UN Human Rights Expert on Albinism Ikponwosa Ero, linked the killings of persons with albinism in Africa to elections, saying many political hopefuls believe that body parts of persons with albinism can be used as charms for one to win an election. (bold added by the webmaster FVDK)
If the news reported below is true, it is a horrific crime. I do not have the impression that ritualistic murders occur frequently in Ghana, although I may be wrong. Perpetrators may effectively hide all traces related to their heinous crimes – or the families and communities hit by these murders may prefer to remain silent about these age-old practices…. for fear, or for reasons of complicity… Let’s hope that the law enforcement officers act swiftly and will soon identify the murderer(s) and arrest him (her) / them (webmaster FVDK).
Girl Killed For Rituals
Published: March 24, 2020 By: Modern Ghana
A two-year-old girl has been found dead, raising suspicion of ritual purposes.
Her body was found in a big gully full of water at Apatrapa, a suburb of Kumasi, on Friday morning.
Eyewitnesses alleged that her tongue was cut away, but the police are yet to confirm their allegation.
Two different names — Ama Serwah and Maame Yaa — have so far surfaced as the girl’s name.
According to reports, some assailants broke into a house in the area and they took away the young girl on Thursday.
Barely 24 hours after the girl had been kidnapped, her body was found lying in a big gully in the area, sparking fear and panic.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the young girl’s body had since been deposited in a morgue, awaiting autopsy.
Meanwhile, the police in Kumasi are said to have commenced investigations to help arrest the culprits and are doing everything possible to get to the bottom of the matter.
Bad news from Kenya where a couple has been arrested. They are accused of murdering their child in a ritualistic act. But also good news: swift action of the law enforcement officers. Hence, the rule of law. In many countries ritual killers get away with their heinous crimes. The two arrested in Kenya wil have to account for their deeds and, if found guilty, they will have to pay the prize accordingly, after an impartial, transparent trial (webmaster FVDK).
Man and wife held over ritualistic murder of their son, 4
Published: March 21, 2020 By: Nairobi News NN, KNA
Police in Bungoma are holding a couple for questioning after it emerged that the duo allegedly conspired to murder then secretly dumped the body of their four-year-old son at a nearby road.
Residents of Misikhu location, Webuye West constituency in Bungoma County were shocked after they encountered the lifeless body of the baby abandoned on a feeder road.
Preliminary investigations into the incident indicated that the couple had domestic squabbles and may have sacrificed the child in a ritual.
A neighbour who sought anonymity said the couple had frequent quarrels where the husband always accused the woman of infidelity.
The two suspects were apprehended at Makhese village after the mother confessed to killing their son. Police had to fire into the air to save them from an angry mob.
Webuye West sub-county commander Christopher Limo confirmed the arrests adding that the body of the deceased had been moved to the Webuye referral hospital mortuary while the parents were currently being held at Webuye police station for further questioning.
The area police boss further warned parents against infringing on the rights of children saying that his office would prosecute those found to be breaching these rights.
“Children have rights too and anyone who violates the children’s rights will be severely punished,” he charged.
More details emerge with respect to the lifeless body of Tiyiselani Rikhotso, found at the Klein Letaba dam near Giyani, Limpopo, South Africa. The region is known for its ritual murders, as reported multiple times on this site. The local population calls the ritualistic murders muti (muthi) murders (webmaster FVDK).
Murdered Giyani girl (11) found in dam had missing body parts, family say
Published: March 20, 2020 By: Sowetan Live – Peter Ramothwala
The family of an 11-year-old girl whose dismembered body was found in a dam suspects she was murdered for ritual purposes.
Tiyiselani Rikhotso from Ndengeza village, about 40km west of Giyani in Limpopo, was reported missing on Sunday and her body was found on Tuesday in the Klein Letaba Dam.
Her discovery was preceded by a protest by the community, who went on a rampage, blockading roads.
Tiyiselani’s grandmother Christina Rikhotso, 59, said she suspected Tiyiselani was hacked with a panga as she had several open and deep wounds on her body.
“I saw those wounds on her body and they were very scary. Her right leg was chopped and still missing as we speak.
“I think she was killed elsewhere and thrown into the dam.
“If her murder is not for muthi, what will one do with a child’s leg?”
Rikhotso said Tiyiselani was found in the dam after some children tipped off community members that they saw her in the company of an unknown man.
“On our way to the dam, we found her doek and we became convinced she was thrown in there,” she said.
The grandmother said she was in church when Tiyiselani went missing on Sunday.
“I left her with her other siblings at home in the morning. Later in the day, I received a call that Tiyiselani was missing. I quickly called a few neighbours and we combed the local bushes and could not find her.
“In the afternoon, I went to the police to report a missing person. I even told them that we suspect her body was in the dam and they told me they would wait for a search and rescue team and sniffer dogs.”
Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said a manhunt for the killer(s) had been launched.
“The discovery was made by community members who then called the police.
“On arrival at the scene, the police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” Mojapelo said.
Mojapelo said the motive for the murder was unknown at this stage but said that murder for body parts could not be ruled out.
Tiyiselani’s father Thulani Rikhotso said he was shocked and in disbelief about his daughter’s murder.
“I arrived on Wednesday from Gauteng to see for myself. My brother, I’m heartbroken. I want police to find her killers soon,” he said.
MEC for social development Nkakareng Rakgoale has also reacted with shock to the incident.
“Incidents such as this one are again putting in the spotlight the general safety of our children in communities.
“I cannot begin to imagine how a person can decide to take away an innocent soul just like that.
“We are once again appealing to parents and communities to always keep a close eye on children who are in their vicinity,” Rakgoale said.
Missing Giyani girl’s body found dismembered in Limpopo dam
Published: March 20, 2020 By: News 24 (South Africa) – Canny Maphanga
The body of Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso, a 11-year-old missing Giyani girl, was found dismembered and dumped in the local Klein Letaba Dam on Tuesday.
Rikhotso was reported missing on Monday.
“The discovery was made by community members, who called the police. On arrival at the scene, the police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” said Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo in a statement on Tuesday.
The provincial commissioner of Limpopo, Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba, strongly condemned the brutal killing of an innocent child and instructed the police to hunt down the killers.
The police have subsequently launched a manhunt.
Authorities are calling on anyone with information to come forward.
The fear is warranted, but we have to be careful and we should not rush to conclusions without firm evidence or an official announcement. However, the immediate reaction of a ritualistic act is telling and significant (webmaster FVDK).
Missing Giyani girl found dismembered and thrown in Klein Letaba dam
Published: March 18, 2020 By: TimesLive – South Africa
An 11-year-old girl, who was reported missing in Dengeza, outside Giyani, on Monday, was found murdered and dismembered on Tuesday, said Limpopo police.
Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the child was found dumped at the Klein Letaba dam.
“The discovery was made by community members, who called the police. The police retrieved the body and discovered that some of her body parts were missing,” said Mojapelo.
“The motive for this murder is unknown, but ritual murder cannot be ruled out,” he added.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nneke Ledwaba condemned the brutal killing of the child and called on police to hunt down her killers.
‘Ritual murder cannot be ruled out’ after body of missing girl (11) found in Limpopo dam
Her dismembered body was found in the local Klein Letaba Dam
Published: March 18, 2020 By: Review (online) – South Africa
LIMPOPO – The body of 11-year-old Tiyiselani Nokuthula Rikhotso, who was reported missing on Monday, 16 March has been found. Rikhotso, from Dengeza (A) outside Giyani, was last seen when she left home on Sunday, 15 March.
The police commenced with a search operation after Rikhotso was reported missing, but without success. Her dismembered body was found in the local Klein Letaba Dam on Tuesday, 17 March and the police in Giyani have launched a manhunt for the killer (s) as a result.
Residents from the local community made the discovery and called the police who retrieved the body from the dam and found some of her body parts were missing. According to Police Spokesperson, Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, the motive for the killing is unknown but ritual murder cannot be ruled out.
The brutal killing of Rikhotso has been strongly condemned by the Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt Gen Nneke Ledwaba who also instructed the police to hunt down the people responsible for her death.
The police appeal to anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) to contact Col Chris Mabasa at 082 469 0739, their nearest police station or the Crime Stop number at 086 001 0111
The ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia is as old as their cultures. The Kara, Banna and Hamar are not the only ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that kill ‘cursed’ or ‘mingi’ infants. Also in e.g. Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria tribal elders decide that the well-being of their clan or ethnic group is best served by the killing of young, innocent and often defenseless life – and I am certain that infanticide is practiced in more SSA countries.
As with other ritualistic killings (murders!), superstition ‘is the root of all evil’. Ignorance, superstition, AND the lack of law enforcement keeps this ugly practice alive. Let’s all work hard to eradicate these practices from society. Today is 2020. We’re living in the 3rd millennium!
I highly recommend the article below. CNN is to be commended for its publication! (webmaster FVDK)
Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?
Published: November 5, 2011 By: CNN – Matthew D. LaPlante
His top teeth came in before his bottom teeth. That is how elders of the Kara tribe determined that a healthy baby boy needed to be killed.
The child was “mingi” — cursed, according to their ancient superstitions. With every breath, they believed, the boy was beckoning an evil spirit into their village.
Murderous though it was, the decision to kill the boy was the easy part. It was the sacrifice of one infant for the good of the entire tribe — a rite that some of the elders had witnessed hundreds of times throughout their lives in Ethiopia’s remote Omo River Valley.
The tribe’s leaders were less certain of what they should do about the boy’s twin brother, who had died of sickness shortly after birth. After some debate, including a pensive examination of a goat’s intestines, they decided the dead child must have been mingi, too.
So they dug up the corpse, bound it to the living boy, paddled a canoe into the center of the Omo River and threw them both into the murky brown water.
That was five years ago — a time before many outside of this isolated basin had ever heard of mingi.
Today, nudged out of acquiescence by a slow-growing global condemnation of the ritualistic infanticide practiced by the Kara, Banna and Hamar tribes of southern Ethiopia, regional government officials have begun to take action — threatening prison for those complicit in mingi killings.
Meanwhile, a small band of Banna Christians has taken it upon itself to give sanctuary to the mingi children of their tribe; an enlightenment among some young and educated tribesmen of the Kara has spawned an orphanage for the condemned; and global Samaritans, drawn by the plights of these defenseless children, have offered money and adoptive homes.
The combined efforts have saved scores of children.
But none of the interventions has brought an end to the deep fear that stokes the slaughter. And so it is estimated by some government officials, rescue workers and village elders that hundreds of children are still being killed each year, by drowning, suffocation and deliberate starvation.
‘All the people’ Bona Shapo steers a dugout canoe through crocodile-infested waters, guiding the craft ashore where the Omo River bends at the bottom of a crumbling precipice near the tiny stick-and-thatch village of Korcho.
The sun is setting into the ravine. Across the river, a troop of colobus monkeys whoops and howls, stirring a flock of gangly marabou storks from their perches on a stand of flat-topped acacia trees.
“This is where they do it,” says Bona, who stood upon these same muddy banks on the day the twin boys were thrown into the river. “Sometimes they take the babies out in a boat. Other times, they just take them to the edge of the water and throw them in.”
The mingi rites of the Kara are slightly different from those of the Banna, which are, in turn, different from the Hamar. But common among all is a profound fear of what might happen if the killings were to stop.
There has been little academic scholarship on the subject, but some observers have speculated that it might have started many generations ago as a way to purge people who are more likely to become a burden or who cannot contribute to the propagation of their people. That might explain why children who break a tooth or injure their genitals are among those singled out for death. Others are killed because they are born out of wedlock or to married parents who have not completed a ceremony announcing their intention to have children — a brutal enforcement, perhaps, of the deep-rooted duty that members have to the tribe first, their family second.
As far as the Kara elders are concerned, these rules are as old and unyielding as the Omo River — and every bit as crucial to their survival. Allowing a mingi child to live among the Kara, they believe, could cause the rains to stop falling and the sun to grow hotter.
“If they have the mingi, there will be no water, no food, no cattle,” Bona says. “But when they throw the baby away, everything is good again.”
Elders bitterly recall times in which their sympathy for mingi children prevailed over their fear. They believe that heedlessness cost the tribe most of its cattle and many of its members. Today, Kara leaders say, a more respectful adherence to the brutal obligations of their beliefs has allowed their tribe to thrive.
“So yes, it is sad, but we are thinking about the village, the family, all the people,” Bona says. “We tell the parents, ‘don’t cry for your baby, because you will save everyone. You can always make another baby.’ ”
‘No other option’ She wasn’t permitted to nurse him, hold him or even see him. But Erma Ayeli still clings to an image of the baby she lost — fantasy though it may be.
“I think he must have been a beautiful boy,” Erma says as she rests on a pile of sticks, surrounded by a playful mob of younger children. “I wanted to keep him.”
Her chin sinks into the tornado of colorful beads draped around her neck.
Apparently sensing her sorrow, a young boy rests his half-shorn head playfully on her lap. Erma tugs at his ear, smiles and reclaims her composure.
She still mourns. But she does not question why her son was killed. “There was no other option,” she says.
Sex outside of the confines of marriage is acceptable among the Kara.
But if a woman becomes pregnant before participating in a marriage ceremony, her child is considered “kumbaso,” a mingi curse that occurs when parents fail to perform the appropriate series of rites before conceiving. Erma cannot marry, though, until her older sister has first been wed. Her hands fall to her swollen stomach; she is pregnant once again.
“It was an accident,” she laments as she rubs her bare waist. “I don’t want to lose this baby, too.”
There is a potion she can take; the village medicine man can mix a concoction of roots and herbs that will make her sick and might cause her body to reject her pregnancy, taking her baby’s life before others can take it from her.
Many women choose this path. Erma won’t. Because this time, at least, she has some reason to hope that her child might be spared a violent death. Far away from her village, she has heard, there is an orphanage for mingi babies. She has pleaded with village leaders to let her child go there.
Either way, though, she won’t be allowed to see her baby. Once again, she’ll be left to dream about what her child might look like. “This time, I think, I might have a girl,” Erma says. Again, her head hangs low. Again, the boy next to her drops his own head into her lap, glancing up with a wry smile.
This time, though, Erma doesn’t smile back. She gently strokes his smooth brown cheek.
‘This was our culture’ They have taken her tribal clothes. Her beads, her animal skins and her jewelry have been replaced by a tattered shirt and loose-fitting skirt. In that and most other visible regards, Mashi Lamo is indistinguishable from the other inmates at the Jinka Prison Institute.
Yet everyone in this ragtag penitentiary knows who she is. “The mingi mother,” says one guard, a woman whose crisply pressed khaki uniform seems to stand out in defiance of this dirty, dilapidated jail, cut into a hillside in the South Omo region’s administrative capital. “Yes, we all know what happened to her. It is very sad.”
It is not typical for Kara mothers to be asked to kill their own mingi children — and none are known to have done it of their own volition. In any case, fellow Kara say Mashi could not have killed her baby; she was far too weak after the birth to have done such a thing. It was other women who took the child away, they say.
But when police arrived, Mashi took the blame. Within days, she had been sentenced to three years in prison. She had no attorney, and there was no trial.
She may be a prisoner today, but her past and future are inexorably Kara. Mashi can speak and understand only her native language. She’s never been to school. When she is finally released, there will be only one place to go.
And so, under the watchful eyes of several other Kara prisoners, Mashi stands by her story.
“What they say is false,” she says of those in her tribe who have proclaimed her innocence. “I did it all myself.”
But asked if she deserves to be in prison, the teenager sinks her face into her hands. “I hate it here,” she says.
“I wanted to keep my baby, but that was not allowed. This was our culture.”
A few feet away, another young prisoner — girlish in figure and demeanor — hides behind a corrugated metal wall and listens in. Prison guards say she is the only other person serving time here for a mingi killing, and they say she shares Mashi’s plight.
But she cannot bring herself to speak of what happened. “This one prefers to forget” the shipshape guard says.
Unevenly executed as it might be, the government’s effort to crack down on mingi killings has had an effect on the Kara. Combined with other interventions, the fear of prison might be helping to save some children.
But not all of them.
“Before, they did it in the open,” says Solomon Ayko, a gangly young Kara man who has witnessed several mingi killings. “Now, it just happens in secret.”
‘They are human’ The Kara don’t count the passing years as outsiders do, but by Ari Lale’s recollection, it happened about 15 years ago, when he was a young man, eager to prove himself to the rest of his tribe.
A kumbaso baby had been born. Leaders asked Ari to supervise the child’s execution.
“The baby was crying,” Ari says, “so we put sand in its mouth and he was still trying to cry but couldn’t anymore.”
Soon, the child was dead, and Ari escorted a group of women away from the village to throw the tiny boy’s body into the bush.
What became of the child’s remains? “The hyenas or other animals took it away,” Ari says with a shrug.
Today, Ari is the leader of Korcho village, and he counts his participation in the boy’s death as one of his proudest memories.
“All the families would thank me for throwing away that baby,” he says.
“If I had not done it, they would have been angry.” It is extremely uncommon for police officers to make the arduous trip from Jinka to any of the Kara villages, but Ari says he and other leaders are nonetheless wary of the threat of prison. At some point, he says, the government will want to make an example out of someone of his stature.
But Ari, who wears his hair taut under a hard, red clay bun in the way of his tribe’s warriors, has not stopped believing in the dark magic of mingi. And so he and others have found a different way to carry out the killings.
They will not drown or suffocate the children, as they once did.
But they have forbade anyone from the village to have contact with a cursed baby.
“If a mother was to give the baby her breast, she would also become mingi,” he says. “After the baby is born, we keep it alone in the house and we do not give it water or milk.”
Without nourishment, the infants quickly die, and there is little that can be done to prove that a baby wasn’t simply stillborn.
Ari appears to be pleased about this solution. Yet he balances his pride with a lament for the dead.
“They are human,” he says of the mingi children.
For all of the praise he got for carrying out that first killing, Ari says, he would have much preferred to let the child live, if only there had been another way.
For some, now there is.
‘A sickness in our culture’ Kara children die all the time.
Many succumb to disease. Others are killed by wild animals. And some are sacrificed in the name of mingi.
For Shoma Dore, that was simply part of life.
“This is something that came down from generation to generation,” Shoma says. “If a baby comes with the top teeth before the bottom teeth, it must be killed. If it comes without the ceremony, it must be thrown away. … I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with it.”
Not, that is, until Shoma left the tribe to attend school in his early teens. In Jinka, he says, he realized for the first time the evil that was being done by his tribe. And when he returned, two years later, he found that others among the Kara’s more educated youths had come to the same realization.
“There are many important and good parts of our culture — there is also a sickness in our culture, and we have to change ourselves,” says Aryo Dora, who decided a few years ago to go with Shoma and about 30 other young Kara to plead with tribal elders to stop the killings.
Their plan, developed with the assistance of a team of Westerners, was simple: If mingi children could be sent far away from the village, they would pose no risk to the tribe.
“Once we explained the plan, they agreed quite easily,” Shoma recalls.
And that is how the orphanage began.
It wasn’t long before Webshet Ababaw was drawn into the fight. The professional tour guide and driver was in Jinka when he received a call from the orphanage. Leaders there had received word that a kumbaso girl was about to be born in the Kara village of Labuk. They needed someone with a four-wheel-drive vehicle who wasn’t afraid to race across the axle-breaking savannah to get to the village in time to save her.
No one seemed inclined to help find the child when Webshet and an official from the orphanage arrived in the village, but they finally found the infant lying on the ground behind a stick hut. Her mouth was filled with dirt and sand, but she was alive and seemed to be in relatively good health, Webshet says.
Piecing together a newborn first-aid regimen from what he’d seen in the movies and in a high school health class, Webshet unstrung a lace from his shoe and tied it around the baby’s broken umbilical chord. When no one in the village would give him a blanket, he wrapped the shivering child in his jacket. And when no one would give him milk, he found a goat, crouched beside it, and took a small amount for the girl.
None of the Kara had helped him on that day, but as he raced back to Jinka, Webshet looked at the small bundle in the passenger seat beside him and smiled.
There she was, improbably cooing as he bumped along the rugged dirt road.”
At least someone decided to contact us,” he says. “That is the only reason why she was alive.”
Orphanage officials later named the baby Edalwit, which means “she is lucky.
“Today, more than 30 mingi children live together in a small single-story home in a quiet Jinka neighborhood. Aryo, who is co-director of the orphanage, won’t grant permission for outsiders to check on the children — a rule intended to protect the orphans from potential exploitation, he explains. But, he says, they are loved, cared for and schooled with the hope that one day, they will be allowed to return to their families.
“These children are the future leaders of their tribes,” Aryo says. “They are going to grow up big and strong. They are the ones who will end mingi.”
‘We did our best’ It is a bright May morning in Korcho. In the communal spaces between the round, grass-topped huts, dozens of women are on their knees, vigorously thrusting their body weight into stone hand mills, grinding sorghum into flour.
Zelle Tarbe, though, is working inside. It has been just six days since she gave birth to her baby boy. Her breasts are still swollen — full of milk that will not nourish her child. The shock of losing him is still plastered across her face.
Zelle, who is unmarried, knew she would have to give up the child, but it was harder than she expected. “I wanted to keep him with me,” she says.
But she is nonetheless feeling very fortunate, “because my son is alive.”
Zelle was able to spend a few short moments with her baby before orphanage officials spirited him away.
“He was so sweet and beautiful,” she says from the shadows of the hut as a friend butchers a goat and hangs its carcass on the wall beside her. “But I did not give him a name because he was mingi and could not stay with me.”
Already, though, she is dreaming of a day in which she might make the journey to see her boy.
“Someday, I hope, I can visit him in Jinka,” she says.
No one, least of all Zelle, would argue that the rescue mission isn’t preferable to death for mingi children. But the orphanage has nonetheless been a controversial solution. A Christian group that supported the effort for two years withdrew its backing this spring after accusing the orphanage’s director of stealing money donated by American benefactors.
Orphanage officials counter-accused the Americans — who had helped arrange the adoptions of four mingi babies — of stealing the children from their families. The adoptions were, in fact, all legal under Ethiopian law, which treats mingi children as abandoned. But the orphanage leaders have argued that the biological parents surrendered their babies under cultural duress and should have the right to reclaim those children if their situation were to change.
Either way, adoptions and orphanages don’t address the root causes of mingi. And even when it had the support of a determined and resourceful team of Westerners, the rescue and shelter system was able to save only a fraction of the endangered children.
“At one point, there were six women we knew about who were pregnant with mingi children,” recalls Jessie Benkert, one of the Americans who supported the rescue effort. “We only got one.”
Geography is as much an obstacle as tradition. The Kara tribe is separated into three main villages, and the only telephone able to reach the outside world is in the main village of Dus, an hours-long hike from the other communities. Hundreds of other Kara live deep within the bush and, tribe members say, are more likely to carry out mingi killings there without notice.
Getting from Jinka to any of the Kara villages in a four-wheel-drive vehicle is, in the best of situations, a half-day’s trip across soft savannah sands and muddy river beds. A light rain can delay the trip by days. And during the rainy season, which lasts for up to eight months each year, the route can be washed away entirely.
Tribal leaders in Korcho say about 20 mingi children have been born into their small village since the orphanage opened. Orphanage workers have arrived in time to save only about half of them, they say.
Last year, rescue mission leaders learned that a Kara woman had given birth to a mingi boy whom tribal elders had promptly attempted to kill by ripping out his umbilical cord. The wounds had quickly gone septic, and there was no time to send a car to retrieve the child. Evacuation by air was the only solution; chartering the aircraft cost $3,500.
“That was the sum of all the money we had,” said Levi Benkert, Jessie’s husband. “And we couldn’t be certain that, even if we did it, he was going to live.
“They did it anyway — and saved the boy. An online fundraising effort quickly recouped the costs of the evacuation, but rescue mission officials knew they couldn’t sustain those sorts of expenses. And, in any case, they’ve since been pushed out of the Omo River Valley by local government officials who have sided with the orphanage’s Ethiopian director.
“We did our best,” Levi Benkert says. “We saved as many children as we could. And we continue to pray for them every day.”
‘Out of fear’ The people of the Omo River Valley love their children.
That is what Andreas Kosubek has come to believe over six years of organizing medical mission trips into the Kara heartland.
“These people are really good people,” says the German missionary, who recently gained permission from tribal elders to build a home on Kara lands. “They are not doing this because they are evil, wild, dumb monsters. They’re doing it out of fear. They fear for the lives of others in the tribe.”
From Kosubek’s point of view, the fear will end only if the Kara come to believe in something stronger than mingi. In his way of thinking, that means introducing them to Christianity.
“But we cannot do that,” the 29-year-old evangelist says, “unless we approach them with humility and a dedication to service.”
And Kosubek says he has often failed in that regard.
Not long ago, a Kara man brought his sick daughter to Kosubek, who was on tribal lands to work on his home and not accompanied by anyone with medical training.
The toddler was breathing rapidly and not responding to her father’s words or touch.
“She was the same age as my daughter and, you know, if my daughter had been sick like that, there is nothing I wouldn’t have done to save her,” Kosubek says, noting that he would have immediately evacuated his own daughter to a hospital. “But so many things crossed my mind: It’s difficult, it’s expensive.”
The girl later died, probably of simple pneumonia.
“I could have helped her,” Kosubek says. “And I am ashamed.”
Kosubek recognizes the need to end mingi killings, but he doesn’t feel entitled to condemn those deaths.”
Far more children are dying in other ways,” he says. “These are ways that we can address and prevent immediately if we just cared enough. Before we judge, we have to ask ourselves what we have done to help these children.
“In that question, he believes, is a model for truly bringing an end to the slaughter — through genuine selflessness and compassion.He’s seen it, firsthand, among the people of the nearby Banna tribe.
‘My children are also mingi’ In a smoke-filled mud hut in the village of Alduba, Kaiso Dobiar dips a ladle into a tar-black pot of coffee, filling her home with the aroma of the brew as she stirs the simmering liquid.
Kaiso is proud to be Banna, and she follows many of her tribe’s customs and beliefs. But she is also Christian and, wary of false idolatry, she and her husband refused to perform the rites mandated by tribal leaders before they conceived.
“So my children are also mingi, in that way of thinking,” says Kaiso, who is fostering two additional mingi children in her home.
A tiny girl crawls onto Kaiso’s lap, reaching over to help stir the pot. “This is Tarika,” Kaiso says. “She is 2 years old, and she is mingi.”
The girl was born without the appropriate Banna ceremonies, but her birth mother hid the child for six months. “Then the rains stopped for a short time,” Kaiso says. “The people rose up and said, ‘You must get rid of her. Throw her into the bush.’ But I said, ‘do not throw your child into the bush, give her to me.’ ”
Also sharing this small hut with Kaiso’s family is Tegist, another mingi child who guesses her age at 7 or 8 years. Kaiso says her foster daughters cannot play with other Banna children and must remain in her family’s small compound.
“They will have to stay here until they are older,” Kaiso says. “After that? God, he knows.”
Missionaries first came to the Banna decades ago, and the Christian church here is larger than any other among the tribes of this region. Still, their numbers are small; Banna’s Christians make up just 1 or 2 percent of the tribe’s population.
But their collective efforts have been enough to almost eliminate mingi killings within their tribe. With little money or other means of support, Banna’s Christians have accepted responsibility for nearly all of the tribe’s mingi children. Many, like Kaiso, are already caring for one or more mingi boys and girls. One family has taken in 17 foster children.
They do so at great potential risk to their own families. As she steps outside her home, the precariousness of Kaiso’s situation becomes clear.
“Kaiso, why are you protecting those children?” an angry neighbor screams from beyond a stick fence. “Tell us why!”
The Banna have not faced drought or a significant bout with deadly disease for many years. That, local Christians say, has kept much of their neighbors’ anger at bay.
But if the tribe’s fortunes were to change, its leaders would be swift to identify a culprit, Banna tribesman Andualem Turga says.
“What you need to understand is that, to these people, these babies are like an influenza,” he says. “If it is not stopped, it can kill many people. That is what they believe. … And when things go badly, the people believe this more than ever.”
Another foster mother, Uri Betu, tries not to think about such things. Her faith, she says, is clear on her responsibilities to the two mingi children who live in her home — and any others that need her care.
“For now, we do not worry,” Uri says as she watches her pair of 2-year-old foster daughters, Tariqua and Waiso, play in her yard.
ver time, Uri prays, the Banna will see that the presence of mingi children in their midst is unrelated to the patterns of rain and sun that sometimes cause their crops to fail.
Still, she laments, “there is a long way to go to change the beliefs we have had for so long.”
The article reproduced below contains some horrifying data. It is being estimated that currently about 1.3 million people are living in slavery in Nigeria. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has raised an alarm over the increase in organ harvesting in Nigeria. ‘Organ harvesting’ – as it is being called euphemistically – goes hand-in-hand with murder which is often treated as ritualistic murder by police officers. The scaring example of the fate of the ten-month old baby who was rescued recently (see article below) illustrates that law enforcement people as well as ordinary citizens should be vigilant. Moreover, those who order the heinous crimes should be apprehended and put on trial. And – as has been said repeatedly on this site – superstition should be eradicated from society by broad information campaigns and nationwide and universal education (webmaster FVDK).
Organ traffficking on the rise in Nigeria – NAPTIP
Published: March 15, 2020 By: The Nation (Nigeria) – Grace Obike, Abuja
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has raised an alarm over the increase in organ harvesting in the country.
The Director General NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, explained that her agency will be concentrating more on the issue this year.
She said that in the last year, cases of Nigerians being trafficked to countries like Oman, Dubai, Lebanon etc have been on the increase. She said this in Abuja at the grand finale of the Not For Sale Campaign, a human trafficking enlightenment programme.
Okah-Donli added that the agency is considering creating a human trafficking registry that will carry the names and information of people convicted of human trafficking in the country.
Her words, “We don’t believe that the traffickers of persons or migration by Nigerians is reducing because people go to new countries now, so for me the issue of the figures dropping, I am not really sure about it.
I would say that there was a deal made between the EU and Libya to stop immigrants from crossing which is what has led to a reduced number of people taking the Libyan route but not necessarily because the figures are dropping.
“In the last one year, so many cases of people going to new countries, back in the days we did not know of migrations to Oman, Abu-Dhabi, Dubai, Lebanon etc, now there is so much illegal mass recruitment for so-called jobs to these countries and it is really huge but we are doing our best to ensure that we curb it. We are thinking of opening a traffickers’ registry to name and shame traffickers in the country.
“There is this the area that is not often looked into which NAPTIP is looking into addressing this year and it is the area of organ harvesting because people are just getting away with murder.
As long as I am concerned, I have this hunch that a lot of harvesting is going on but unfortunately some law enforcement agencies just rule it as ritual killings.
Last week, a ten-month old baby was rescued, they had taken out one of his eyeballs and they were about to take out the second eye when the two guys were caught.
“The police arrested him and we have been trying to get them to hand them over to us so that we can get to the root of the matter.
I want to know who wants those eye balls, what those eyeballs where meant for and where they were going to. We have to look into this very aggressively and we are going to be concentrating more on them.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said that currently about 1.3 million people are living in slavery in Nigeria.
Her words, “Human trafficking is one of the world’s most horrible global problems and we must all work together to stop this horrible scourge. Nigeria is a country that has particular challenge on modern slavery and human trafficking.
Up to 74% of the population is vulnerable, which is particularly due to poverty, culture, family pressure, peer pressure etc. This has led people especially from Edo and Delta states being vulnerable.
“When Nigeria returned migrants from Libya, it was realised that in 2016, 65% of the migrants in Libya where from Nigeria. We also have to confront the fact that there are up to 1.3 million people living in slavery in Nigeria which is a problem domestically as well.
The campaign has been really successful, reaching out to young people, especially women, and trying to show them there is an alternative. 88% of young women and 93% of family members had a positive reaction to the campaign.
Now we find out that 83% of young women in Edo State nurse starting a business as a huge career option for them. 57% intends to start their business in the next three years while 52% have been involved in training that will help them start a business.”
Ritualistic activities and murders have become so common in Nigeria that their occurrence is being announced on television, a strange combination of 20th century technology and medieval superstition and practices. Since protection of the privacy of suspects is unheard of in Nigeria, the nine suspects who were arrested in Ogun State were shown in full glory. The suspects allegedly admitted murdering a women for a ‘money ritual’, notably the leader of the gang, Segun Olaniyi, confessed his role in the crime.
Judge for yourself and watch the television broadcast, by clicking the link mentioned in the Source below (webmaster FVDK).
Police Arrest Ritualist Gang In Ogun State
Published: March 9, 2020 By: Channels Television
Officers of the Inspector General of police intelligence response team in Ogun state have apprehended a gang of nine including herbalists and clerics who admitted to killing a woman for rituals.
Surprisingly, the leader of the gang, Segun Olaniyi who calls himself the ‘devil’, in confessing to the crime also pleads for mercy.
The police say the suspects will face the full wrath of law.