Sketchy overview of the most famous ritual murder cases in Liberia since the 1960s

As is clear from the article below, all Liberian presidents including William Tubman, William Tolbert, Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as well as other political leaders  are aware of the occurrence of ritual murders in the country, notably during election campaigns. It is even whispered that some presidents had a more than passive role in this respect but these – sometimes persistent – rumors have never been confirmed or proven.

The author, Melvin Pyne, presents an astonishing – sketchy – overview of ritualistic murders from the 1960s onwards hence covering a period of over half a century. 

He hasn’t mentioned them all. Certain cases have never been discovered. The thick Liberian forests hide many ritual murder crimes, I am very sure about this harsh reality, though without having proof of it. Nevertheless I am pretty sure that many people in Liberia will confirm this ‘gut feeling’ of mine (webmaster FVDK).

The Liberian government must take charge of our security, or else…

Published: January 17, 2022
By: Melvin D. Weh – Front Page Africa 

Last year ended on a rather low note for many  Liberians with the wave of alleged ritualistic, serial killings which instilled fear across the country. Communities and residents were on the brink of paranoia. Thus is upsetting the way of life for everyone.

Liberian history tells us that such killings have happened in the past. In the 60s and 70s, Gboyos (Heartmen) ravaged the southeastern parts of the country. Gboyos were a feared society that allegedly wore top hats, black suits, and captured people for ritualistic purposes. They took body parts, especially the hearts of their victims, thus earning them the nickname, Heartmen. The situation was so bad that the citizens pressured the government to act.

In 1979, the administration of President William Tolbert, took action. It investigated and convicted seven individuals including top government officials who were involved in the ritualistic murder of Mr. Moses Tweh in Harper, Maryland County. The court, after hearing the case, established a precedent. They handed down the verdict of guilty. The convicts were sentenced to death and subsequently executed publicly in Harper. Amongst those executed were James Anderson, Superintendent of Maryland County, Allen Yancy, representative of Maryland County and Philip B. Seyton, Senior Inspector of the Ministry of Commerce, Maryland County. This deterrent action practically slowed the act.

Years later in 1989, President Samuel Doe’s administration tried and convicted Defense Minister Maj. General Gray D. Allison and his wife Mrs. Angeline Watta Allison for the ritual murder of a police officer, J. Melvin Pyne in the Caldwell community. Gen. Allison was tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) at a military tribunal, found guilty and sent to Belleh Yalla, the maximum-security prison in Lofa County. His wife was convicted at ‘Criminal Court C’, and sentenced to life imprisonment according to the Mr. Max  Dennis, son of Mrs. Allison.

See: PYJ Hunted As Int’l War Crimes Investigators Arrive In Monrovia – Hot Pepper Releases More On How He Murdered Gray Allison And Wife (published August 12, 2015)

Allison was the most renowned government official convicted during the Doe regime. However, it is reported that an aide to president Doe, Mr. David K. Clarke and five others were tried, convicted and executed for the ritual murder of two little boys in 1987.

See: Ritual killings brings arrest of 6 Liberians (published May 4, 1987; New York Times).

Also: Ritual killings continue to be a plague  (Part III, ‘Liberia Past and Present’; webmaster FVDK))

And: Ritual killing laid to Liberian Official (published August 15, 1989; New York Times)

Liberia: Prince Johnson sentenced my mother to death – Watta Allison’s son breaks silence (published June 28, 2018, FP Africa)  

During the war years and President Taylor’s administration, there were rumors of murders for ‘Juju’ purposes. We must note that those were years of injustice and arbitrary justice, therefore there is not much record on how those cases were legally handled. Men in arms allegedly conducted speedy quasi-investigations and punished alleged perpetrators, wrongly too. Serious attention was not placed on the issues perhaps because killings were almost the norm, sadly.

On 29 June 2005 before the special general elections, there were reports of ritualistic killings almost across the country. The interim leader, Gyude Bryant warned that candidates tempted to boost their chances by carrying out human sacrifices will be executed if caught. While no one was successfully tried and convicted, Mr. Bryant’s warning seemed to have eased the situation for sometimes, as it was observed. ( BBC News, 29 June 2005)

In 2017 during the reign of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, protesters (women in majority) stormed Gbarnga City in demand of answers to over series of young women including 12 years old girl who were seen dead with missing body parts. The women of the county under the banner Bong Women Association and the Bong Christian Association marched in the streets demanding more actions from the government in addressing such monstrous crimes.

See: Vote-Rich Liberian County Protests Election Year Ritualistic Killings (published August 15, 2017, Front Page Africa)

Another notable case of ritual killing was the murder of seventeen years old Cyrus Yeawonyee in September 2015 in the suburb of the commercial city of Ganta. Cyrus was killed and body parts including eyes, ears and tongue were extracted according to report. Cyrus’ convicted killer was another teenager, Jacob Vambo who was sentenced to life in prison in February 2016. Vambo confessed to luring his friend Cyrus into the trap of powerful muscular men who allegedly killed him for a well-connected government official. His claims of the involvement of others in the killing could not be authenticated to punish those he had accused.

However, his lawyer (a Public Defendant) Cllr. Mewaseh Payebayee (late) and some observers believed his claims as they felt such a lanky looking child was incapable of overpowering someone and committing such gruesome murder.

A day after the investigation into Cyrus’ murder case by the Liberia National Police-LNP on 29th September 2015, Ganta experienced one of the most violent disruptions since the civil war. This time, it was a motorcyclist. The news of Cyrus killing was gradually fueling tension when the young man was discovered dead with blood allegedly drained from his body for the wealthy businessperson. Though, investigation disproved the allegation of ritual killing and established that the killing happened as a result of robbery, the damage was done. The popular Alvino Hotel in the City was looted and burned while two persons were reported dead, among the many damages done. About fifty arrests were made in connection to the riot. 

Blood and Power: Investigating a Ritual Murder in Liberia. November 28, 2017 article.
While a teenager is convicted of a gruesome killing, questions linger about occult violence among the power elite. By Ashoka Mokpo 
Click on image to access article 

With such history, it is no surprise why the public will be alarmed if there is a rearing up of such activities. The FrontPage Africa News Paper September 23, 2021 edition reported the alleged murder of John Tubman at his residence with deep cuts in the neck. John was the son of Liberia’s longest serving president William V.S. Tubman. Barely a month later, the death was reported of the renowned Rev. William Richard Tolbert, III, a peace ambassador and son of another former president, William Richard Tolbert, Jr. then, a Madam Maude Elliot of the Liberia Immigration Services (LIS) was also found dead. Both were murdered in their respective homes in similar conditions.

Additionally, amongst many others, the FrontPage Africa newspaper published on November 8, 2021 a list of several murders all of which occurred this year alone with victims displaying similar conditions. On that list was Jane Doe (Unidentified Woman) found on 17th Street Beach (September); Mordecai Nyemah (May), Florence Massaquoi (February), as well as, Robert M. Blamo, Jr., Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, and Siafa G. Boimah.

While last year, amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic, several other killings occurred- Elijah Polumah, Abraham Tumay, and George B. Fanbutu, mentioning a few.

But most troubling of all this were two separate incidents. First, is a statement by President George Weah in November, when he signed the book of condolence for the late Mr. Emmanuel Barten Nyenswa. Mr. Weah is on record urging citizens and residents to install at their premises, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras. He pointed out that government’s focus of security was on the country’s borders. Mr. Nyensuah’s death like three other auditors from the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is still being investigated. Many believe their deaths were for political reasons or cover up for some malpractices they may have uncovered.

Mr. Weah is either unaware of the financial hardship in the country or does not care much about the innocent lives being lost. A people that can barely afford, how does he expect them to buy CCTVs that cost $1000 USD at a minimum? With many parts of the city out of electricity, how does he expect the cameras to work?

The second concerning issue is the remark made by the Liberia National Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue at Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) press conference.  Col. Sudue alleged that the news of serial and ritualistic killings in Monrovia and other parts of the country were fake stories being created by opposition politicians who want to implant fear and give negative image of the country and malign government’s reputation.

The IG’s statement on these recent issues suggests a political posturing. While Col. Sudue is a political appointee, the office of the Inspector General needs to be apolitical and professional, always endeavoring to maintain the integrity and independence of the Liberia National Police.

In midst of this scaring security situation, such comments undermine the confidence of the people in the government and the ability of the Liberian National Police to combat these criminal acts.

Such levels of insecurities lead to several dire consequences. Those who can afford, would now take the law into their own hands, those who can’t might find other means not necessarily legal. Are we to now become a lawless society? Then, there is the investment angle. It doesn’t present a secured environment for investors. They could then leave the country and with them other citizens and residents out of fear would flee the country. Investors (local and international) do shy away from investing due to insecurity and lack of justice. When investors do not invest, economically the country is affected as unemployment increases. Government incomes (personal and corporate income taxes are lost. Aggrieved citizens usually take mob justice as the only alternative. These amongst many negative reactions are recipes for chaos and anarchy.

The questions now are: what can be done here to change the atmosphere of fear? And how can we do it?

To these questions considering the preceding, the government is under obligation to protect the lives of those residing in the country. To ensure that the citizens do not regret electing the current administration, she has to act, and do it now. To avoid mob justice, the government must take charge of matters immediately. To avoid fleeing of citizens and other residents from the country, the government must muster the courage to dig deep into these happenings and punish perpetrators. To ensure current and potential investors that their lives and properties will be protected here, the government must change gear and expedite investigations into these matters.

In closing, while these acts have happened in the past, the onus is always on the government to fight them and protect the people. The Liberian National Police has to step-up, take control of the security, and avoid becoming political in handling these issues.

Source: The Liberian Government Must Take Charge Of Our Security, Or Else…

Namibia: another unexplained death, possible ritual killing

Namibia is not often in the news when speaking about ritual murders, attacks on people with albinisme, witchcraft or related ritualistic activities. Yet also in Namibia occult and ritualistic activities and ceremonies take place, performed by Namibians who believe in the power of superstition. I reported on ritualistic murders in this country as far back as 2005 and 2008. In 2012, members of the national police force discovered items suspected to have been used in a witchcraft ritual near the Nonidas plots some 10 kilometres east of Swakopmund.

When on June 29, 2021 the lifeless body of a 22-year old student, Mukuve Frederick Kanyanga, who had been missing for several days, was found floating in the Okavango river near the Kapako village, in the extreme north-eastern corner of the country, many villagers immediately thought of foul play. “Similar incidents are common in the area where his lifeless body was found,” Kavango East regional councillor Damian Maghambayi commented. And when the victim’s sister, Justa Kalyangu, was interviewed she said: “We need investigators from other regions to come help our police here. Over 18 people have died or have gone missing in this area over the years and no investigations are done.”

Though the cause of Kanyanga’s death has not yet been established officially and hence talking about suspicions and a possible ritual killing constitute non-confirmed speculations, the rumors spreading after his death and the anxiety shown by his relatives and the villagers clearly show that ritual murders are far from an abstract phenomenon in Namibia (webmaster FVDK). 

Missing student’s body found in Okavango

The late 22-year old student Mukuve Frederick Kanyanga

Published: June 29, 2021
By: The Namibian – Enoke Kaumba and Ester Mbathera       

THE mysterious death of 22-year-old University of Namibia student Mukuve Frederick Kanyanga has sent shockwaves through communities in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East region.

Kanyanga’s body was discovered floating in the Okavango River near the Kapako village on Thursday last week. 

Kavango East regional councillor Damian Maghambayi on Friday issued a statement expressing shock and disbelief about the incident.

“The mysterious death of Mukuve brought shockwaves among communities of Mukwe. Similar incidents are common in the area where his lifeless body was found,” he remarked.

Rumours have suggested that the incident was linked to ritual killing. Maghambayi cautioned communities and the family to remain calm and allow the police to conduct their investigations.

Kanyanga’s sister Justa Kalyangu last spoke to him on Sunday last week, when he arrived at Divindu from Rundu. He was supposed to have accompanied a friend to a funeral at a village near Divundu. 

“When we spoke he said he is coming to the funeral. I thought it was the funeral of our relative but he came for a different funeral. He was not at the memorial service or the funeral. I called him the next day and he did not pick up his phone,” said Kalyangu. 

During the following days, she kept calling Kanyanga’s phone, which was ringing but not being picked up. Kalyangu told The Namibian that on Monday 21 June, she approached the Mukwe police to report a missing person. The same day she also put out a missing person’s post on social media. 

“They only asked that we give them a picture and all his details. Thereafter nothing happened. I asked some family members to help me search for him on Tuesday 22 June. 

“On Thursday morning I went to the police to ask that they issue us a search warrant so that we can search the houses. That is when I received a call that the person we are looking for has been found in the river,” added Kalyangu. 

She added to Maghambayi suspicions that people are dying and going missing mysteriously in the area. 

“We need investigators from other regions to come help our police here. Over 18 people have died or have gone missing in this area over the years and no investigations are done,” she said. 

Kavango East governor Bonifasius Wakudumo also expressed condolences to the family and the residents of the region.

The governor has encouraged the youth in the region to be very mindful when choosing friends.

“We must be cautious of the friends that you have, because you never know what is inside a person. 

“When you move in a group of people the family must know who you are with because if anything happens they will not hesitate to contact the colleagues you said you were with,” said the governor. 

Kavango East acting regional commander, deputy commissioner Vilho Kalwenya said the police have interrogated the group of friends the deceased was with before his disappearance.

“We cannot reach a conclusion of arresting anyone because there isn’t any evidence that suggests an arrest,” he said.

Kalwenya added the police are doing their best in their investigations. 

He cautioned the community members to stop spreading unsubstantiated rumours about ritual killings.

“The post mortem will tell us the cause of the death. Those who are spreading unsubstatiated rumours on the issue should prove to us because the autopsy is not concluded, people are already making conclusions,” he said.

Source: Missing student’s body found in Okavango

Headless ‘muti’ murder in Kavango, Namibia (2005 article)

The case of muti murder which is being presented below – in fact a suspected case – has been reported before, see my March 18, 2019 posting, Ritualistic murders in Namibia in 2005; 2008.  However, at that time, in 2019, the link leading to the original 2005 article had expired. Below the full text as originally published on January 2, 2005.

Unfortunately, Namibians are familiar with the crime of ritual murder, notably in the Mukwe area, as the article indicates.  (webmaster FVDK).

Headless ‘muti’ murder in Kavango

Published: January 5, 2005
By: The Namibian – Petros Kuteeue   

POLICE have not ruled out the possibility of a “muti killing” in the gruesome murder of a 79-year-old woman whose head was found floating on the Kavango River on Sunday.

The head was found at Shadikongoro village near Mukwe, about 180 kilometres east of Rundu. The culprits have not yet been arrested and the police are still searching for the rest of the body.

Law enforcement officers now fear that ritual killers, who terrorised villagers in the Mukwe area in the recent past, might be rearing their ugly heads again.

“We have had experience of such things happening in Namibia, particularly in the northern part of the country, where people were murdered and their bodies chopped into pieces,” said Warrant Officer James Matengu of the Police’s Public Relations Division.

Matengu was, however, quick to point out that the Police could not at this stage speculate on the motive of the killing, as the investigation is still underway.

Villagers at Shadikongoro have identified the deceased but, according to Matengu, her name cannot be released, as the next of kin have not yet been informed.

Contrary to a Namibia Press Agency report that the murdered woman went missing from Shadikongoro village on Christmas Day, the police stated that the woman had in fact disappeared on New Year’s Eve, on her way home after watching a religious film at a local
church.

When fellow parishioners went to her home the next day to wish her well for the New Year, she was nowhere to be found.

The following day her head was discovered floating on the river.

Last year, several muti-related attacks were reported in the Mukwe constituency, including the discovery of body parts belonging to an elderly woman, which were found in a plastic bag hanging from a tree at Bagani.

Also in 2004, a 42-year-old Zambian national was lucky to escape with his life at Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region when his private parts were severely mutilated by three men who allegedly tried to harvest his genitals for ritual purposes.

Source: Headless ‘muti’ murder in Kavango

Liberia: Boy discovered dead in Nimba County; cause of death linked to ritualistic rites

Yesterday morning I posed a question – in fact, I made a statement expressing my opinion – but could not imagine that a sad event would soon confirm my view.

I stated: “Ritual murders still occur in Liberia, notably during election campaigns, and the fear of ritualistic killings is a daily preoccupation of many Liberians.”  See yesterday’s  post Ritual murders and elections in Liberia

Then I read the news, later, yesterday evening. “Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites”.

Sad news. I prefer to have been wrong. When will it end in Liberia? When will it stop, ritualistic murders? How come that it does not stop in Liberia (and elsewhere)?

Many questions. Now first the facts.
(webmaster FVDK).

Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Published: January 31, 2020
By: The Bush Chicken – Jerry Myers

SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – A 9-year-old boy has been found dead in a hideout in Nimba’s sixth district, with his body partially dismembered and missing key body parts. The body of Lee Arthur was found on Thursday, Jan. 23 in Sahn Village.

The cause of death remains unknown. However, residents of the village suspect that his missing body parts is an indication that he may be a victim of a ritualistic murder.

Coroners from Boe and Quella administrative districts, as well as Liberia National Police officers in Bahn, Nimba’s seventh district, who visited the scene crime, have all ruled out death from natural causes, suggesting that the child was murdered.

The head of Boe and Quella Administrative District’s Coroner Office, Moses Kargou, described the incident as “too scaring” and the first of its kind in the district since he took up his position in 2005.

“Since my father who was the district coroner died in 2005, and the district people chose me to serve [in] the position, this is my first time to see such ugly act,” Kargou said. “People can get drowned in water, and several other deaths have been happening here. But today, to see someone butchered like [an] animal, it is bad.”

Kargou expressed doubts that the crime was committed by a stranger to the village, suggesting that the perpetrator must be a member of the community. His passionate plea, therefore, was for the police to bring the killers to justice. Kargou then pledged the village’s fullest cooperation in the investigation.

“We can only hear about these kinds of acts on the main road, but for someone to travel this far to commit such an act is really serious,” he noted.

Four persons are already suspected in the alleged murder and are currently in police custody in Bahn.

Following the coroners’ examination and police forensic investigation, the victim’s remains were turned over to his family who, without money to preserve it at a mortuary, has gone forward with burial.

There has been no formal indictment of any suspect as the police investigation continues.

Source: Boy Discovered Dead in Nimba’s Sixth District; Cause of Death Linked to Ritualistic Rites

Nimba County, Liberia

Liberia: ritualistic killings spark mob action in Maryland County (2005 article)

There are so many reports on ritualistic killings in Liberia, one should almost lose track. Below is another article, dating from 2005, on ritualistic murders in Maryland County, perhaps the most notorious region of Liberia as far as ritual murders are concerned. (webmaster FVDK)

Hanging of Convicted Ritual Killers (‘Harper Seven’) in Harper City, Maryland County (1979) – Picture by FVDK Fred van der Kraaij

Published: January 27, 2005
By Josephus Moses Gray – The Perspective 

Some panic-stricken inhabitants of the southeastern county of Maryland, mainly in Harper city, over the weekend took the law into their hands when they staged a violent protest over the wave of ritualistic killings which has re-surfaced in the area.

The county is noted for ritualistic killings, despite serious actions taken over the years by the Liberian government – by putting perpetrators to death by hanging while giving others lengthy prison sentences.

According to latest report emerging from the county, hundreds of angry residents came out to protest the alleged failure of the appropriate security apparatus to curtail the wave of ritualistic killings in the county.

During the violence demonstration staged by the youth of the county, several persons were victimized while several business houses and private homes were reportedly attacked and looted by the mobs. Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Kabineh Ja’neh told journalists in Monrovia this week that the mobs attacked the National Police Headquarters on Green Street in Harper and released several prisoners sentenced for various crimes.

The Justice Minister explained further that the mobs ransacked the Harper Police headquarters and flogged two detainees severely. The two victims, according to minister, have been accused of being involved in the ritualistic killing in the county.

In order to restore calm in the area, the transitional government has imposed a dust to dawn curfew in the county, while at the same time the government has instituted a thorough probe into circumstances that led to the mob action.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative in Liberia, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein told journalists in Monrovia that the UN Mission in Liberia is carefully studying the situation in the county.

According to the UN diplomat, UN peacekeepers are on standby to move into the county should the situation continue in an effort to help ensure the safety and security of the people of Maryland. Warning the residents to remain in doors during he curfew which run from 6: PM to 6:AM daily, ambassador Klein said UNMIL will provide full security for the people of the county.

The situation in the past led to severe punishment administered against convicted sons and daughters of the county, with some of them being publicly hanged to death, while others were given long prison sentences. Among those hanged were the former Superintendent of the County, James Anderson, Jr., Allen Yancy, Francis Nyepan, Philip Seton, Oldman Barclay and Madam Wreh Tarnyonoh, just to name few. They were hanged on 17th February 1979 during the regime of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. after a guilty verdict was brought down against them for killing a popular Kru traditional singer Moses Tweh.

Similar situation re-emerged in 1986 and took away the lives of two little kids in the county. Those connected to the act include former NDPL county chairman, David Clark, Alfred Davies, Jasper Bedell, Gbason Toe and one Gardner. They were arrested and brought to Monrovia where they were sentenced to prolong detention while under going investigation.

Another 200 persons were round-up by the former Superintendent of the county now Minister of Internal affairs, Minister H. Dan Morais for the mysterious death of Lt. Alphonso Chalde, former employee of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).

Source: Ritualistic Killings Spark Mob Action in Maryland

Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear in Togo (2007 articles)

Published: September 21, 2007
By: John Zodzi – Reuters

LOME (Reuters) – Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month. 

The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers. 

The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power. 

Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighboring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy. 

Togo holds legislative elections on October 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. 

In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month’s polls. 

“Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they’re carrying out sacrifices,” said Joel Attigan, a geography student. 

Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement. 

“There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals,” said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome. 

Togo’s media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin. 

“We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things,” the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future. 

The police have been cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis. 

But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation. 

The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.

Source: Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear in Togo

Related article:

‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings

Published: September 28, 2007, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK 
By: BBC

Togolese police say they are probing what could be a cross-border network of killers after six beheadings in Togo and one in Benin earlier this month.

One of four suspects has admitted he belongs to a gang wanted in Benin for similar crimes, Togolese police say.

The victims were all attacked over a two-day period and their decapitated bodies were drained of blood.

A BBC correspondent says there are fears these are ritual murders for witchcraft purposes ahead of Christmas.

In some traditional practices, human body parts are used in the belief that they make charms more powerful.

According to Togo’s police chief Col Damehane Yark, one of the four suspects in custody has also admitted to killing the youngest victim, a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

The BBC’s Edow Godwin in the Togolese capital, Lome, says the killers struck in the southern districts of Vo and Lac, in Maritime province that borders Benin.

At the same time a teenage girl was beheaded in Benin, 65km from the city of Cotonou in similar circumstances.

Source: ‘Gang behind’ Togo’s beheadings

The unsolved case of the torso in the Thames (2001) 2004-2005 articles – Part III

People-smuggler to be quizzed over boy’s body in Thames
Published: July 27, 2004
By: RELIGION NEWS BLOG

A child trafficker who may have helped smuggle the River Thames “torso boy” into Britain was jailed for four-and- a-half years yesterday.

Kingsley Ojo headed a “substantial” network thought to have brought hundreds of youngsters and adults into the country to work in the sex trade, as domestic slaves or for benefit fraud. Now police hope he can shed some light on the ritual murder of the five-year-old boy they named Adam.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Ojo was arrested last year during a co-ordinated series of raids in the capital. He claimed to be Mousa Kamara, 30, from Sierra Leone but was soon identified as a 35-year-old Nigerian, originally from Benin City, where Adam used to live.

The court heard that Ojo had come to Britain in 1997 posing as an asylum seeker from Sierra Leone.

When police searched his flat, they found a video mock-up of ritual killings, a shot of what appeared to be a decapitated head in a basin and a voodoo artefact in the form of a rat’s skull, pierced by a long metal spike and bound in black thread.

Ojo, of Devonshire Close, Stratford, east London, admitted four charges. Two involved dishonestly obtaining a British passport in July 1999, and using a forged driving licence with intent to deceive, while two related to assisting illegal entry into this country in November 2002 and February last year.

Judge Neil Stewart said the offences were so serious that prison was inevitable. He told Ojo: “I’m satisfied your continued presence would be to the detriment of this country and I make a recommendation that you be deported upon your release from prison.”

Detective Chief Inspector Will O’Reilly, the head of the investigation into the unidentified boy’s death, said later that Ojo had been detained because of his close association with a woman, Joyce Osagiede, who was arrested in Scotland. “We believe she is closely involved in the Adam case … we also believe he assisted with her entry into the country,” he said.

He went on: “I firmly believe he [Ojo] can assist us with our inquiries and we will be looking to speak to him as soon as possible.”

Osagiede, who has since been repatriated to Nigeria, also came from Benin City, and the pair lived together for a while at a London address.

The woman, who had Ojo’s address among her belongings, told immigration officers that she had fled her country due to being caught up in a ritual cult.

She claimed her husband, who was arrested in Dublin last year and later deported to Germany, had been involved in a group which carried out “demonic rituals”. He had, she said, played an active part in the deaths of 11 children, one of whom had been their eldest child.

In her flat, police found chicken feathers and a number of other items used in west African curses. They also found clothes believed to have come from the same shop in Germany as the orange shorts found on the headless, limbless body of the child which was found floating near Tower Bridge in central London almost three years ago.

Osagiede’s two daughters are still in foster care in Scotland.

Source: People-smuggler to be quizzed over boy’s body in Thames

Related article:
Jail for torso case people smuggler
Published: July 27, 2004
By: RELIGION NEWS BLOG

A man suspected of having smuggled into the UK an African boy whose torso was later found in the Thames was jailed for four years and six months for people trafficking yesterday.

Kingsley Ojo, 35, from Stratford, east London, admitted four charges: bringing two men, whom he provided with false papers, into Britain in November 2002 and February 2003, and using a forged driving licence and passport.

Ojo headed a “substantial” network that is thought to have smuggled in hundreds of children and adults to work as prostitutes or domestic slaves.

Scotland Yard detectives do not think he killed the boy, named Adam by police, whose headless and limbless torso was recovered from the Thames in September 2001. But they believe he could hold the key to the horrific ritual murder.

Officers were initially baffled by the gruesome find. But painstaking forensic analysis of the boy’s bones established his diet, which narrowed down his place of origin to the region around Benin city in Nigeria.

Ojo, who was arrested with 20 others in a series of immigration-linked raids across London last July, is also from Benin city. He had falsely claimed to be Mousa Kamara, 30, from Sierra Leone.

Detective Chief Inspector Will O’Reilly, who heads the investigation, said Ojo was not thought to have murdered Adam, but police wanted to interview him again about his links with a woman arrested in Scotland.

Children’s clothes found in her Glasgow flat came from the same German shop as the orange shorts on Adam’s torso. She also comes from Benin city, and she and Ojo lived at the same address in London for a time.

“We believe she is closely involved in the Adam case,” Mr O’Reilly said. “Her main associate in this country was Ojo. We also believe he assisted her entry into the country. I firmly believe he can assist us with our inquiries and we will be looking to speak to him as soon as possible.”

The woman has since been “repatriated” to Nigeria and Mr O’Reilly said he could not comment further on her as a file had been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.

When officers searched Ojo’s flat in London, they found a video of mock-up ritual killings and a rat’s skull, thought to be a voodoo talisman.

Southwark crown court heard that Ojo came to the UK in 1997, posing as an asylum seeker, and was granted leave to remain, but forbidden to travel abroad. But when he discovered his girlfriend, Barbara Bourne, had lost a newborn son a few years previously, he used the dead boy’s birth certificate to obtain a driving licence and passport.

He then brought in illegal immigrants on cheap flights from Naples. Police think those smuggled in may have paid up to 20,000 each for a new life in Britain.

Judge Neil Stewart said he was satisfied that Ojo had an organizational role and had profited from the enterprise, and recommended that he be sent back to Nigeria when he had served his sentence. 

Source: Jail for torso case people smuggler

Five witchcraft inquiries
Published: June 17, 2005
By: RELIGION NEWS BLOG

Police and social services in London are investigating five new suspected cases of child abuse involving witchcraft. 

Britain’s leading expert on witchcraft, Dr Richard Hoskins, is working with social services on allegations about fundamentalist churches in Haringey and Hackney.

They involve two boys aged 11 and 14 and three girls aged 10, 12 and 13. They were all allegedly abused after being accused by their family of being “witches”. 

A Metropolitan Police report, leaked yesterday, unmasked a “trade” in young African boys brought to London to be murdered as human sacrifices. 

An inquiry in which members of the African community in Newham and Hackney were questioned found a number of sects that believe in powerful spells requiring the ritual killing of male children.

It also identified cases of children abused and killed after family members accused them of being possessed by “evil spirits”.

Dr Hoskins, a chief adviser to the Met, said almost all the cases he is investigating have similar features. The children have been accused of being “possessed” and allegedly abused and tortured. 

Social services took them into their care after parents called for the children to be exorcised in fundamentalist churches. 

Dr Hoskins said: “We are dealing with real cases here. I have got seven cases on my books of children nationwide who have been abused in the name of witchcraft. When you actually talk to them, these are hard and fast facts. But the issue as a whole has to be dealt with very sensitively.” 

Dr Hoskins worked with police on the inquiry into “Adam“, the torso found in the Thames, which he is convinced was a ritual sacrifice. 

In the Adam case, detectives also spoke to Tussan le Mante, a voodoo priest or hougan, who carries out rituals in his west London flat. 

Le Mante was able to tell them accounts of child abuse of which he was aware through his connection with voodoo. 

Police also found children are being sold to traffickers on the streets of African cities such as Lagos, Nigeria, for under ?10 then smuggled into the UK.

They arrive in London with false documents and accompanied by adults who believe they will bolster their asylum claims. 

Dr Hoskins said: “We know this through work we have been doing on the Adam inquiry. It’s the same in Kinshasa. These children are ripe for people to abuse. They are easy prey.” 

The 10-month study was commissioned by the Met following the death of Victoria Climbié who was starved and beaten to death after relatives said she was possessed.

Its aim was to create an “open dialogue” with the African and Asian community in Newham and Hackney. In discussions with African community leaders, officers were told of examples of children being murdered because their parents or carers believed them to be evil. 

Earlier this month, Sita Kisanga, 35, was convicted at the Old Bailey of torturing an eight-year-old girl from Angola whom she accused of being a witch. Kisanga was a member of the Combat Spirituel church in Dalston. 

Many such churches, supported mainly by people from West Africa, sanction aggressive forms of exorcism. 

The caretaker of the building used by the church said its leader was “an extraordinary man”. 

“The pastor would come down after preaching with froth coming out of his mouth,” he said.

“The congregation made massive noise and generally caused so much disturbance that the neighbours here kicked up a fuss and got the council to evict them.” 

There are believed to be 300 similar churches in the UK, mostly in London. Last month, Scotland Yard revealed it had traced only two of 300 black boys reported missing from London schools in a three-month period. The true figure for missing children is feared to be several thousand a year.

Source: Five witchcraft inquiries

People from Angola, Congo-Kinshasa (DRC) and Nigeria implicated in the inquiries

Ritualistic murders in Namibia (2005; 2008)

Few cases of ritualistic murders have been reported recently from Namibia. This does not mean that ritual killings do not occur in this country. By definition these heinous crimes take place ‘in the dark’. Years ago, I reported some cases of ritual murders in Namibia on my website Liberia Past and Present. Unfortunately, the links then provided have expired by now. Consequently, the information related to these cases is minimal. Notwithstanding this scant information I decided to include here what I then reported. For the sake of history. (Webmaster FVDK).

WINDHOEK – A three-year-old boy from Kazauli village in the Caprivi Region was murdered in a case suspected to be associated with ritualistic muti killing.
(…) 
There are no statistics of the number of muti murders in Namibia.
November 24, 2008 (expired link)

(…) the gruesome murder of a 79-year-old woman whose head was found floating on the Kavango River (…) The elderly woman’s head was found at Shadikongoro village near Mukwe, about 180 kilometres east of Rundu, on Sunday after she disappeared on New Year’s Eve. It is suspected that she was killed for muti (traditional medicine) purposes.
January 6, 2005 (expired link)

Source: Ritual killing in Namibia

Ritual killing: shocking revelations by Gabon footballer Shiva N’Zigou

International football player Shiva N’Zigou

Published: August 17, 2018
By: Sputnik International / Africa news

International football player Shiva N’Zigou, who at some point played at the French club Nantes noted that his mother had been killed in a ritual act for him.

In a video, reposted by the Le Chronique du Gabon YouTube channel and apparently first released by a local television channel, former Gabonese forward Shiva N’Zigou addresses the general public revealing his mother was killed for the sake of his football success.

According to Shiva, his father committed the horrendous act as a ritual killing “in the name of his business prosperity,” namely to keep the money his son earned to himself, so that Shiva could then make further progress in football. According to Shiva, the financial aspect had been an issue in the family.

The footballer separately noted that at the beginning of his sports career, his parents faked his ID, changing his name and reducing his age by five years.

Shiva also provided a couple of saucy details about his personal life, saying he had had relationships with men, one of whom he reportedly dated for a year, as well as had “rapports,” or liaisons with his aunt and sister during some religious festivities.

N’Zigou played for multiple football clubs, including French FC Nantes, and rounded off his career in 2016. The player partook in 24 matches as part of the national Gabonese squad from 2000 to 2008, netting five goals. N’Zigou is believed to have been the youngest player in the African Cup championship, reportedly making his debut at the age of 16.

Source: Incest, Ritual Killing: Shocking Revelations by Gabon Footballer Released Online

Related article: Football. Les terribles confessions de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou
Translation: Football. The awful confessions of former FC Nantes player Shiva Star N’Zigou

Published: August 17, 2018, 4:39 PM
By: Ouest France

L’ancien joueur international espoir gabonais Shiva Star N’Zigou, formé à Nantes, s’est confessé sur les dérives du football dont il a été victime dans sa vie.

Il y a des histoires qui font froid dans le dos, celle de Shiva Star N’zigou en fait incontestablement partie. Dans une vidéo publiée sur YouTube où on a du mal à le reconnaître, le joueur formé à Nantes et ancien international espoir gabonais s’est confié sur les zones d’ombre de sa carrière de footballeur lors d’une cérémonie religieuse. Et le moins que l’on puisse dire c’est que le joueur avait le cœur lourd.

Un âge falsifié

C’est une pratique malheureusement répandue dans le monde du football africain même si elle peut paraître un peu clichée. L’ancien canari avoue dans sa confession filmée que son âge a été falsifié en avançant sa date de naissance, de quoi le vieillir de 5 ans. La raison : mieux réussir dans le football. Très vite repéré à l’âge de 14 ans par le SCO d’Angers alors qu’il évolue encore dans son pays natal, Il terminera meilleur buteur des U15 nationaux du SCO, et pour cause il avait 5 ans de plus que ses coéquipiers et adversaires. Il est notamment le plus jeune joueur à avoir disputé une CAN et avoir inscrit un but lors d’une CAN. Dans sa confidence le joueur admet entre autres que son vrai prénom a été modifié à son arrivée en France, le Gabonais s’appellerait en vérité Shiva, nom tiré du spiritueux Chivas.

Déviances sexuelles effroyables

Le Gabonais de naissance en a plus sur le cœur que ce simple aveu et délivre un véritable récit aussi poignant qu’effroyable, qui a au moins le mérite d’une sincérité que peu oseraient avoir. L’ancien footballeur hésite tout en précisant à son auditoire que « c’est délicat » de dévoiler ce qu’il s’apprête à raconter. L’homme, aujourd’hui âgé de presque 40 ans aujourd’hui, dévoile qu’il a dû avoir des relations sexuelles avec sa tante quand il était « plus jeune ». Rien que cet aveu laisse de marbre mais l’homme continue et explique « qu’il a reproduit ces rapports avec sa sœur », faisant comprendre en substance qu’il a eu des rapports sexuels avec sa propre sœur. Partagé entre la sincérité et la noirceur de ses propos, la vidéo continue et l’effroi de ce qu’il a à confesser aussi, de mal en pis. « Après j’ai eu à coucher avec un ami à moi ». On peut donc comprendre selon la tournure de sa phrase que l’acte n’était pas consenti et s’il n’y a pas plus de précision sur le contexte de cette relation on pourrait en déduire qu’il a été contraint et forcé.

Mère sacrifiée

C’est sûrement le point d’orgue de son horrible récit. L’ancien footballeur avoue que sa mère a été sacrifiée. En cause : les discordes créées par les rentrées d’argent provenant des nombreux contrats qu’il a signés. Selon lui son père aurait tout bonnement tué sa mère afin de garder l’argent pour lui seul sous prétexte de vouloir lui « accoler son esprit » pour qu’il réussisse encore mieux sa carrière. Quand on dit que l’argent rend fou…

Impossible de ne pas sortir ému de ce récit, bien que très glauque. Il faut souligner le courage qu’il lui a fallu pour confesser de tels actes qui relèvent de l’horreur pour le commun des mortels mais qui auront peut-être le mérite de délier les langues si de telles pratiques sont monnaie courante.

Source: Football. Les terribles confessions de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou

More:

Mère sacrifiée, inceste, papiers falsifiés… l’effroyable confession de l’ancien Nantais Shiva Star N’Zigou
RMCSport.BFM https://rmcsport.bfmtv.com , August 17, 2018

Ancien joueur de Nantes, Gueugnon ou encore Reims, Shiva Star N’Zigou a fait une effroyable confession lors d’une cérémonie religieuse. Le Gabonais révèle notamment que sa mère a été tuée par son mari pour des raisons d’argent liées au football.

Si vous suiviez la Ligue 1 au début des années 2000, son nom vous dit sans doute quelque chose. Joueur de Nantes entre 1998 et 2005, puis passé ensuite par Gueugnon et Reims, jusqu’en 2010, Shiva Star N’Zigou refait parler de lui. Et cela fait froid dans le dos. Lors d’une cérémonie religieuse filmée, on voit l’ancien international gabonais se confesser en public au sujet de son passé et de sa famille. Et révéler des choses effroyables.

“Ma mère est décédée par rapport à mon football, elle a été sacrifiée en fait, a-t-il déclaré. Parce que j’ai signé beaucoup de contrats et que ça ramenait beaucoup d’argent à la famille, ça amenait des discordes. Et mon père, pour garder tout l’argent pour lui, a décidé de sacrifier ma mère pour que son esprit me soit accolé et que je réussisse encore plus dans le football. Et c’est ce qui a été fait. Mon père me l’a dit en songe. Moi je n’étais pas d’accord, j’avais refusé, mais malheureusement ça s’est fait. (…) Pour le Seigneur, on a participé, donc le sang de ma mère est tombé sur moi. Donc je demande pardon au Seigneur.”

“J’ai eu des rapports avec ma tante, je les ai reproduits sur ma soeur”

L’ancien international gabonais a aussi révélé que ses papiers et sa date de naissance avaient été modifiés et qu’en réalité, il avait “cinq ans de plus”, soit 39 ans au lieu de 34. N’Zigou a aussi révélé des pratiques incestueuses lors de son enfance. “Quand j’étais plus jeune, j’ai eu des rapports avec ma tante, a-t-il confessé. Je les ai reproduits sur ma sœur”. “J’ai aussi couché avec un ami à moi, un homme, a-t-il poursuivi. J’ai aussi eu une autre relation de longue durée avec un homme, qui était aussi un ami à moi.”

And:

Incest and spiritual sacrifice: the shocking story of Shiva N’Zigou
OneFootball, August 19, 2018

Gabon election raises fears of ritual killings (2008)

Published: April 16, 2008
Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Clar NiChonghaile
Antoine Lawson
Reuters

A sorcerer performs a dance in front of a sacred fire in Bitouga, some 600 km from the Gabon capital Libreville, in this September 2007 photo. REUTERS/Antoine Lawson

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) – When the body of 13-year-old Ralph Edang N’na was found drained of blood and with gaping wounds in his genitals, chest and neck last month, many in Gabon thought it was politicians who had ordered his killing.

The murder of children and young adults, whose organs are eaten or used to make magical amulets, has increased in recent years in the oil-rich central African nation. Campaigners say some Gabonese politicians use the black magic rituals to boost their chances of winning lucrative government posts.

With elections to local municipal councils due on April 27, many fear a spate of gruesome child murders.

Every week, mutilated bodies are discovered in the capital Libreville, despite police patrols, and streets quickly empty after nightfall. Anxious parents are keeping a close watch around schools to prevent children from being snatched.

“It’s before elections and ministerial reshuffles that the vilest crimes are committed and the capital empties of certain kinds of politicians who go to the interior to carry out witchcraft,” said pastor Francois Bibang, a member of the Association to Fight Ritual Crimes (ALCR).

In ritual killings, which still take place in several African countries, people, often children, are killed to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power.

The ALCR says that in February alone there were 12 such killings in Gabon.

“Unfortunately, this practice seems to be spreading again in Gabon,” said Jean-Elvis Ebang Ondo, who founded ALCR after his 12-year-old son was kidnapped, killed and mutilated in 2005.

The government set up a National Observatory for the Rights of Children in November 2006 to implement the U.N. charter on children’s rights, enshrining the right to health, education and protection from abuse.

Gabon, with just 1.6 million people, is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producers but most of its population continue to live in poverty, while members of a rich elite drive shiny new cars along Libreville’s sea front boulevard.

Omar Bongo, the world’s longest-serving president, has ruled the country since 1967 and used the oil funds to weave a web of patronage which has created bitter competition for lucrative political jobs.

Ondo condemned “the silence of the state” and called on residents to “fight off these assassins who sow terror in the heart of Gabonese society”.

After a penal code approved in January omitted any mention of ritual crimes, Ondo called on the government to find out how many people had been killed in this way.

“Spare parts”

But no clear figures exist for how many children and teenagers are slain in ritual killings in Gabon.

The head of an association against ritual crimes, Frederic Ntera Etoua, said 290 killings had occurred since 1986 in the thick jungles of the Ogooue-Ivindo province in the northeast, where Ralph Edang N’na was killed.

“There is a pyramid organization with politicians at its head who pursue the famous ‘spare parts’ then the recruiters who are middle men and then the suppliers and sellers who find the innocent victims,” said Bibang.

Parliamentary speaker Guy Nzouba Ndama opened the latest session of the assembly on March 3 by denouncing ritual crimes by politicians.

So far no politicians have been convicted for involvement in such crimes. An attempt to prosecute a legislator from the oil-rich region of Gamba last year failed after he claimed parliamentary immunity.

Philippe Ndong, a psychology teacher at Libreville university, traces the rise in ritual crimes to 2001.

“As legislative elections approached, mutilated bodies were discovered around the country,” said Ndong. “An 8-year-old girl was snatched in Ndolou department and killed in Mouila. The man allegedly responsible was a candidate to parliament who entered the government after this crime.”

Ndong cites other ritual murders. In 2002, a man in his 20s, Lucien Bigoundou, was killed in the Digoudou forest of central Gabon while on a hunting trip with companions who cut off his genitals and other parts of his body.

In March 2005, the bodies of two 12-year-old boys were washed up on a Libreville beach — one was Ebang Ondo’s son. A month later, six-year-old Warlys Igor Mboumba was found dead in a Libreville gutter, his body drained of blood.

In January 2006, the bodies of three children under four were discovered in the trunk of a car in a private yard.

And last April, two men suspected of sodomizing a 3-year-old boy and draining his blood in a ritual killing were lynched.

“It is up to the government to put a swift end to this impunity or risk seeing a rise in mob justice,” said pastor Emile Ngoua, a member of the ALCR.

Source: Gabon election raises fears of ritual killings
April 16, 2008