A few days ago I posted an article on the ritual murder of Gracia Prunelle, a young girl in Benin. Knowing that it was not the first ritualistic murder in Benin’s contemporary history (see my previous postings on this site), I went browsing on the internet and came across this article describing an upsurge in ritual killing and ritualistic acts in this West Africa in 2018. The author concludes her article with an alarming cry: despite the increase of these heinous acts, inspired by superstition, the authorities remain silent…. One wonders why….
For the convenience of readers who do not understand Frenchch, a brief summary in English follows here. The translation is the sole responsibility of this site’s webmaster who does not claim to present an exact and precise translation of the VOA article which is subsequently presented in is original version.
“An increase in the number of ritual murders terrifies Benin. Missing people have been found in deserted houses and in the forest, sometimes they have vanished, ‘never heard of again’. Behind this phenomenon are witch doctors, people whisper.
A few days ago, a young girl was raped and almost murdered but she was rescued by the police. It happened near Porto Novo, the country’s capital.
The suspect’s house was searched, and police found a human skill as well as organs of some of the victims.
Joël Akondé, a journalist testifies. His brother was the victim of a ritual murder. “He was murdered in a savage and cruel way”, he stated on VOA radio (Afrique radio services). His brother was found back with his throat cut and his blood taken by his murderers.
These ritualistic crimes are committed by internet-criminals, nicknamed ‘gaymen’, who want to impress girls who subsequently become the victim of their unscrupulous assailants.
Some allege these crimes are caused by the widespread unemployment and social pressure.
The ‘keepers of tradition’ have been accused of complicity since they are the ones who teach the youth the secrets of their convent. David Coffi Aza, a well-known keeper of the tradition and Fa priest defends himself. “Voodoo cannot cure, it does not harm” he says, “it’s a neutral force.”
In view of the large scale of these atrocities the silence of the authorities is very worrisome.”, Ginette Fleure Adandé reports from Benin.
Le Bénin connaît une montée des crimes “rituels”. Des êtres humains portés disparus sont retrouvés sans vie dans des maisons inhabitées ou dans la brousse.Parfois, ils ne réapparaissent jamais. Ce phénomène serait l’œuvre des nombreux féticheurs autoproclamés qui passent par ces sacrifices pour asseoir leur hégémonie.
Il y a quelques jours, une jeune fille violée et sur le point d’être sacrifiée a été sauvée de la mort par les forces de l’ordre. Cela s’est passé à quelques kilomètres de Porto Novo, la capitale.
“Vers 3 heures du matin, le conseil de sécurité m’a expliqué qu’une fille de 12 ans a été violée”, raconte Michel Bahou, maire de la commune.
Il a ôté la vie à bien de personnes. Au cours de la perquisition à son domicile, des crânes humains et autres organes ont été retrouvés.
Lors de son audition, il a fait des révélations comme l’explique Joël Akondé, un journaliste dont le son jeune frère a été égorgé et vidé de son sang.
“Il a été sauvagement assassiné, égorgé”, confie-t-il à VOA Afrique.
Ces crimes rituels seraient l’œuvre de cybercriminels communément appelés “gaymen”; les nouveaux modèles de réussite sociale qui se servent de leurs richesses pour attirer les jeunes filles, souvent victimes de ces morts violentes.
Le phénomène serait aussi causé par l’inégalité sociale et un chômage accru.
Devant la barbarie des meurtres, les gardiens de la tradition sont souvent montrés du doigt comme étant complices de ce dérapage; pour avoir mis dans les mains des jeunes sans scrupules les secrets de leurs couvents.
Sur la question David Coffi Aza, gardien de la tradition et prêtre du Fâ connu sous le nom géomancie, se défend.
“Aucun vaudou ne peut faire du bien ou du mal, c’est une énergie neutre”, soutient-il.
Face à l’ampleur du phénomène, le silence des autorités est inquiétant.
Another ritual killing case in Nigeria. Even though Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country, by far the largest number of reported ritual murders – locally called ‘money rituals’ – are being committed in this West African country (webmaster FVDK).
Herbalist, wife nabbed for killing stepson for ritual purpose in Ogun State
Published: April 25, 2020 By: Vanguard Nigeria, James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA – Men of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested a herbalist, Lajuwon Ogunleye and two others for alleged conspiracy and murder of a seven-year-old boy, Pelumi Apalaya for ritual purpose in Abigi area of Ogun State.
Other suspects arrested included the herbalist wife, who is also the mother of the deceased, Adetutu Apalaya and Fatai Sefiu.
The command spokesman, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, made this known to newsmen in a statement released in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Oyeyemi said the suspects were arrested following an information received by the police at Abigi divisional headquarters that the seven-year-old boy who did not show any sign of sickness suddenly slumped and died, saying that this aroused the suspicion of people around that the boy might have been used for ritual.
The statement read, “A herbalist, Lajuwon Ogunleye, his wife Adetutu Apalaya and one Fatai Sefiu were on the 22nd of April 2020 arrested by operatives of Ogun State Police Command for conspiracy and murder of a seven-year-old boy Pelumi Apalaya for ritual purpose”.
He added, “upon their suspicion, the people around started monitoring the herbalist who incidentally happened to be the step-father of the deceased boy and his wife who is the mother of the boy”.
“Unknown to them, they were monitored to the bush where they took the victim corpse to for burial in company of the third suspect who is a friend to the herberlist and the boy was buried in an upright position after removing some parts from his corpse”.
“This confirmed the suspicion of the people and they quickly informed the police”.
“Upon the information, the DPO Abigi division SP Tarkighir Joseph led his men to the bush in Iwopin area of Ogun Waterside where the suspects were rounded up”.
“They led policemen to where the victim was buried and it was discovered that the deceased was buried in standing position”.
“On interrogation, the second suspect Fatai Sefiu told the detectives that the boy was actually used for ritual by the stepfather in connivance with the deceased boy’s mother”.
“He stated further that the couple have reached a conclusion before he was coopted into the business”.
“The mother of the victim Adetutu Apalaya who first denied having knowledge of her husband plan to use her son for ritual was dumbfounded when asked whether or not she followed them to the bush where her son was buried and the mode of burial of the boy”.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, CP Kenneth Ebrimson has ordered the immediate transfer of the case to homicide section of the state criminal investigation and intelligence department for further investigation and prosecution.
Ritual murder of a young girl (7) for the purpose of making a ‘magical ointment’
Gracia Prunelle, 7 years old, had disappeared on the night of February 3, 2020. Her mother immediately suspected one of her neighbors, a seller in a liquor store nearby, of involvement in her disappearance, but the man denied, he even went to the police and accused her of ‘character assassination’ and insulting him. However, when the police investigated the mater it was found out that several indications pointed at his involvement. After questioning, the suspect confessed and showed where he had hidden the dead body of the poor girl which had several parts missing. He also revealed the name of an accomplice, who had fled to Adjohoun, in the Ouémé Department, where he was apprehended and jailed on Saturday February 8. The police found out that the extracted body parts – the hearts and brains of the young girl – were meant to be used to make ‘a magical soap and ointment’.
Gracia Prunelle was buried on April 11, 2020 after her parents had finally obtained authorization of local authorities to pick up their daughter’s mortal remains and bury her according to traditional ceremonies. It was an emotional scene when Gracia Prunelle was lowered in her grave. Meanwhile everybody awaits the start of the trial of her murderers somewhere in the near future. (translation by the webmaster FVDK).
Benin: Ritual murder of a young girl (7) for the purpose of making a ‘magical ointment’
Published: April 11, 2020 By: Sene News Publié: le 11 avril 2020 Par: Sene news
Bénin : Vive émotion après le meurtre rituel d’une fillette de 7 ans pour fabriquer une « pommade magique »
Gracia Prunelle, âgée de 7 ans, avait disparu dans la soirée du lundi 03 février 2020. Sa maman avait très tôt soupçonné un employé d’une boutique de vente de liqueurs à proximité. Ce dernier a nié les faits, et s’est même présenté à la police pour porter plainte contre la mère de la petite, pour diffamation.
Mais selon BeninWebTV, comme tous les indices des investigations conduisaient vers lui, la police l’a interpellé. Au cours de l’interrogatoire, il a avoué son crime, avant de conduire la police sur les lieux où il avait caché le corps, dépourvu de certains organes sensibles. Il a par la suite dénoncé son complice qui s’était réfugié à Adjohoun, dans le département de l’Ouémé après l’éclatement de l’affaire. Mais il a été lui aussi arrêté le samedi 8 février 2020 par la police républicaine.
Selon le Procureur, le cœur et l’encéphale, extraits du corps de la victime, devraient rentrer dans la « composition d’un savon et d’une pommade magique ». Tous les regards sont désormais tournés vers le procès prévu pour les mois à venir.
La petite Gracia Prunelle a été inhumée dans la matinée de ce samedi 11 avril 2020. L’environnement était chargé d’émotion ce matin du samedi 11 avril 2020 au domicile des parents de la petite Gracia Prunelle.Les parents avaient finalement eu l’autorisation de retirer le corps de leur fille pour les cérémonies funéraires. La fillette de 07 ans a été inhumée dans l’intimité familiale.
Elle se repose désormais. La petite Gracia Prunelle, cruellement assassinée le 03 février 2020 pour un crime rituel, est inhumée dans la matinée de ce samedi 11 avril 2020.
L’environnement était chargé d’émotion ce matin du samedi 11 avril 2020 au domicile des parents de la petite Gracia Prunelle. Cruellement assassinée le 03 février 2020, les parents ont finalement eu l’autorisation de retirer le corps de leur fille pour les cérémonies funéraires. La fillette de 07 ans a été inhumée ce jour dans l’intimité familiale.
Pour rappel, Gracia Prunelle, âgée de 7 ans, avait disparu dans la soirée du lundi 03 février 2020. Sa maman a très tôt soupçonné un employé d’une boutique de vente de liqueurs à proximité. Ce dernier a nié les faits, et s’est même présenté à la police pour porter plainte contre la mère de la petite, pour diffamation. Mais comme tous les indices des investigations conduisaient vers lui, la police l’a interpellé. Au cours de l’interrogatoire, il a avoué son crime, avant de conduire la police sur les lieux où il avait caché le corps, dépourvu de certains organes sensibles. Il a par la suite dénoncé son complice qui s’était réfugié à Adjohoun, dans le département de l’Ouémé après l’éclatement de l’affaire. Mais il a été lui aussi arrêté le samedi 8 février 2020 par la police républicaine. Selon le Procureur, le cœur et l’encéphale, extraits du corps de la victime, devraient rentrer dans la « composition d’un savon et d’une pommade magique ». Tous les regards sont désormais tournés vers le procès prévu pour les mois à venir.
Below follows an older article, dating from 2018, showing that the awful practice of ritual murder for money ritual purposes is not a recent phenomenon (webmaster FVDK).
Police arrest pastor, 2 others over alleged ritual killing of 19-year old girl in Kogi
Published: June 22, 2018 By: Sundiata Post
Lokoja – Police in Kogi State have arrested a cleric, Oluwasegun Aturu and two others over the suspected ritual killing of a 19-year-old commercial sex worker, Miss Mercy Moses.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP William Aya confirmed the arrest of the suspects to newsmen in Lokoja on Friday.
He said that Aturu who claimed to be the shepherd in charge of Voice of Canaan Temple, Cherubim and Seraphim Aladura Church, Ozuri, in Adavi Local Government Area of the state was arrested on June 19.
He was arrested alongside Samuel Oluwasegun and Abdulmumini Yakubu, all of Ozuri area in the local government, he said.
According to the police, both Oluwasegun and Yakubu were said to have at about 10 pm on June 11 gone to a popular brothel in the council area to pick the late girl to an unknown place.
They were said to have conveyed the deceased out of the brothel on a motorcycle after exchanging pleasantries with the manager of the brothel simply identified as Mohammed.
“The two men then approached one Mercy Moses, one of the commercial sex workers’ residents in the brothel. After discussing with Mercy, she was seen being taken away by the men on a motorcycle.
“When after two days she did not return, the brothel manager, Mohammed reported at a nearby Police Station at Adavi from where the case was taken up by the State Criminal Investigation Department, Lokoja,” the statement said.
He said that police investigation later led to the arrest of Pastor Otaru, Oluwasegun and Yakubu but they all denied the knowledge of Mercy’s whereabouts.
“However, following diligent interrogation by the Homicide Detectives of the State CID, both Oluwasegun and Yakubu opened up to the gory details of how they were hired by the pastor to bring a female for him.
“They confessed that Otaru hired them to bring a female for ritual purposes, promising them N700,000.
“The arrested suspects thereafter led the investigators to an area called Uhodo in Ogaminana area of Adavi where the torso of the remains of Mercy Moses was dug out from a shallow grave,” he said.
According to him, police in a well scripted move was able to track and arrest Pastor Otaru who had since the arrest of his accomplices, fled the neighborhood.
He said that the exhumed remains of the victim were deposited at Okene General Hospital mortuary for autopsy.
On Tuesday, March 10 the Osun State House of Assembly passed into law a bill that made kidnapping, banditry and ritual killing a crime punishable by death. See my March 13, 2020 posting.
Therefore, the following is not surprise. Recently, on Thursday, April 2, an Osun State High Court in Ikirun has sentenced two men to death by hanging for murdering Rofiat Adebisi for money ritual purposes. Rofiat Adebesi was a a student of the Osun State University when she met her untimely death. The following article provides more details though it is not known when the hanging will take place (webmaster FVDK).
2 Men Sentenced To Death For Using Uniosun Final Year Student For Money Ritual (Photos)
Published: April 3, 2020 By: Sundiata Post (Ebere)
An Osun State High Court sitting in Ikirun has sentenced two men to death by hanging for killing one Rofiat Adebisi, who at the time of her death was a student of the Osun State University, Osogbo.
Giving his judgment on Thursday in the trial that lasted almost two and half years, Justice Oyejide Falola, said 25-year-old Elijah Oyebode and Jelili Raji, aka Ifa, 35, should be hanged after he found them guilty of murdering the undergraduate.
The convicts were first arraigned on November 14, 2017, alongside one Yusuf Ajibade on three counts bordering on conspiracy to commit murder and murder contrary to sections 324 and 316, and punishable under sections 319 and 322 of the Criminal Code, Cap.3, Laws of Osun State, 2002.
The prosecution team called five witnesses and tendered exhibits before the court, while the accused testified for themselves.
Giving the facts of the matter, the lead prosecution counsel, Kareem Adekilekun, who appeared with Kemi Oyolola for the Ministry of Justice, said on December 22, 2016, Rofiat, a 400-level student of UniOsun, Ipetu-Ijesa campus, boarded a car driven by Oyebode and went missing.
However, a day after, Rofiat’s dead body was found by the Egbeda/Iragbiji Road.
Following investigation by the police, Ajibade was arrested for selling the deceased’s iPhone to one Kolapo Quadri on the instructions of Oyebode.
When apprehended, Oyebode claimed that Raji hired him to get a lady with the aid of a charm he gave him, which would make the victim to obey all instructions given to her.
Oyebode said Raji paid him N10,000 to bring the victim to his shrine, adding that he hit Rofiat with the charm, while she was putting her luggage in the car.
Giving evidence, a police officer from the Homicide Section of State Criminal Investigation Department, Adeyeye Simon, told the court that Oyebode, a commercial driver plying the Akure-Owena Road, took Rofiat to Raji house’s after he had sex with her.
He also claimed that Rofiat died at Raji’s house, while Oyebode assisted him to dump her remains on the road.
Another witness, Olatomiwa Alade, from the Department of the State Services, said the deceased’s phone was traced to Quadri, who claimed that he bought it from Ajibade.
The counsel for the accused, Suleiman Bello, urged the court to be merciful on his clients.
In his judgment, Justice Falola found Oyebode and Raji guilty of murder and conspiracy, and sentenced them to death by hanging.
The court, however, discharged and acquitted Ajibade on the counts of murder and conspiracy, but sentenced him to two years in prison for receiving stolen property.
Related article: Two to Die by Hanging in Osun for Killing Final Year Student
Published: April 2, 2020 By: Sundiata Post
Abuja – Justice Jide Falola of Osun High Court sitting in Ikirun has sentenced two men to death by hanging for murder.
Falola, in his judgement on Thursday, said the prosecution counsel proved his case against the convicts – Elijah Oyebode, 25, Yusuf Ajibade, 28, and Jelili Raji, 35 – beyond reasonable doubt.
He, however, acquited the second convict, Ajibade, of two-count charge of murder and conspiracy but convicted him on the third count charge of receiving stolen property.
The judge sentenced him to two years imprisonment, while Oyebode and Raji were sentenced to death by hanging.
He also said that the shrine where the deceased was murdered be forfeited to the state government.
The convicts, who were first arraigned on Nov. 14, 2017, pleaded not guilty to three-count-charge of conspiracy to commit murder, murder and stealing preferred against them.
The State Counsel, Mr Kareem Adekilekun, had earlier told the court that the defendants murdered one Miss Rofiat Adebisi, a 400-level student of Osun University, Ipetu-Ijesha, on Dec. 22 2016.
Adekilekun said the offences were contrary to Sections 324 and 316, and punishable under Sections 319 and 322 of the Criminal Code Cap.3 Law of Osun, 2002, respectively.
The prosecution counsel told the court that on that fateful day, the deceased boarded a golf car with Lagos number plate FKJ 636 DL, driven by the first convict, Oyebode.
Adekilekun further told the court that on Dec. 23, 2016, the lifeless body of the deceased was found by the road side along Egbeda road in the state.
He said the convicts were arrested with help of the police through the iPhone 5 of the deceased, which was sold to Ajibade.
Adekilekun said Oyebode, in his confessional statement, said that Raji asked him to supply him a maid.
According to the prosecution counsel, a charm was given to Oyebode by Raji to charm any lady that he will bring and that such lady will be unconscious.
He also explained that in Oyebode confessional statement, he said the charm was used against the deceased.
He said Oyebode thereafter handed the deceased to Raji in his shrine and paid him N10,000.
He also told the court that the confessional statements of the three convicted persons were corroborated by the police, whose report showed that Oyebode had sex with deceased before taking her to Raji’s shrine.
Counsel to convicts, Mr Suleiman Bello, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.(NAN)
The article below is a follow-up to another article by the same reporter, Chris Phiri, in the same newspaper, Zambia Reports, which was earlier published on March 26, 2020 (my posting of March 29, 2020).
Though I haven’t included the comments of readers below, it’s worth reading what the readers think about this disgusting murder and the Zambian police authorities (see the original article – webmaster FVDK).
Body Of Murdered Albino Still Unclaimed
Published: April 5, 2020 By: Chris Phiri – Zambia Reports
The Eastern Province police command has expressed concern over the delay by the relatives of an albino who was found dead without some body parts on March 24. The body was without a tongue, arms and eyes.
Provincial police Commissioner Luckson Sakala said the body had remained unclaimed and is currently at Chipata Central Hospital mortuary.
Mr. Sakala said police suspect that the deceased was taken from somewhere and was just dumped in Chipata. He is appealing to members of the public who could be missing a relative to come forward and identify the body.
The body of the deceased was found near Yamene Farms along the Chipata/Lundazi road.
Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is). However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.
The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).
Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters
GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.
“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”
Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.
It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.
“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”
Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.
“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”
Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.
The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”
The motive to call someone a witch
Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.
Salamatu agreed there is a motive.
“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”
Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.
There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.
Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.
The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.
The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.
“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”
A superstition that sticks
Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.
“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”
Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.
“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”
Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”
Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.
“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”
Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.
“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”
The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.
“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”
Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.
“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”
Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.
“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”
However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.
“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”
Beware, suspicion alone does not count! However, a dismembered body is an indication that a muti murder may have been committed. The truth is that muti murders do occur rather frequently in the region, notably Limpopo Province (webmaster FVDK).
Limpopo police arrest suspect wanted for serious crimes, including body dismemberment
Published: April 8, 2020 By: The Citizen (South Africa)
It is alleged that the man committed the crimes between 2015 and 2019.
A 32-year-old suspect wanted for a string of serious and violent crimes that include rape, burglary and the murder of a man whose body was dismembered, has been arrested.
The arrest was made in Sterkfontein, outside Groblersdal, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.
It is alleged that the man committed the crimes between 2015 and 2019.
In one of the incidents in Legolaneng on 28 September 2016, police were alerted to a murder.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said: “On arrival at the scene, they found the body of a man with multiple injuries and some body parts missing. He was later identified as Thabitha Makola, then aged 62.”
The motive for the killing is unclear but police are investigating whether it was a ritual murder.
“The suspect was subsequently arrested through forensic investigations that followed and was further linked to other four cases of rape and three [of] burglary residence in the area,” Mojapelo added.
The suspect is expected to appear in the Nebo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Allegedly, the eighth (such) killing since 2010. If true, it’s a crying shame. Will it ever stop? People living in fear. Perpetrators who go unpunished. The rule of impunity. And WHY??? (webmaster FVDK)
Girl, 13, found dead in Kisumu in suspected ritual killing
There was chaos on Saturday morning in Nyahera, Kisumu County after police lobbed tear gas canisters as they sought to carry away the body of a 13-year-old girl who was found brutally murdered in a suspected ritual killing.
Angry residents had protested and resisted an earlier attempt by the police to carry away the mutilated body of the Class Seven girl who is alleged to have disappeared at 1pm on Friday, shortly after delivering drinking water to her mother who was tilling her land a few meters from their home.
Residents suspected her murder is part of a ritual killing, citing seven other cases in which they claimed girls aged between eight and 14 years are targeted.
The angry residents had protested that police have not resolved past cases.
Ms Martha Auma, the girl’s mother, said she got alarmed at 6pm when she returned home only to find that her daughter, Tabitha Akinyi, had not returned.
“When I came back home, her siblings told me they had not seen her and thought she was helping me in the farm,” she said.
She immediately informed the chief who initiated a search around the village.
“I could not sleep at night and spent most of my time outside my house hoping she would come back,” said the tearful mother.
She woke up at 5.30am in the morning and went to check if Akinyi had decided to sleep at her friend’s home in the neighbouring village.
“However, on my way back, my heart sank when I heard some people wailing next to my home,” she said.
She dashed to the scene where she found the badly mutilated body of her second born child lying by the roadside, 200 meters from their house.
The body of Akinyi, a Standard Seven pupil at Ogada Primary School, was discovered by a passer-by who raised the alarm.
It is believed that the girl, who was strangled and had injuries on her face, was killed elsewhere and her body dumped at the scene where it was found.
For over six hours, hundreds of residents prevented the police from collecting the body as they complained over the rise similar incidents.
“This is now the eighth [such] killing since 2010,” said Mrs Grace Onyango who called on the police to urgently investigate the mysterious murders.
“We have had enough of this and we will not allow our innocent children to be butchered like animals. There is no need for the police to carry the body since they have so many unresolved cases pending,” said Mr Charles Otieno.
He termed the killings as unusual as the perpetrators only target girls aged eight to 14 years.
“This is [probably] some kind of ritual which must be busted by law enforcement agencies before we take the matter into our own hands,” he said.
Police officers who arrived at the scene were forced to get backup to repulse the villagers who thronged the scene.
Kisumu County Police Commander Ranson Rolmodooni assured the residents that his officers will get to the bottom of the matter and ensure all those involved are arrested.
The body of girl was taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary to await post-mortem.
Incredible news comes to us from Uganda and – maybe even worse – it is not even NEW news. This has been going on for years. According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week. A human sacrifice!
Recently, we have noted a surge in the frequency of ritual murders in Uganda. Read the article below. One wonders why the Ugandan law enforcement authorities do not step up efforts to wage war on the traditional healers who are allegedly implicated in this repulsive practice which thrives where ignorance and superstition rule (webmaster FVDK).
Why Kayunga is an epicentre of human sacrifice, murders
Published: March 26, 2020 By: Daily Monitor – Fred Muzaale
Residents of Kakoola Village, Kitimbwa Sub-County, Kayunga District are recovering from shock they suffered after one of their own was beheaded last week.
Tarsis Mutesasira, 60, was beheaded on March 17 and his head taken by unknown assailants.
Residents discovered Mutesasira’s torso lying in a pool of blood in the bedroom. A week later, police are still hunting his killers.
On the fateful day, neighbours say the deceased, who lived alone in his small house, spent the entire day in his garden tending to his crops.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that Mutesasira murder was an act of human sacrifice and two traditional healers have since been arrested to help police with investigations.
Both suspects practise their trade in Kitimbwa Sub-county.
Mutesasira’s murder is one of the several acts of human sacrifice cases that have occurred in r Kayunga District about 60kms from Kampala city.
Mr Isaac Mugera, the officer in-charge of the criminal investigations in Kayunga District, says they do not know why Kayunga continues to register many cases of murders linked to human sacrifice.
He, however, says the big concentration of traditional healers in the district could be the cause of such increasing acts.
“There are more than 200 traditional healers in this district and our preliminary investigations revealed that many are fake, which could be the reason they engage in unlawful acts,” Mr Mugera says.
He adds: “We have tried to register all the native doctors in the district with a view of weeding out the fake ones but it seems we have not yet succeeded.”
Similar incident Mr Mugera cites a September 2018 incident when traditional healer Owen Ssebuyungo, 27, a resident of Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county, Kayunga District was arrested on charges of human sacrifice.
Security operatives recovered five bodies from his shrine. The bodies were recovered from shallow graves each containing a Shs5,000 note.
The suspect is on remand at Luzira prison and hearing of the case at Mukono High Court is ongoing.
Mr Mugera adds that given the strategic location of the district, wrongdoers from Nakasongola, Kamuli, Luweero, Mukono and other neighbouring districts find it easy to hide in the area and commit such heinous acts.
“It is surprising that many people go to traditional healers when they fall sick, even when their ailments can be treated by medical personnel,” he says.
Mr Mugera reveals that since this year began, police have recorded a total of nine murder cases.
He, however, explains that two of these are suspected to have been acts of human sacrifice.
Last year, a total of 35 murder cases were registered in the area while 29 murder cases were recorded in 2018.
“As police, we have been successful in prosecuting the suspects in most of these cases because there is overwhelming evidence to pin them,” Mr Mugera notes.
Mr Tom Sserwanga, the Kayunga District chairperson, says acts of human sacrifice are rampant in the greater Mukono area that includes Buikwe, Mukono, and Buvuma districts.
“Many people in these districts believe in witchcraft and when they fall sick, they go to witch doctors for treatment,” Mr Sserwanga says.
According to the 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations report, one child is sacrificed every week compared to the seven cases of child sacrifice reported to Uganda Police in 2011. The report adds that people carry out human sacrifice seeking wealth and fortune, among others.
The Kayunga District traditional healers’ association chairperson, Mr Badru Ssemisambwa, however, dismisses the claims that traditional healers are involving in acts of human sacrifice.
“No genuine traditional healer can kill a person. Those who murder people are fake and only masquerade as healers to make money,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
He says they have in the past three years cooperated well with police to arrest and prosecute quack traditional healers but many others keep joining the trade.
“We are planning a fresh registration of all traditional healers and those without proper documents will be arrested and prosecuted,” Mr Ssemisambwa says.
Way forward The Kayunga Resident District Commissioner, Ms Kikomeko Mwanamoiza, says they are working with local leaders and security organs to wipe out the vice.
Ms Mwanamoiza expressed concern over the rampant acts of human sacrifice in the area, adding that there is need to sensitise residents.
“ It is a pity that a big number of people spend most of their time visiting shrines and some are forced to part with their hard-earned money in the name of pleasing their gods,” she says.
Background Call for regulation. The number of traditional healers who engage in criminal acts are increasing by the day, not only in Kayunga but in other districts too.
Several local leaders in many districts in central region have on several occasions urged Parliament to regulate activities of traditional healers, accusing many of duping their gullible clients.
Jailed. The High Court sitting in Mukono in 2018 handed a 40-year jail term to a man and his daughter-in-law after finding them guilty of human sacrifice.
In February last year, police in Luweero District with the help of residents stormed shrines belonging to a prominent traditional healer in Butiikwa Village, Kikyusa Sub-county in Luweero District and set nine of the ablaze, after he was accused of killing a resident in a suspected ritual murder.
When police confronted the traditional healer in a bid to search his shrines, he put up strong resistance but was overpowered.
Police found a mutilated human body and hundreds of human bones from eight shallow graves.
During interrogation at police , the suspect said his accomplices took a adult male to his shrine for ritual sacrifice.
In March 2018, police recovered a headless body dumped at Kalongo Miti Cell, Kizito Zone in Luweero Town Council.