South Africa: employees blow whistle on ritual murder by bosses ‘to promote business’ (2006 case)

A chilling account of a ritualistic murder by unscrupulous businessmen who wanted to promote their businesses. In this case, justice delayed has not resulted in ‘justice denied’. A triumph for the rule of law in South Africa.

‘Better late than never’.

Warning: the following article contains graphic details which may upset some readers (webmaster FVDK)

Employees blow whistle on ritual murder by bosses ‘to promote business’

A witness says he came forward 16 years later because he suffered from nightmares and would hear voices.

From left Joshua Hlako, Marcus Makgatho, Amanda Makgatho and Khumbelo Mabirimisa who have been sentenced for the murder of Ronny Makgatho. 
Image: Suppied: NPA

Published: November 2, 2023
By: Shonisani Tshikalange, TimesLIVE – South Africa

Two Limpopo businessmen and their accomplices have been jailed after their employees testified how a man was kidnapped, his body dismembered, packed and taken to various businesses to “promote their prosperity”.

The victim, Ronny Makgatho, was taken from Soshanguve to Limpopo in 2006 for the ritual murder.

The Polokwane high court has now convicted and sentenced the two businessmen, Joshua Phuthi Hlako and Marcus Maropeng Makgatho, and their co-accused, Amanda Makgatho and Khumbelo Mabirimisa.

Judge Gerrit Muller sentenced Hlako, Marcus Makgatho and Mabirimisa to 22 years’ imprisonment for murder, seven years for kidnapping and four years for defeating the ends of justice. The female accomplice was sentenced to seven years direct imprisonment for kidnapping.

The National Prosecuting Authority said Ronny Makgatho was killed in Seshego by Hlako and Amanda Makgatho with their co-accused Mabirimisa, after being abducted in Soshanguve.

Hlako had transport, farming and sale of liquor businesses. Marcus Makgatho was in hospitality.

Ronny Makgatho was Amanda and Marcus’s cousin.

During the trial, the court heard that the first state witness, who was testifying in return for indemnity from prosecution under section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act, had reported the crime after 16 years.

“He testified that he worked for businessman Hlako since 2001 and that all that he was directed to do [participating in the ritual murder] formed part and parcel of his duties. This was put to him to establish why he never reported this matter to the police. He testified that the reason is that his employer Hlako is connected to the SAPS in Seshego, and he was scared that what happened to the deceased could happen to him, an assertion that was never challenged by Hlako,” said NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi Dzhangi.

The witness said when he approached the police to report the offence, his fear was confirmed as he was detained, she said. No charges were subsequently levelled against him and he was released. He felt he could not make further attempts to report his boss as he feared the police.

“He was adamant that he was part of the team, and he did it under the instructions of his boss Hlako. He decided later to tell the truth because he suffered from nightmares and would also hear voices.” 

Malabi Dzhangi said a second witness also worked for Hlako.

“Both witnesses testified that on the day of the incident, they were with Hlako, Marcus, Mabirimisa and an unknown lady. Knives were brought into the shack, and Hlako was giving instructions.”

One of the group was instructed to write Ronny’s name in a notebook before they killed him in a shack at Hlako’s homestead.

“The body of the deceased was dismembered, packed and taken to various businesses to promote the prosperity of the business,” she said.

In aggravation of sentence, advocate Kobus Jacobs said the actions of the accused affected the lives of the deceased’s family, relatives, and friends.

The NPA has welcomed the sentence which director of public prosecutions advocate Ivy Thenga said would send a strong message to ritual murderers that the justice system will not tolerate any form of violence against humankind.

The court ordered that the sentences run concurrently with the sentence of murder.

Source: Employees blow whistle on ritual murder by bosses ‘to promote business’

More:

Spilling the beans: workers disclose ritual murder where a man was killed and cut up to boost business

Published: November 2, 2023
By: Jonisayi Maromo, Independent Online (IOL)

Source: Spilling the beans: workers disclose ritual murder where a man was killed and cut up to boost business

Liberia: man narrowly escapes attempted ritualistic murder – suspected link with forthcoming elections (October 10)

Warning: the following story’s graphic content and photo may upset the reader.

One of Liberia’s best and most reliable newspapers, FrontPageAfrica, yesterday published a harrowing and scaring report on an attempted kidnapping, presumably for ritualistic purposes. It all happened in Paynesville, Greater Monrovia, Montserrado County, around 3:00 a.m. last Thursday, September 21.

When hearing or reading about alleged or attempted ritualistic murders I am always wary of the danger of jumping too soon to conclusions. But certain details of the story which the aimed victim Sherman Cooper tells us are very realistic: the black, unmarked car, a Nissan Pathfinder, the way he managed to escape from his agressors, as observed by an eyewitness, and above all his wounds, the cutting marks around his neck and another on his genitals. Moreover, and the author of the article, Lennart Dodoo, also mentions this explicitly, it is election time in Liberia: ‘Ritualistic killings during elections are not a new phenomenon in Liberia.’

Last week I put the spotlight on Dr. Alan White’s testimony before a subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives when the former Chief Investigator of the Special Court for Sierra Leone focused on the frequency of ritual murders in Liberia and the alleged link with the Weah Administration, notably the Office of the President.

It sounds unreal, in the 21st century, but we cannot close our eyes for the at times brutal reality. Investigations into real or alleged ritual killings very often fizzle out in Liberia, reportedly because of the alleged, suspected or real involvement of ‘big shots’ (politicians, high-ranking government officials or other highly-placed Liberians) – similar to investigations into alleged or real corruption.

We’ll see whether we ever hear more about this case…
(webmaster FVDK)

Liberia: Man Narrowly Escapes Attempted Ritualistic Murder; Brother Abducted by Kidnappers, Still Missing

Published: September 27, 2023
By: Lennart Dodoo – FrontPageAfrica, Liberia

MONROVIA – Saved by an act of bravery but severely wounded, Sherman Cooper, a victim of an alleged kidnapping and attempted ritualistic killing, now wonders about the whereabouts of his brother, Michael, whom the alleged kidnappers escaped with.

Sherman jumped out of the black, unmarked speeding Nissan Pathfinder, which had given him and his brother a lift from Paynesville, near the Fabulous opposite Bethesda.

FrontPageAfrica has confirmed that Sherman is currently receiving medical attention at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center’s trauma unit.

Some residents of the area and eyewitnesses say the unmarked black Nissan Pathfinder is often seen patrolling the VOA area in Paynesville.

An eyewitness who was driving behind the speeding SUV said he saw Sherman jump out of the moving vehicle. He said the kidnappers looked foreign and suspected them of being Burkinabe.

In a video seen by FrontPageAfrica, Sherman, who was stark naked and bloody, is seen with cutting marks around his neck and another on his genitals. He also sustained severe injuries on his knee, head, forehead, back, buttock, and thigh.

He is heard wailing, “I’m in pain, oh, I’m in pain, oh. Y’all help me. They carried my brother. They’re going to kill my brother. Y’all, please carry me to the hospital.”

He added, “The people put the windshield [glass] up, I fought. The passenger seat behind [extra cabin seat in the trunk] and two people were sitting behind we didn’t know. When we sat, that’s when they… I said ooh they want to kill us.”

FrontPageAfrica learned that the police and security authorities have been interrogating Sherman as the whereabouts of Michael remain unknown.

According to the eyewitness who saw Sherman jumping down from the car, he stopped his car and observed when he saw Sherman jump from the car. “He started crawling towards me, crying ‘Please help me, please help me,’” he explained.

This happened around Rehab.

According to the eyewitness, the incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. last Thursday. In his narrative, he said Sherman and his brother were supposed to alight at Rehab, but as the vehicle approached Rehab, it increased its speed, and that’s when Sherman and his brother started fighting.

“The guys put a rope around their necks. They had two guys in the back seat, so they put a rope around their necks, and they started fighting. But he was fighting for his life, so he managed to hold on to the glass, and they tried to put the glass up, but his hands were already between the glass, so he managed to pull the glass down with strength while they were concentrating on taking off his private part, and he managed to jump through the window while they were at the junction,” the eyewitness explained.

Ritualistic killings during elections are not a new phenomenon in Liberia. In 2021, a UN human rights expert called on the government to investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.

At least 10 people were killed in unclear circumstances in December 2021, including five in September, reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations.

Last week, Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, delivered a compelling testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, addressing the pressing issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, with a particular focus on Liberia. Dr. White shed light on the Foundation’s mission to combat human rights violations, including ritualistic killings and the alarming allegations linking these acts to high-ranking government officials, including the Executive Mansion.

In his testimony, Dr. White detailed the challenges faced in gathering information and conducting investigations into ritualistic killings, emphasizing the danger faced by sources who dare to speak out against these crimes.

Dr. White’s testimony also touched upon recent cases of ritualistic killings in Liberia, such as the mysterious disappearance of three young men hired for a task in Bong County in October 2020 by the St. Moses Funeral Home. The bodies of these young men were never returned to their families, and investigations into their deaths remain unresolved, raising suspicions of involvement by influential individuals with close government ties.

“The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain,” he said.

He also linked the past regime to acts of ritualistic killings, saying, “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings, and despite vows to bring them to an end, they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration, and unlike Sirleaf, there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings.”

A graphic picture showing the injuries Sherman Cooper sustained. He’s currently receiving medical attention in the trauma unit of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center

Source: Liberia: Man Narrowly Escapes Attempted Ritualistic Murder; Brother Abducted by Kidnappers, Still Missing

Liberia – counties

Dr. Alan White, Former Chief Investigator of the SCSL, on ritual abuse in Sierra Leone and Liberia, links the Weah Administration to extrajudicial, ritualistic killings

A few days ago, on September 19, an important meeting took place in the United States, in the House of Representatives to be precise. A subcommittee on global human rights, of the Commission of Foreign Affairs, held a hearing on ‘Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa’.

Witnesses invited to speak were Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International, Dr. Alan White, Co-Executive Director, Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights and former Chief of Investigations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL, which sentenced former Liberian warlord and president Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison), and Josephine Aparo, Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission.

At least three leading Liberian newspapers published articles on the hearing, revelations and accusations notably of Dr. Alan White, who linked immediate past and present Liberian governments to ritualistic killings. The three articles – in the Daily Observer, Front Page Africa, and The New Dawn – are reproduced below. In a separate posting I will pay attention to the testimonies of the other witnesses.

The responsibility for the reporting on Dr. Alan White’s testimony in the three Liberian newspapers rests entirely with the publishers of said newspapers. White’s testimony addresses the roles of former president Sirleaf (2006 – 2018) and president Weah (2018 – present) and he formulates his observations and conclusions carefully. The newspapers’ headings are meant to attract the attention of the readers (buyers), without nuance. Therefore and to avoid any misunderstanding about White’s statements I’ve also included the full text of his important testimony (below).

Dr. White, who – as Chief Investigator of the SCSL – has extensive knowledge of ritualistic practices and abuses which occurred in Sierra Leone during this country’s civil war (1991-2002), also referred to these atrocities in his testimony. Moreover, he said, “This practice continues today in Sierra Leone and surges during election periods where people running for office believe that sacrificing a person, mostly younger boys and girls because it is believed the younger they are, the more power they get.”

With respect to Liberia he provides more than one example of ritualistic abuse and murder. His most serious accusation addresses the previous Administration of President Sirleaf and the present Weah Administration: “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings. However, we have received information that current administration has been linked to ritualistic killings of children. Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get to close to those involved. Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim.” 

White could hardly be more specific when stating: “The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain.” 

On October 10, presidential and legislative elections will be held in Liberia. Should I add more?
(webmaster FVDK).

Liberia: Alan White Accuses Weah’s Gov’t of Extrajudicial, Ritualistic Killings

…. Calls for justice for murdered auditors, three missing boys resound at U.S. Congressional hearings

Piublished: September 20, 2023
By: William Q. Harmon – Daily Observer, Liberia

Renowned human rights activist and Co-Executive Director for the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights (AFHR), Dr. Alan White has told the United States House Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs that President George Weah and his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) are involved in acts of extrajudicial and ritualistic killing.

Addressing the subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, under the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dr. White said that at least 10 people were killed in unclear circumstances in 2021, including five in September of that year reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations.

The killings referenced by Dr. White, all of which occurred during the Weah administration, were never solved and remain fresh on the minds of Liberians as the country goes to the polls on October 10 this year, to elect a president, vice president and 88 legislators. 

On December 10, 2021, the United Nations issued a public statement –“A UN human rights expert today called on the Liberian Government to promptly investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.” 

White told the subcommittee that his organization has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities, he said, are difficult to obtain. 

“Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get too close to those involved,” White told the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations at a hearing on Tuesday, 19 September.  “Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim.”

White called on the U.S. government and global partners for the prosecution for these heinous crimes. “The killing must stop and hope your legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” he told the subcommittee. 

White’s AFHR, a nonprofit organization, located in Washington, DC, USA, targets human rights violators, that engage in public corruption and seek justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities. The group is also actively engaged in conducting investigations and compiling information about those individuals who are committing ritualistic killings, especially in Liberia.

In his testimony, White made specific references to the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were hired by Moses Ahossouhe, owner of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor in Monrovia, to undertake a task in Bong County; the high profile death of four auditors; as well as other mysterious deaths that took place in the country under the Weah administration. 

On October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa  Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuamah District, lower Bong County, when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized.

“The bodies of the three young men were retrieved by Ahoussouhe and never returned to the parents. He has close ties to the President and the government,” White told the committee. “And the Ministry of Justice has failed to provide an update or release the outcome of an investigative report on circumstances that led to the conclusion they drowned. Why didn’t they release the bodies to the family?” 

The aggrieved families believed that their children are being kept in a sacred place to be used for alleged ‘ritualistic purposes’. The family members sought the assistance of the international community, including the US Embassy and the United Nations.”

Three of the most recent victims were either former officials or had links to high profile former politicians, he said. “Even a recent death of some young girls involved in political campaign event held by the CDC sparked outrage by the citizens and allegations their deaths were done for ritualistic reasons,” he said while referencing the headline of a local newspaper which said: Citizens to President Weah: ‘No ritual can help you from leaving office after the elections.’ 

White noted that the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. “The same problems continue under the Weah administration and, unlike Sirleaf, there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings,” he said.

Over the past 20 years White has been actively engaged in seeking justice and accountability for victims of human rights violations and conducting criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Africa, most specifically West Africa. From July 2002-July 2005, he was detailed to the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone located in Freetown, Sierra Leone West Africa where he served as the Chief of Investigations. 

“As Chief of Investigations of the Special  Court for Sierra Leone, I directed all criminal investigations which led to numerous indictments and convictions, most notably was former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes and continues to serve his 50 year prison sentence.” 

White was one of four witnesses who testified during the hearing on the theme: “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa” on Tuesday, September 19, 2023. The others were Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries; Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International; and Josephine Aparo, Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission. 

He applauded the work of the Subcommittee and its members, noting that his organization will continue to work on the issues. “We hope that this Hearing will shed a very bright light on a very dark issue plaguing many African countries and especially Liberia, who experienced this despicable crime against humanity during war and peace, yet it doesn’t stop,” he said. 

His testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee is the latest deposit in a trove of numerous reports with claims of crime and corruption on the part of the Weah administration. So far, some of these claims have resulted in sanctions against three of Weah’s top lieutenants — former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill; former Solicitor General, Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus; and former Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Bill Twehway. 

Yet, amid the U.S. sanctions, the three individuals continue to wield influence across the country — especially during the current election period, as Both McGill and Twehway are splurging cash to gain favor with voters in order to be elected to legislative office come October 10. 

Dr. White’s hope that the U.S. Congress’ “…  legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” might resonate with many Liberians at home and abroad, but the October 10 elections will be the litmus test of whether the critical mass of Liberians at home feel the same way about the state of affairs in their country.

Source: Liberia: Alan White Accuses Weah’s Gov’t of Extrajudicial, Ritualistic Killings

AND:

Liberia: Dr. Alan White Highlights Ritualistic Killings in Liberia before U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee; Links Immediate Past and Current Government

Published: September 20, 2023
By: Lennart Dodoo – Front Page Africa, Liberia

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, delivered a compelling testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, addressing the pressing issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, with a particular focus on Liberia. Dr. White shed light on the Foundation’s mission to combat human rights violations, including ritualistic killings and the alarming allegations linking these acts to high-ranking government officials, including the Executive Mansion.

The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been dedicated to targeting human rights violators, exposing public corruption, and advocating for justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities.

Others who testified before the Committee headed by Congressman Chris Smith Obed Byamugisha, Program Advisor, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries; Miriam Fullah, Trafficking in Persons Protection Manager, World Hope International; Josephine Aparo
Founding Member, Global Survivor Network and International Justice Mission.

In his testimony, Dr. White detailed the challenges faced in gathering information and conducting investigations into ritualistic killings, emphasizing the danger faced by sources who dare to speak out against these crimes.

Dr. White’s credentials as Chief of Investigations for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, where he directed criminal investigations leading to numerous indictments and convictions, lent significant weight to his testimony. He notably highlighted the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes, serving a 50-year prison sentence.

Screenshot – to watch the video, click here

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the devastating civil war in Sierra Leone, spanning from 1991 to 2002, which resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people. Dr. White’s investigations led him to neighboring Liberia, which also experienced two brutal civil wars, resulting in the deaths of over 250,000 Liberians.

During his tenure as Chief of Investigations, Dr. White bore witness to unspeakable human rights violations perpetrated through ritualistic activities, a phenomenon he had not encountered before. He recounted a chilling story from 2002, where a 70-year-old man seeking a political position in a local Village, believed in black magic and sacrificed a 9-year-old boy to gain power. This horrifying act shed light on the prevalence of ritualistic killings in West Africa, where individuals commission murders to obtain body parts for magic spells and gain political power.

The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain.

Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights

Dr. White’s testimony revealed the widespread practice of ritualistic killings during Sierra Leone’s civil war, with various rebel groups and warring factions, such as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and the Civil Defense Force (CDF), routinely engaging in such acts. He described how rebels would boast about consuming the organs of their victims, believing it granted them supernatural power.

Importantly, Dr. White highlighted that ritual killings persist in Sierra Leone today, often escalating during election periods when some politicians believe they can gain power through human sacrifices. These alarming practices have also been reported in Liberia, where ritualistic killings are a combination of traditional beliefs and the criminal behavior of unscrupulous politicians.

Liberia has a history of ritualistic killings during its civil wars, with figures like Milton Blahyi, also known as ‘General Butt Naked’, publicly admitting to eating children’s hearts and taking part in human sacrifices to ensure victory in battle.

Dr. White’s testimony also touched upon recent cases of ritualistic killings in Liberia, such as the mysterious disappearance of three young men hired for a task in Bong County in October 2020 by the St. Moses Funeral Home. The bodies of these young men were never returned to their families, and investigations into their deaths remain unresolved, raising suspicions of involvement by influential individuals with close government ties.

“The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain,” he said.

He also linked the past regime to acts of ritualistic killings, saying “The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings.”

Dr. White commended the Subcommittee for its work and called for a thorough examination of the issue of ritualistic killings in Africa, especially in Liberia. He urged legislation that could bring an end to these heinous crimes, emphasizing the importance of exposing those involved and prosecuting them for their actions. The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights remains committed to addressing this dark issue plaguing many African countries and hopes that the Subcommittee’s efforts will help put an end to these atrocities once and for all.

Source: Liberia: Dr. Alan White Highlights Ritualistic Killings in Liberia before U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee; Links Immediate Past and Current Government

AND:

The killings must stop! 

— Dr. Alan White asks U.S. for prosecution of those in ritualistic killings in Liberia

Published: September 20, 2023
By: New Dawn, Liberia

The U.N. former chief investigator for the special court of Sierra Leone, Dr. Alan White is requesting prosecution for ritualistic killings and despicable crimes against humanity in Liberia during war and in peace, saying “the killings must stop.”

Dr. Alan briefed U.S. lawmakers in Washington Tuesday, 19 September 2023, giving historical accounts of recent killings and those carried out during Liberia’s civil war for ritualistic purposes.

“Those involved need to be exposed and prosecuted for these heinous crimes. The killings must stop, and we hope that through legislature can effect change and stop this madness once and for all,” said Dr. White.

Dr. White indicated that former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration was plagued with ritualistic killings, and the same problem continues under incumbent President George Manneh Weah’s administration.

Unlike Sirleaf’s administration, Dr. White said, there was no insider reporting on her direct involvement on ritualistic killings.

However, he said he has received information that President Weah’s administration is being linked to the ritualistic killings of children.

He said sources have revealed that the police are only allowed to investigate these matters in a conspicuous but very superficial manner.

Dr. White explained that notable of these cases is the incident involving victims Robert Blamo, Jr., 29, Siafa Boimah, 33 and Blama, who went missing after being hired by St. Moses Funeral Parlor proprietor Mr. Moses Ahoussouhe to undertake a contract in Bong Mines.

Mr. Ahoussouhe was accused of hiring the three men on Saturday, 15 October 2020 to travel to Bong Mines to do technical work for him at his diamond creek when all three of them went missing. They were alleged to have drowned when a canoe they were riding in had capsized.

Dr. White said Ahoussouhe (St. Moses) retrieved the bodies of the three young men but they were never returned to their parents.

“He has close ties with the president and the Government of Liberia, and through the Ministry of Justice, he has contact as well. They failed to provide update or release the outcome of the investigation or report on the circumstances that led to the conclusion [that] they drowned,” said Dr. White.

Dr. White indicated that the aggrieved families believe that their children are being kept in a secret place to be used for ritualistic purposes.

He said the family members sought the assistance of the international community including the U.S. Embassy and the United Nations, leading the UN to call on the Liberian government to investigate killings which had been reported to link to ritual practice.

In 2021 alone, Dr. White said at least ten people were killed, reportedly linked to ritualistic killing or political motivation.

He added that they were either former officials or had links to former politicians. White noted that recent deaths involving some girls during President George Manneh Weah’s 2023 political campaign outraged the citizens.

He said the allegation is that the killings were done for ritualistic reasons. He also referenced citizens’ message to President Weah which was carried in the NewDawn newspaper’s headline that no amount of money or rituals can help President Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change from leaving office after the 10 October 2023 elections.

Dr. White said his organization will continue to work on these issues in African countries, especially Liberia which experiences despicable crimes against humanity during war and in peace.

He recalled that during the 14 years civil war in Liberia, there were so many cases where gunmen, some of them child soldiers, ate victims’ body parts.

He stated that it was well documented that during Liberia’s civil war, ritualistic killing was a common place, naming Gen. Butt Naked, now Evangelist Milton Blayee as of the notorious culprits.

According to Dr. White, Mr. Blayee testified before Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that he ate children’s hearts.

He said Blayee indicated that human sacrifices were intended to ensure victories in battles.

Source: The killings must stop!
– Dr. Alan White asks U.S. for prosecution of those in ritualistic killings in Liberia

AND:

Full text of the Testimony Submitted to The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations – “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa” – September 19, 2023 – 10:00 a.m.
Statement of Dr. Alan W. White,
Co-Executive Director – Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights – Washington, D.C. and Founding Chief of Investigations of the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

First of all I would like to the thank Chairman Congressman Chris Smith and Ranking Member Congresswoman Susan Wild, of the U.S. House of Representatives Global Health, Global Human Rights, International Organizations and other members of this Subcommittee for holding this very important hearing. I also want to publicly commend Congressman Smith for his tireless and unwavering efforts in seeking justice and accountability for countless victims of human rights violations from around the Globe. You provide a voice that otherwise would go unheard and a platform to those victims, who have suffered and continue to suffer with no one to turn to. Your steadfast support is globally recognized and very much needed in these troubled times we live in, and where so many atrocities are being committed around the world. 

I am the Co-Executive Director for the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, a non- profit organization, located in Washington, DC. The Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights targets human rights violators, that engaged in public corruption and justice and accountability for the victims of such atrocities. We are actively engaged in conducting investigations and compiling information about those individuals who are committing ritualistic killings, especially in Liberia. The Foundation has received disturbing information about the frequency of such killings and the allegations linking it to the Executive Mansion (The Office of the President) and other high-ranking government officials. Details of these atrocities are difficult to obtain. 

Sources to the Foundation are endangered just by speaking out – and I will discuss this later in my testimony. 

Over the past 20 years I have been actively engaged in seeking justice and accountability for victims of human rights violations and conducting criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the continent of Africa, most specifically West Africa. During my last 3 years of Federal Law Enforcement service from July 2002-July 2005, I was detailed to the United Nations backed Special Court for Sierra Leone located in Freetown, Sierra Leone West Africa where I served as the Chief of Investigations. As Chief of Investigations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone I directed all criminal investigations which led to numerous indictments and convictions, most notably was former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was the first sitting Head of State to be indicted and convicted for war crimes and continues to serve his 50 year prison sentence. 

The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established to investigate and prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibilty for the civil war in Sierra Leone, which lasted from March 1991 to January 2002 and resulted in the deaths of over 70,000 people. Our investigations led us to neighboring Liberia which had suffered two civil wars, the first from December 1989 to August 1997 and then again in 1999 to 2003 where over 250,000 Liberians were killed. 

While serving as the Chief of Investigations I witnessed and investigated some of the most horrific and unspeakable human rights violations no one could ever imagine that someone could inflict on another human being. The horrors of civil war are always tragic, however, to see those involved in the commission of killing and torturing another human being by engaging in ritualistic activities was something I had not seen before and quite frankly prepared to deal with. Yet shortly after I arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone I recall in August 2002 a news story where a 70-year-old man seeking to become a Paramount Chief of a local Village, a political position in traditional system of local government and an integral element of governance, was convicted of a ritualistic killing. I learned quickly that ritualistic killings were common place, particularly in West Africa. This story reported the man seeking to become a Paramount Chief believed in black magic and in order to get elected he needed to sacrifice a young child and in this case he bought a 9-year old boy for 800,000 leones ($160) from a family desperate for money.  

Reportedly he gruesomely killed the 9-year-old boy by slitting his throat and removing his liver and taking some blood to local witch doctors in the neighboring country of Guinea where they would use in making a liquid concoction he could drink and give him what is known as “Juju”. This was a term I learned later meant power and used in ritualistic killings by rebels fighting in the civil wars, both in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Suprisingly, I learned that ritual killings or human sacrifices to local deities were customary in parts of West Africa, where some people commission killings to obtain body parts for magic spells to gain political power and influence. 

Early on during my criminal investigations of war crimes and crimes against in Sierra Leone I heard routinely about ritualistic killings involving the various rebel group and warring factions in Sierra Leone, which included the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Civil Defense Force (CDF). 

The war started in Kailahun, so we started our investigations in that part of the country where we uncovered numerous mass graves and in most cases the victims were civilians, including children. Their identities were mostly unknown, although some names were given. However, our witness interviews revealed that the RUF or RUF/AFRC were identified as the alleged perpetrator. 

There were several causes of death of the victims reported including they were locked in houses and burnt, “ritual human sacrifice for protection” and gunshot and knife wounds. One of the witnesses interviews I recall involved a female RUF ex-child combatant, who advised that ritual killings were routinely practiced on enemy fighters or on civilians, including children. Sadly, the rebels from the various warring factions would boast about killing their enemy, many of which were young child soldiers, and eating their heart, drinking their blood, or eating other body parts claiming they received extra power from doing so. 

This practice continues today in Sierra Leone and surges during election periods where people running for office believe that sacrificing a person, mostly younger boys and girls because it is believed the younger they are, the more power they get. The Voice of America (VOA) in Freetown in 2012 reported on the so-called ritual murders during election time and have been a part of African society for centuries. “In Sierra Leone, some believe ritual murders increase  during election time because some politicians think they will gain political power from another human’s body parts.” 

Chief Minister, NaCSA Boss Indicted in Attempted Ritual Murder of Virgins Girls in Freetown (sierraloaded.sl) 

In October 2021 a senior government official, who reported to the President of Sierra Leone was indicted for an attempted ritual murder of six “Virgin Girls” in Freetown. The Chief Minister in Sierra Leone has been accused of forcing a primary school teacher to kidnap six virgin schoolgirls for ritualistic purposes. Fortunately, the plot was foiled when one of the whistleblowers came forward and reported it to the police which led to the Chief Minister’s arrest and indictment. However, reportedly he was released from custody while the investigation continued and to date no prosecution has occurred. 

Dr Fred P.M. VAN DER KRAAIJ, author of a blog known as liberiapastandpresent.org, who lived and worked in Liberia as an Economist has chronicled a number of the ritualistic killings and other significant events in Liberia. In one of his blogs, he writes — “Today’s practice of ritual killings in Liberia – because it still exists! – mainly is a combination of traditional beliefs which inspire men-eating and modern-day criminal behavior of unscrupulous politicians who consider their ambitions worth more than the life of their victims. During the 14-year civil war (1989-2003) there were so many cases of gunmen – some of them child soldiers – eating their victim’s hearts and other body parts that the Catholic Church issued a formal denunciation of these practices (Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy, 1999: dust jacket). Liberia.” 

It is well documented that during the civil wars in Liberia that ritual killings were commonplace and one of the most notorious rebels engaged in such horrific acts, is Milton Blahyi aka General Butt Naked, a feared former Rebel Commander who fought in the Liberian civil war. He testified before the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) where he publicly stated “I ate children’s hearts,” and admitted to taking part in human sacrifices as part of traditional ceremonies intended to ensure victory in battle. He also told BBC that his forces his forces had killed over 20,000 people. 

During the first civil war (1989-1996) there were also other reports about Charles Taylor and his rebels accounts reportedly the formation of a group of cannibals called Top 20 of which he was a member. Reportedly the group, comprised of Taylor and 16 rebels of his own army known as the National Patriotic Front for Liberia (NPFL) engaged in human sacrifices at Taylor’s house. 

On December 10, 2004, BBC publicly reported Hundreds of Liberian women had taken to the streets of the capital, Monrovia, protested against a recent wave of ritual killings. Bodies of children had been found with some of their organs missing, taken for what are viewed as magical properties. These killings were reportedly linked to politicians and the wealthy, who many believe to pay for the murders to increase their chances of good fortune. 

There were other media reports documenting, including the Analyst, the discovery of the bodies of two unidentified children around the Du River area. One of the victims was a girl believed to be 12 years old. The media reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the body was discovered with “fresh blood coming from its mouth and nose.” 

The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration during her 12 years (2006-2018) in office was plagued with ritual killings and despite vows to bring them to an end they continued. The same problems continue under the Weah administration and unlike Sirleaf there were no insiders reporting her direct involvement with the ritual killings. However, we have received information that current administration has been linked to ritualistic killings of children. Sources advise the police are not allowed to investigate these matters or if they do, it is done superficially as to not get to close to those involved. Also, because of the high-level links to the government it is taboo to say anything about it or otherwise you could be the next victim. 

One of the most notable allegations of ritualistic killings involve the mysterious disappearance of three young men who were hired by the Proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlor to undertake a task in Bong County. On October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr, 29, Siafa Gbana Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, were reported drowned in a river in Fuama district, lower Bong County when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized while returning to their respective homes. They were reportedly contracted to do a, “piece of job” at the Oriental mining company owned and operated by Mr. Moses H. Ahossouhe (Proprietor of St. Moses Funeral Parlour), and one Mr. Abraham S. Samuels. It was reported by Mr. Ahoussouhe that the three young men drowned. The bodies were retrieved by Mr. Ahoussouhe and never returned to the parents. He has close ties to the President and the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Justice has failed to provide an update or release the outcome of an investigative report on circumstances that led to the conclusion they drowned. Why didn’t they release the bodies to the family? 

The aggrieved families believed that their children are being kept in a sacred place to be used for alleged “ritualistic purposes.” The family members sought the assistance of the international community, including the US Embassy and the United Nations. 

On December 10, 2021, the United Nations issued a public statement –“ A UN human rights expert today called on the Liberian Government to promptly investigate a series of killings that have occurred this year, some of which have reportedly been linked to ritualistic practices.” 

At least 10 people have been killed in unclear circumstances in 2021, including five in September reportedly with suspected links to ritualistic practices or political motivations. According to information received by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball-Binzthree of the most recent victims were either former officials or had links to high profile former politicians. 

Even a recent death of some young girls involved in political campaign event held by the CDC sparked outrage by the citizens and allegations their deaths were done for ritualistic reasons. The local headlines read – Liberia – Citizens to President Weah: ‘No ritual can help you from leaving office after the elections.’ 

On August 24, 2023, the New Dawn News reported Several residents of Montserrado County have told incumbent President George Manneh Weah that no amount of alleged human sacrifice, ritual, and money can prevent him and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) from leaving office. 

“We want to tell President Weah that no amount of human sacrifice, ritual, and money can help in this election,” potential voters said in Montserrado County.” 

The foundation will continue to work on this issue and applauds the work of this Subcommittee and its members. We hope that this Hearing will shed a very bright light on a very dark issue plaguing many African countries and especially Liberia who experienced this despicable crime against humanity during war and peace, yet it doesn’t stop. Those involved  need to be exposed and prosecuted for these heinous crimes. The killing must stop and hope your legislation can effect change and stop this madness once and for all. 

Source: Testimony Submitted to The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on
Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations – “Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa”; September 19, 2023 – 10:00 a.m. – Statement of Dr. Alan W. White, Co-Executive Director, Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights, Washington, D.C.

Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out – an atrocious crime committed in Lofa County, Liberia, in 1993

Warning: the following article contains a graphic description of an inhumane act

I’ve written on an earlier occasion on the atrocities, ritualistic murders, cannibalism and other war crimes committed during Liberia’s civil war – for shortness sake let me refer to my October 20, 2022 posting, entitled ‘Atrocities, witchcraft, superstition and ritualistic cannibalism during Liberia’s First Civil War (1989-1997)‘.

There’s not much to add without risking repeating myself. Let me just briefly mention what I consider the triple motive of the perpetrator(s): first, to intimidate the bystander, the perceived enemy; secondly, to make clear that he, the actor, is the strongest, the conquerer, and thirdly, without doubt, there is a religious or superstitious drive, a belief in the supernatural powers of eating the heart of the enemy. Notably the latter motive makes it a ritualistic act, and murder, a despicable crime.

The 2009 report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) includes many examples of ritualistic acts committed during the back-to-back civil wars (1989-2003). For reasons only known to herself, President Sirleaf (2006-2018) never implemented the TRC recommendations including the prosecution of the rebel leaders responsible for war crimes and human rights violations, possibly because she was also recommended for a sanction because of her (admitted) support of the NPLF, the rebel organization which started the civil war in 1989. Also President Weah (2018 – present) decided not to start procedures establishing a war crimes court, backtracking on previous statements when still in opposition.

The result is impunity for the perpetrators. Injustice. An insult to the survivors and victims.

Liberians will go to the polls on October 10 to elect a president, vice president and 88 lawmakers. The incumbent president, George Weah, has shown his position when it comes to justice for the victims and survivors. His main challengers are a former Vice President under President Sirleaf, Joseph Boakai, from Lofa County, whose running mate is a political protégé of warlord-turned-senator Prince Johnson – yes, the rebel commander who in 1990 gave his men orders to torture and kill then President Samuel Doe – and Alexander Cummings, who has promised to establish a war crimes tribunal when elected into the highest office.

We’ll closely watch events in Liberia during the coming month(s).
(FVDK)

Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out: some crimes never die

Published: September 13, 2023
By: Alain Werner – Civitas Maxima

Exactly 30 years ago, in the summer of 1993, a group of rebel soldiers sowed unheard-of terror in the town of Foya, in the small West African country of Liberia, then ravaged by civil war.

Here, 450 kilometers north of the capital Monrovia, a pious man respected by his community had the courage to denounce the rebel group that occupied the premises, ULIMO (United Liberation Movement of Democracy for Liberia). He did so to a humanitarian group, and told them that ULIMO was responsible for the looting of a hospital financed by humanitarian aid.

Once the foreigners had left, the pious man was taken to what was then used as an airstrip and his thorax was cut out by the rebels, his heart extracted and eaten in front of the population. “Try ULIMO, your heart” – which could be translated as “Defy ULIMO, we’ll take your heart” – was one of the slogans used to terrorize the population, a slogan that some civilians who survived that inferno still remember.

The most bloodthirsty of the ULIMO commanders, who opened the pious man’s chest with an axe and spread his killing spree to Foya, was known by the war nickname of “Ugly Boy”, despite his handsome features. The local population, who spoke a different dialect than the ULIMO soldiers, had nicknamed this commander differently among themselves, so as to be able to alert each other to his arrival without being understood by the rebels. They called him “Saah Chuey”, or “the man with the axe” in the Kissi language, as this commander was famous for chopping up civilians with his axe.

“Ugly Boy” was never tried for his ignominious deeds. Indeed, legend has it that he died by popular vindication, having been recognized in Guinea by refugees who had fled Liberia. However, if he were still alive today, “Ugly Boy” would still not have been tried in Liberia.

Indeed, in August we will be celebrating 20 years since the end of the wars in this country, and yet no one has been tried by a court in the country; the government and the United Nations having done nothing for the forgotten victims of Liberia. Despite the fact that a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended in 2009 that the main players in the war should be brought to justice, and that at least 250,000 people lost their lives during these bloody conflicts between 1989 and 2003.

However, on Thursday June 1, 2023, the Federal Criminal Court of Appeal in Switzerland convicted a man, Alieu Kosiah, of participating in the axe murder of the Pious Man. Jurisdiction was given in our country because Mr. Kosiah had been resident in Lausanne since the late 1990s. The conviction came exactly 30 years after the events, and was handed down in Bellinzona, seat of the Federal Criminal Court, some 7,000 kilometers from the scene of the crimes, Foya.

Alieu Kosiah had already been convicted in June 2021 by the Criminal Court for multiple acts of war crimes, including having eaten a piece of the pious man’s heart in the company of “Ugly Boy”. At the time, however, he was found not guilty of the axe-murder, the first judges considering that he had not played an active role in this crime.

The appeal judges decided otherwise and sentenced Alieu Kosiah for complicity in the murder of the pious man, an act qualified as a war crime and a crime against humanity. During the reading of the verdict, the President of the Court, Olivier Thormann, explained that, according to the Court, Alieu Kosiah had handed the pious man over to “Ugly Boy” to be taken to the Foya airstrip, knowing full well what would happen next.

This appeal judgment marks Swiss legal history, as it is the very first conviction in our country for crimes against humanity. It now opens the way for prosecutions in Switzerland for such crimes, even if committed before 2011 and the entry into force of the new provisions of the penal code.

As a lawyer and Director of Civitas Maxima, since 2014 I have represented several Liberian victims in this case alongside Me Romain Wavre, including a friend of the pious man who was present at the scene and witnessed his ordeal, having himself been a victim of ULIMO crimes.

Our clients and other victims have shown exceptional resilience, dignity and courage. Most of them came to Switzerland three times to testify throughout the proceedings, and overcame the obstacles posed by the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 to finally obtain justice.

War crimes and crimes against humanity are unique in that they “never die”. Indeed, because they concern the international community as a whole, these offences are not extinguished by a statute of limitations after a certain number of years, as is the case for most ordinary crimes. Prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity are thus theoretically possible as long as the person accused of committing them is alive and evidence exists, theoretically even if the victims are all dead. Just as the forgotten victims of Liberia obtained justice in Switzerland in 2023 for crimes committed so far away in 1993, victims of international crimes committed during current or recent armed conflicts must never lose hope. Even if we must do everything to ensure that they obtain justice before 2053 for the crimes they have suffered.


The article first appeared in French on Heidi News on the 16th of July, 2023.

Source: Chopped up with an axe and a heart eaten out: some crimes never die

Liberia – Citizens to President Weah: ‘No ritual can help you from leaving office after the elections’  

On October 10 general and presidential elections will be held in Liberia. At least 20 candidates are vying for the presidency. The opposition is determined to make incumbent president George Weah, a famous soccer star turned politician, a one-term-president. The ruling CDC wants to stay in power. After all, elections in Liberia – and elsewhere on the African continent – is all about access to resources, ideologies and political vision hardly play any role.

Elections and ritualistic murders often go hand in hand in Liberia (also elsewhere on the continent). Reportedly there was a surge in ritual killings in this West African country in recent years. Recently, people in Montserrado County, the seat of the government and the country’s capital Monrovia, told President Weah that no ritual, human sacrifice or money can prevent his loss and that of the ruling CDC in the ensuing elections.

Of course, such a public outcry is no proof or indication of any real or suspected involvement of an ambitious politician, named or unnamed, or of the ruling coalition or the fragmented opposition in criminal acts such as ritual murders. However, the hidden message is noteworthy.

That’s why I consider it worthwhile to include it here.
(webmaster FVDK)

No ritual & money can help CDC

Voters in queue – Liberia, elections

Published: August 26, 2023
By: Lincoln G. Peters – The New Dawn, Liberia

Several residents of Montserrado County have told incumbent President George Manneh Weah that no amount of alleged human sacrifice, ritual, and money can prevent him and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) from leaving office. 

“We want to tell President Weah that no amount of human sacrifice, ritual, and money can help in this election,” potential voters said in Montsrrado County. 

They were responding to President Weah’s urge for his supporters to consider the tragic motor accident that killed some of his supporters last week and then give him a resounding one-round victory this October.

But some Liberians in Montserrado have criticized Mr. Weah’s statement, describing it as completely heartless and worthless.

” We listen to the President telling his supporters to not allow the death of the Daughters of Weah to go in vain. President Weah urged them to use the death for a resounding one-round victory for him and CDC,” the citizens said.

“We are aware that he used the death of those people to remain in power. But let them be informed that it will not work because God is not sleeping,” they noted. 

On Wednesday, 23 August 2023, President Weah and his party held a program to mourn the death of some members of the Daughters of Weah who were involved in an accident while en route to Gbarnga, Bong County for a political campaign.

During the mourning, President Weah urged supporters of the CDC not to allow the death of their partisans to go in vain.

Mr. Weah urged CDCians to ensure that the deaths of the Daughters of Weah be repaid with a resounding one-round victory. 

“I want to urge every one of you here today, don’t allow the blood and death of those that died in the accident go in vain,” said Mr. Weah. 

“We [want] you to ensure that this be repaid with a resounding one-round victory. We have to make sure that we pay for the death of those that died by giving me, CDC one-round victory, ” President Weah stated. 

In response Thursday, 24 August 2023, one of those interviewed, Mr. Jeremiah Doe, a resident of Logan Town Community, said President Weah is daydreaming. 

Mr. Doe said Liberians have resolved to democratically remove President Weah, claiming that no amount of human sacrifice, rituals, and money spent by President Weah and the entire CDC can help them to remain in power. 

” We are aware that President Weah and the CDC sacrificed those girls. But what I want to say is that President Weah is daydreaming because he can never be elected again,” Mr. Doe alleged. 

“This President has failed us and the only way to prevent this is to stop him from being re-elected,” he noted.

Source: No ritual & money can help CDC

World Day Against Witch Hunts

August 10 is World day against witch hunts.

During the past five years I have frequently posted on this sad topic. See e.g. the following posts: Witchcraft Persecution and Advocacy without Borders in Africa, earlier this year, as well as the following country-specific postings: DRC, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe.

Although not the main focus of this website I find it useful and necessary to draw attention to this phenomenon which is based on superstition, violates human rights and creates many innocent victims – not only elderly women and men but also children, just like ritual murders.

I wish to commend Charlotte Müller and Sertan Sanderson of DW (Deutsche Welle) – see below – for an excellent article on this topic. It’s an impressive account of what happens to people accused of witchcraft and victims sof superstition.
(FVDK)

World Day Against Witch Hunts: People With Dementia Are Not Witches

Witch camps in Ghana

Published: August 4, 2023
By: The Ghana Report

August 10 has been designated World Day against Witch Hunts. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches welcomes this development and urges countries to mark this important day, and try to highlight past and contemporary sufferings and abuses of alleged witches in different parts of the globe.

Witchcraft belief is a silent killer of persons. Witchcraft accusation is a form of death sentence in many places. People suspected of witchcraft, especially women and children, are banished, persecuted, and murdered in over 40 countries across the globe. Unfortunately, this tragic incident has not been given the attention it deserves.

Considered a thing of the past in Western countries, this vicious phenomenon has been minimized. Witch persecution is not treated with urgency. It is not considered a global priority. Meanwhile, witch hunting rages across Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

The misconceptions that characterized witch hunting in early modern Europe have not disappeared. Witchcraft imaginaries and other superstitions still grip the minds of people with force and ferocity. Reinforced by traditional, Christian, Islamic, and Hindu religious dogmas, occult fears and anxieties are widespread.

Many people make sense of death, illness, and other misfortunes using the narratives of witchcraft and malevolent magic. Witch hunters operate with impunity in many countries, including nations with criminal provisions against witchcraft accusations and jungle justice.

Some of the people who are often accused and targeted as witches are elderly persons, especially those with dementia.

To help draw attention to this problem, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches has chosen to focus on dementia for this year’s World Day against Witch Hunts. People with dementia experience memory loss, poor judgment, and confusion.

Their thinking and problem-solving abilities are impaired. Unfortunately, these health issues are misunderstood and misinterpreted. Hence, some people treat those with dementia with fear, not respect. They spiritualize these health conditions, and associate them with witchcraft and demons.

There have been instances where people with dementia left their homes or care centers, and were unable to return or recall their home addresses. People claimed that they were returning from witchcraft meetings; that they crash landed on their way to their occult gatherings while flying over churches or electric poles.

Imagine that! People forge absurd and incomprehensible narratives to justify the abuse of people with dementia. Sometimes, people claim that those suffering dementia turn into cats, birds, or dogs. As a result of these misconceptions, people maltreat persons with dementia without mercy; they attack, beat, and lynch them. Family members abandon them and make them suffer painful and miserable deaths. AfAW urges the public to stop these abuses, and treat people with dementia with care and compassion.

Source: World Day Against Witch Hunts: People With Dementia Are Not Witches

And:

Witch hunts: A global problem in the 21st century

Accusations of witchcraft typically affect the most vulnerable — such as this refugee living in the DRC
Image: Getty Images/AFP/F. Scoppa

Published: August 10, 2023
By: Charlotte Müller | Sertan Sanderson – DW

Witch hunts are far from being a thing of the past — even in the 21st century. In many countries, this is still a sad reality for many women today. That is why August 10 has been declared a World Day against Witch Hunts.

Akua Denteh was beaten to death in Ghana’s East Gonja District last month — after being accused of being a witch. The murder of the 90-year-old has once more highlighted the deep-seated prejudices against women accused of practicing witchcraft in Ghana, many of whom are elderly.

An arrest was made in early August, but the issue continues to draw attention after authorities were accused of dragging their heels in the case. Human rights and gender activists now demand to see change in culture in a country where supernatural beliefs play a big role.

But the case of Akua Denteh is far from an isolated instance in Ghana, or indeed the world at large. In many countries of the world, women are still accused of practicing witchcraft each year. They are persecuted and even killed in organized witch hunts — especially in Africa but also in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Many women in Ghana are pushed to live in so-called witch camps because they are rejected by society Image: picture-alliance/Pacific Press/L. Wateridge

Witch hunts: a contemporary issue

Those accused of witchcraft have now found a perhaps unlikely charity ally in their fight for justice: the Catholic missionary society missio, which is part of the global Pontifical Mission Societies under the jurisdiction of the Pope, has declared August 10 as World Day against Witch Hunts, saying that in at least 36 nations around the world, people continue to be persecuted as witches.

While the Catholic Church encouraged witch hunts in Europe from the 15th to the 18th century, it is now trying to shed light into this dark practice. Part of this might be a sense of historical obligation — but the real driving force is the number of victims that witch hunts still cost today. 

Historian Wolfgang Behringer, who works as a professor specializing in the early modern age at Saarland University, firmly believes in putting the numbers in perspective. He told DW that during these three centuries, between 50,000 and 60,000 people are assumed to have been killed for so-called crimes of witchcraft — a tally that is close to being twice the population of some major German cities at the time.

But he says that in the 20th century alone, more people accused of witchcraft were brutally murdered than during the three centuries when witch hunts were practiced in Europe: “Between 1960 and 2000, about 40,000 people alleged of practicing witchcraft were murdered in Tanzania alone. While there are no laws against witchcraft as such in Tanzanian law, village tribunals often decide that certain individuals should be killed,” Behringer told DW.

The historian insists that due to the collective decision-making behind these tribunals, such murders are far from being arbitrary and isolated cases: “I’ve therefore concluded that witch hunts are not a historic problem but a burning issue that still exists in the present.”

A picture of so-called witch doctors in Sierra Leone taken roughly around the year 1900 Image:
Getty Images/Hulton Archive

A pan-African problem?

In Tanzania, the victims of these witch hunts are often people with albinism; some people believe that the body parts of these individuals can be used to extract potions against all sorts of ailments. Similar practices are known to take place in Zambia and elsewhere on the continent.

Meanwhile in Ghana, where nonagenarian Akua Denteh was bludgeoned to death last month, certain communities blamed the birth of children with disabilities on practices of witchcraft.

Screenshot – to watch the video please consult the source

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is usually the younger generations who are associated witchcraft. So-called “children of witchcraft” are usually rejected by their families and left to fend for themselves. However, their so-called crimes often have little to do with sorcery at all:

“We have learned of numerous cases of children suffering rape and then no longer being accepted by their families. Or they are born as illegitimate children out of wedlock, and are forced to live with a parent who no longer accepts them,” says Thérèse Mema Mapenzi, who works as a mission project partner in the eastern DRC city of Bukayu.

‘Children of witchcraft’ in the DRC

Mapenzi’s facility was initially intended to be a women’s shelter to harbor women who suffered rape at the hands of the militia in the eastern parts of the country, where rape is used as a weapon of war as part of the civil conflict there. But over the years, more and more children started seeking her help after they were rejected as “children of witchcraft.”

With assistance from the Catholic missionary society missio, Mapenzi is now also supporting these underage individuals in coping with their many traumas while trying to find orphanages and schools for them.

“When these children come here, they have often been beaten to a pulp, have been branded as witches or have suffered other injuries. It is painful to just even look at them. We are always shocked to see these children devoid of any protection. How can this be?” Mapenzi wonders.

Thérèse Mema Mapenzi is trying to help women and girls accused of being “children of witchcraft”
Image: missio

Seeking dialogue to end witch hunts

But there is a whole social infrastructure fueling this hatred against these young people in the DRC: Many charismatic churches blame diseases such as HIV/AIDS or female infertility on witchcraft, with illegitimate children serving as scapegoats for problems that cannot be easily solved in one of the poorest countries on earth. Other reasons cited include sudden deaths, crop failures, greed, jealousy and more.

Thérèse Mema Mapenzi says that trying to help those on the receiving end of this ire is a difficult task, especially in the absence of legal protection: “In Congolese law, witchcraft is not recognized as a violation of the law because there is no evidence you can produce. Unfortunately, the people have therefore developed their own legal practices to seek retribution and punish those whom call them witches.”

In addition to helping those escaping persecution, Mapenzi also seeks dialogue with communities to stop prejudice against those accused of witchcraft and sorcery. She wants to bring estranged families torn apart by witch hunts back together. Acting as a mediator, she talks to people, and from time to time succeeds in reuniting relatives with women and children who had been ostracized and shamed. Mapenzi says that such efforts — when they succeed — take an average of two to three years from beginning to finish.

But even with a residual risk of the victims being suspected of witchcraft again, she says her endeavors are worth the risk. She says that the fact that August 10 has been recognized as the World Day against Witch Hunts sends a signal that her work is important — and needed.

Hunting the hunters  a dangerous undertaking

For Thérèse Mema Mapenzi, the World Day against Witch Hunts marks another milestone in her uphill battle in the DRC. Jörg Nowak, spokesman for missio, agrees and hopes that there will now be growing awareness about this issue around the globe.

As part of his work, Nowak has visited several missio project partners fighting to help bring an end to witch hunts in recent years. But he wasn’t aware about the magnitude of the problem himself until 2017.

The first case he dealt with was the killing of women accused of being witches in Papua New Guinea in the 2010s — which eventually resulted in his publishing a paper on the crisis situation in the country and becoming missio’s dedicated expert on witch hunts.

But much of Nowak’s extensive research in Papua New Guinea remains largely under wraps for the time being, at least in the country itself: the evidence he accrued against some of the perpetrators there could risk the lives of missio partners working for him.

Not much has changed for centuries, apart from the localities involved when it comes to the occult belief in witchcraft, says Nowak while stressing: “There is no such thing as witchcraft. But there are accusations and stigmatization designed to demonize people; indeed designed to discredit them in order for others to gain selfish advantages.”

Maxwell Suuk and Isaac Kaledzi contributed to this article.

Screenshot – to watch the seven images please consult the source

Source: Witch hunts: A global problem in the 21st century

Nigeria: unprecedented spate of ritual killings in Yorubaland

In Nigeria, the number of ritual killings, ritual murders, ‘money rituals’, cannot be counted. Occasionally I report on these widespread crimes in Africa’s most populated country, but it would be a daily job to (try to) cover all of them – though I doubt if this would ever be possible, also in light of the fact that presumably not all ritualistic murders are discovered. 

Often, so-called Yahoo-boys are involved in these ritual practices which are nothing less than ordinary violent crimes committed by ruthless, greedy people who butcher innocent people – men, women, children – whose organs are being sold to superstitious people.

It is to be expected that in a country of over 200 million people many crimes are committed including crimes for ritualistic purposes. In Nigeria, the crime of ritual murder is so persistent and widespread that one wonders if there are other reasons than superstition, greed, and the country’s vast population which explain this ugly crime.

In Nigeria there’s a general lack of security which goes hand in hand with the lack of rule of law. Bandits, Boko Haram rebels, terrorists, ritualists, political activists, the Nigerian government is confronted with multiple agressors. Nigeria’s recently installed president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, faces many challenges of which the eradication of ritual murders in the country is just one.

The focus on Yorubaland in the article presented below is by no means meant to suggest that the problem of ritualistic killings elsewhere in Nigeria is less serious.

PS The reproduction of articles here and elsewhere on this site does not imply that the webmaster agrees with the contents of the articles published.
(FVDK)

Unprecedented spate of ritual killings in Yorubaland and the absence of elders

Published: August 12, 2023
By: Dr. Tayo Douglas – The Nation, Nigeria

One of the epigrams often cited in Yorubaland whenever the household or the whole community is thrown into orgy and disarray is namely this;

“Agbà kó sí ní ìlú, ìlú bàjé, baãlé ilé kú tán ilé di ahoro.”  Loosely taken, it means; “the absence or death of the elders turns the household into an empty shell.”

In recent times, never has Yoruba land witnessed the flurry and plague of mindless and imbecilic killing of human beings for ritual purposes. It is now a daily occurrence and it appears there won’t be an end to it. The question which all right-thinking men and women of Yorubaland should be asking themselves is; where are their morals and where have they got it wrong?

It seems these elders are yet to come to terms with the fact that they now have big problems on their hands. At the moment, it would appear that politics and how to get rich quickly through any means are now the major preoccupation of an average Yoruba man. Nobody cares any longer about morals or the good names of each family.  Orientation or good upbringing in each household or family setup is already lost to vulgar and questionable lifestyles among the Yoruba youths.

If a fool would reason at all, he would be quick to point out to you that the fallout is a result of poverty or hardship in the country. A fool has reasoned indeed!  The Yoruba saying of old is very much replete here and that is, “ohun tí otí bá nínú òmùtí ni òmùtí fi se ìwà wù,” That is, let no criminal plead that he committed the crime because he is drunk. After all, lawyers always tell us that an act is considered blameworthy because an accused mind is equally guilty (actus reus reum nisi mens sit rea). In essence, a murderer has gone to kill a human being for ritual purposes of getting rich quickly and not because there is hunger, poverty, and hardship in the country.

In the days of old, our parents always drummed it to our ears to remember the children of whom we were – (Rántí omo eni ti ìwo n’se), I doubt if these youths on killing spree today have houses again let alone keeping the names of the owners.  

Before it is too late, a time is coming (and that is if it hasn’t come already) when whatever is left remaining of Yorubaland ethos and dignity would soon be thrown to the dogs and the winds if care is not taken. These boys’ excesses, I mean the ritualists, yahoo boys, and whatever other evil names they are called, have to be curtailed at all costs. That time is now. Instead of the Afenifere warlords turning themselves to Peter Obi or any other politicians, campaign managers, and spin doctors, they should come back home and address the real problem that is turning their lands into graveyards and other abominable monuments.

It’s quite unfortunate that these so-called elders have left leprosy untreated but keep running after ringworm. Overnight,  Tinubu became their major headache. His election as president of the country was then and up till now an “abomination” that must be prevented. It is better in the sight of these Yoruba elders if ‘yahoo plus’ and other ritualists continue their nefarious activities in Yorubaland but Tinubu must not be president. “Over” their “dead bodies” are their slogans. SMH.

Never in the history of the Yoruba race have we ever witnessed the unprecedented carnage, a gory obscenity and orgy of ritual seppuku, and disembowelment of human beings for money purposes. It is highly unfortunate.

• Dr. Douglas, Ph.D. is a lawyer and social commentator,  sent this piece from Lagos.

Source: Unprecedented spate of ritual killings in Yorubaland and the absence of elders

List of the Yoruba states in Nigeria, map & size – click here

Wassa Nkyirifi, Western Region, Ghana: man kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals

Another gruesome murder for ritual purposes, based on superstition and ruthlessness. An innocent small girl lost her life for a ‘money ritual’. This time it happened in Ghana.

It’s a sad story.

Warning: The articles may upset readers for their graphic contents (FVDK)

Wassa Nkyirifi: Man kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals

Wassa Nkyirifi: Man kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals. The suspect in white shirt at the scene where the body was exhumed on Friday morning

Published: August 4, 2023
By: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu – Graphic Online

Residents of Wassa Nkyirifi, a farming community in the Western Region woke up on Friday morning to the horror of a suspected murder of a seven-year-old girl by her uncle for money ritual purpose.

After allegedly killing and burying the body in a nearby bush, the suspect, identified only as Augustine, a 37-year-old farmer reported to the police that his niece had gone missing.

The 7-year-old victim has been identified as Sandy Manu.

The suspect then went further to make public announcements on radio asking for help to locate his niece.

The police in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipal area however, suspected foul play because of Augustine’s responses to the questions and why he was desperately concerned about the missing young girl.

Augustine’s body language, his responses and his eventual exhibition that he was terrified according to a police source, prompted an intense interrogation by the police during which he burst into tears.

According to the police source, he then confessed that he had killed the niece for money ritual so he could evade poverty.

He is said to have told the police that, he complained about poverty to one elderly man in the Wassa Nkyirifi community and the elderly man told him to use one of his many nieces for money rituals.

Upon meditation, he went to see a spiritualist the next day to help him go through the process of money rituals.

The suspect said the spiritualist then told him to bring human head – that is the head of one of his nieces.

From there, he went in for Sandy and killed her.

After killing and beheading her, he buried the headless body and concealed the head for the process.

He then led the police to the nearby bush where the headless body was buried and the body was exhumed.

The head was also retrieved from another location.

The body has since been deposited at the morgue and the suspect is currently in police custody.

A video from the scene where the body was exhumed has been shared on social media by some of the community members.

Source: Wassa Nkyirifi: Man kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals

Also:

Man allegedly kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals

Published: August 5 2023
By: Myjoyonline, Ghana

Residents of Wassa Nkyirifi, a farming community in the Western Region, woke up on Friday morning to the horror of a suspected murder of a seven-year-old girl by her uncle.

After allegedly killing and burying the body in a nearby bush, the suspect, identified only as Augustine, a 37-year-old farmer reported to the police that his niece had gone missing.

The suspect then went further to make public announcements on the radio asking for help to locate his niece.

The police in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipal area, however, suspected foul play because of Augustine’s responses to their questions and how he was desperately concerned about the missing young girl.

Augustine’s body language, his responses and his eventual exhibition that he was terrified according to a police source, prompted an intense interrogation during which he burst into tears.

According to the police source, he then confessed that he had killed the niece for money ritual so he could evade poverty.

The seven-year-old victim has been identified as Sandy Manu.

The suspect is said to have told the police that, he complained about poverty to one elderly man in the Wassa Nkyirifi community. The elderly man advised him to use one of his many nieces for money rituals.

Upon meditation, he allegedly went to see a spiritualist the next day to help him go through the process of money rituals.

The suspect said the spiritualist then told him to bring a human head. From there, he went in for Sandy and murdered her.

After killing and beheading her, he reportedly buried the headless body and concealed the head in the process.

The suspect then led the police to the nearby bush where the headless body was buried and the body was exhumed.

The head was also retrieved from another location. The body has since been deposited at the morgue and the suspect is currently in police custody.

Meanwhile, a video from the scene where the body was exhumed has been shared on social media by some of the community members.

Source: Man allegedly kills 7-year-old niece for money rituals

Also:

Man arrested for allegedly killing niece for money rituals
Published: August 10, 2023
By: Ghana Web

Western Region – Ghana (Source: Wikipedia)

Nigeria: human eaters… end of the road – the 2019 Favour Daley-Oladela ritual murder case

The murder for ritual purposes of Favour Daley-Oladela in 2019 led to much unrest as well as a wave of articles on the terror of so-called ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria. For briefness sake I may refer here to my posting of January 9, 2020 ‘A selection of articles on the ritual murder of Favour Daley-Oladele, Nigeria’.

As a reminder I will recall what basically happened on the fateful day in December 2019 when the innocent university student was brutally murdered. Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University (LASU), was murdered and partly cannibalized for a ritualistic motive, a ‘money ritual’, by her boyfriend Owolabi Adeeko, aided by Philip Segun, a white garment church pastor and his mother, Mrs. Bola Adeeko. 

Last month, a High Court found both men guilty of conspiracy and murder and sentenced them to death by hanging for murder (Owolabi Adeeko) and 14 years imprisonment (Philip Segun) for conspiracy. The court also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.

Read the full article below. Warning: the article may upset readers because of its shocking and graphic contents.
(FVDK)

Human eaters…end of the road

Published: August 6, 2023
By: Shina Abubakar, Osogbo – Vanguard, Nigeria

The long arm of justice, after three years, finally caught up with killers and eaters of Favour Daley-Oladele, a final year student of Lagos State University, brutally murdered and used for “victory soup” ritual concoction by her boyfriend, Owolabi Adeeko, and a prophet, Segun Philip.

Last month, a High Court found Owolabi and Segun guilty of conspiracy and murder and sentenced them to death by hanging for murder and 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy.

The court also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.

Favour, a student of Theatre Arts, was in a final semester and at home to meet her parents before Owolabi put a call to her to meet him, so they could meet his uncle at Ikoyi in Isokan local government area of Osun State.

The deceased, who had attended church service on the day, also spoke with her father who wished her success in her final examinations before setting out on the fateful trip.

Before leaving home on that day, she also informed her mother that she was going back to school but will also be seeing a friend on her way and the mother never knew that the friend would eventually use her for “victory soup” and together with his mother “eat her up for their own good”.

Days after leaving home, Favour’s parents became apprehensive having tried to reach her on phone severally and were not successful, an unusual character, hence, they reached out to her friends in school who told them she had not returned to school.

The parents had to report a missing person at a police station in Mowe, Ogun State.

Meanwhile, Owolabi and Prophet Philip had concluded plans on how to kill the missing girl and butcher her for ritual soup.

She had journeyed all the way from Mowe to Osun and, upon arrival, she was lodged in a hotel in Ikoyi but rather than allow her rest upon complaint of tiredness, the boyfriend urged her to meet his supposed uncle before she would later come back to the hotel for a complete rest.

At a church, which is secluded from the rest of the community, Favour still complained of the need to rest and her boyfriend urged her to enter into the partial wooden building to rest while he and his prophet accomplice concluded their talk before returning to the hotel.

While Owolabi and Segun chatted outside the building they took time to check on the poor lady and having been sure that she was fully asleep, Owolabi took a pestle and smashed it on her head. Thereafter, the prophet cut her opened and took the vital organs needed for the ritual soup.

Arrest

After Favour’s parents reported that she was missing at the police division in Mowe, the Divisional Police Officer assembled a team of detectives to find her.

The team, according to Ogun Police Command spokesperson, tracked her phone to her last destination, hence, the team mounted surveillance in the town and further tracked the last location of the phone to the church where the prophet was arrested.

The cleric informed the police that the deceased was brought to him by Owolabi who was still in the hotel where he lodged. They were both arrested after Christmas in 2019.

‘I lured her to Ikoyi to kill’

After his arrest, Owolabi told police detectives that he lured the victim to Osun under the pretence to meet his uncle and spend more time together.

He added that she travelled down because of the trust she had in him as the victim had not embarked on such journey before that one which eventually was her last.

His confessional statement which was tendered in court “I called Favour on December 8, 2019 to meet me at Ikoyi-Ile so that we could spend time together. She met me at an hotel in the area, but immediately she got there, she started complaining that she was tired and needed to rest.

“I told her that we needed to visit my dad’s younger brother before she would rest. It was a lie. I tricked her into going to the church of Segun. When we got to the church, again, she complained that she wanted to sleep, so, I asked her to go into the church and rest.

“When she slept off, I used a pestle to smash her in the head and she died. After we confirmed she was dead, Pastor Segun slaughtered her and removed the vital organs from her body which he used to prepare concoction for me and my mum to eat.

“Despite what we ate, things have not improved till I was arrested. My mum’s business has not improved after what we did and despite all our efforts. I think the money ritual did not work”.

He added that his mother was not aware of his evil plans and was made to believe that she was eating ritual soup prepared from goat’s organs.

Owolabi agreed to face the consequences of his actions but asserted that punishing his mother would amount to an injustice.

On his part, Segun admitted to cutting the deceased open after her boyfriend had killed her, removed her vital organs to prepare the spiritual meal for mother and son to be victorious of spiritual attacks.

His words also admitted as confession in court: “It is true I slaughtered Favour with a knife. I removed her heart, breasts, and other vital organs so we could use them for rituals. But, I was not the one that smashed her head with a pestle. Owolabi did it.

“We deceived Mrs Adeeko that the concoction was prepared with goat’s organs. She was not aware we used human parts in the concoction I gave her. I prepared the ritual for them because I was broke and I needed money. I demanded N250,000 but was paid N210, 000.

“I was called by God, but I think I have lost the call because of what I did”.

Owolabi’s mother, Bola, said she was not aware a human was killed in a bid for her to overcome her spiritual challenges.

According to her, she was made to believe the concoction she ate was prepared from goat meat.

Exhuming body

Following their arrest and confession, Owolabi and Segun told the police that the remains of Favour were buried in the church building. The entire community was thrown into frenzy when the remains were exhumed from a shallow grave close to the building.

The already decomposing body was packed in a body bag and transported to Ogun State with a view to delivering it to the family after autopsy.

Arraignment

The three suspects were first arraigned before an Osun State Magistrate Court in November 2020 after investigation by the police on two counts of conspiracy and murder.

They were later arraigned before a High Court sitting in Ikire.

The prosecution, led by Adekemi Bello, called nine witnesses during trial to establish conspiracy and murder charges against the suspects who testified for themselves.

At the end of trial, Justice Christiana Obadina found Owolabi and Segun guilty of conspiracy and murder.

She sentenced the Prophet and Owolabi to death by hanging for murder and 14 years imprisonment for conspiracy.

The trial judge also found Bola, Owolabi’s mother, guilty of eating human flesh and sentenced her to two years imprisonment.

Reaction

The Onikoyi of Ikoyi-Ile, Oba Yisau Oyetunji, said the community is peaceful and the people peace loving.

He maintained that the killer-prophet is not an indigene of the community.

The monarch stressed that churches should be properly registered with a view to identifying and preventing such horrible incident.

“From my findings, the self-acclaimed pastor is not an indigene of Ikoyi. The fellow who took the lady to the place, his mother and the victim are also not from Ikoyi”, he said.

“My plea to religious leaders and residents of Ikoyi and Osun State in general is to be vigilant. We should take up responsibility to secure our areas.

“If we see any strange faces or movements, we should try and do our findings on them. Our surveillance should not be restricted to strangers alone. We should not be silent on the issue of security. We should report to the police anyone constituting security risk”.

Meanwhile, the sentencing of the killers means a proper closure to a sad tale for Favour’s parents as justice appears to have been served.

Source: Human eaters…end of the road

Nigeria – political map

Zimbabwe: man kills daughter (1), harvests body parts for rituals

For the past few days I’ve been reporting on ritual murders (‘mui murders’) in the kingdom of Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). Muti murders are not only known in this tiny kingdom where King Mswati III rules as an absolute monarch. Muti murders are known throughout Southern Africa, It’s a sad reality to write down. Zimabwe’s most notorious murder case which shocked this nation when it occurred, in 2020, and also in following years when increasingly more details became known about the gruesome murder of an innocent 7-year old boy by his uncle and namesake, Tapiwa Makore, is still fresh.

Only very recently the murderers of Tapiwa Makore were sentenced to death, yet another ritual murder became known. We will never know how many ‘muti murders’ are committed in Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

Thomas Muzenda, a 38-years old artisinal miner from Gokwe, Zimbabwe, reportedly killed his one-year old daughter to booster his mining business. He butchered her and chopped up the body to get parts for muti purposes. He then reported her missing to cover up his crime.

Warning: the following may upset readers because of its graphic contents.
(FVDK).

Man killed daughter, 1, to boost artisanal mining business: police

‘The suspect confessed to the police that he killed his daughter with a knife for ritual purposes to allegedly boost his mining activities.

Shocking murder … A one-year-old girl was killed by her father in a “sacrifice”

Published: August 5, 2023
By: ZimLife

….an artisanal miner also confessed to killing his 1-year-old daughter in Gokwe to boost his artisanal mining business….

Meanwhile (…), in another incident (…), an artisanal miner has admitted to killing his daughter who is aged 1 year, 2 months.

Said the police, “On 2 August 2023, police in Gokwe arrested an artisanal miner, Thomas Muzenda, 38, of Village 17 Mupukuta, Chireya Gokwe North, in connection with the callous murder of his daughter, Nenyasha Muzenda, 1 year 2 months, who had been reported missing.

“The suspect confessed to the police that he killed his daughter with a knife for ritual purposes to allegedly boost his mining activities after approaching a traditional healer only identified as Dhumba.

“Police have since recovered the remains of the victim from a disused well at Zenda Mining area, Gokwe North.”

Source: Man killed daughter, 1, to boost artisanal mining business: police

More details:

Man kills daughter (1), harvests body parts for rituals

Published: August 6, 2023
By: Bulawayo 24 News

In a spine chilling ritual murder, a 38-year-old man killed his daughter (1) and chopped up the body to get parts for muti purposes.

Thomas Muzenda, an artisinal miner (umakorokoza) from Gokwe, reportedly butchered Nenyasha Muzenda with a knife, then reported her missing to cover up the grisly offence.

Muzenda was arrested on 2 August 2023.

Without giving much detail, police took to twitter and said, ‘’ On 02/08/23, Police in Gokwe arrested an artisanal miner, Thomas Muzenda (38) of Village 17 Mupukuta, Chireya Gokwe North, in connection with the callous murder of his daughter, Nenyasha Muzenda (1 year 2 months), who had been reported missing.

“The suspect confessed to the police that he killed his daughter with a knife for ritual purposes to allegedly boost his mining activities after approaching a traditional healer only identified as Dhumba. Police have since recovered the remains of the victim from a disused well at Zenda Mining area, Gokwe North,” read the tweet.

Source: Man kills daughter (1), harvests body parts for rituals

More reports on the same muti murder:

Man Kills Daughter(1) To Boost Mining Business

Published: August 7, 2023
By: ZimEye News

A horrifying incident has unfolded in Gokwe, Zimbabwe, as an artisanal miner, Thomas Muzenda (38), has been apprehended by the police for the brutal murder of his one-year-old daughter, Nenyasha Muzenda.

Startling details emerged when Muzenda confessed to the heinous act, revealing that he took the innocent life in a ritualistic act aimed at bolstering his mining endeavours. The sh0cking incident has sent sh0ckwaves through the community, highlighting the desperate lengths some individuals may go to in the pursuit of wealth and success.

The tragic events unfolded when Nenyasha Muzenda was reported missing, prompting a police investigation in Gokwe, a region known for its artisanal mining activities. During questioning, Thomas Muzenda sh0ckingly admitted to authorities that he had murdered his own daughter as part of a ritual intended to enhance his mining business. Allegedly, Muzenda had sought the assistance of a traditional healer named Dhumba, who advised him that such a gruesome act would bring prosperity and success to his mining activities.

Following Muzenda’s confession, the police conducted a search and ultimately discovered the remains of the young victim in a disused well located at the Zenda mining area in Gokwe North. The gruesome find further confirmed the harrowing nature of the crime and left the community in a state of sh0ck and disbelief.

Meanwhile, the police are urging anyone with information regarding the murder of Clemence Mwale (30) to come forward and assist with the investigation. Mwale was fatally attacked by unknown assailants on August 3 in Dzivaresekwa, and the authorities are seeking any leads that could shed light on the circumstances surrounding this tragic event.

The arrest of Thomas Muzenda has sent sh0ckwaves throughout Zimbabwe, prompting a broader conversation about the lengths some individuals may go to in their pursuit of success. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of ethical practices and the need to safeguard vulnerable members of society. – My Zimbabwe News

Source: Man Kills Daughter(1) To Boost Mining Business

AND MORE:

Dad kills daughter to boost mining business
Published: August 7, 2023
By: NewsdzeZimbabwe

Artisanal miner killed daughter for ritual purposes
Published: August 7, 2023
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe