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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve repeatedly drawn attention to the many ritual murders, or killings for ritual purposes, in Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country with a population exceeding 200 million souls. These ritualistic crimes are locally known as ‘money rituals‘. (Warning: the preceding link leads to a video with graphic details of ritual killings).
The following post is about the published worries of an individual, Safiyanu Ladan. He was so emotional about the spate of ritual murders in his country that when the new year 2023 was approaching he decided to write an open article which was first published by a leading Nigerian newspaper, the Daily Trust.
Safiyanu Ladan writes from Zaria, Kaduna State, and openly associates ritualistic murders to prominent businessmen and politicians. In the article he dwells on a ritual murder committed by a prominent businessman in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, in the north of the country.
It’s a well-known fact that in Nigeria and other countries ritual murders and elections are linked, with the number of alleged and confirmed cases of ritual murder increasing during election campaigns. Nigeria faces national elections in February this year (next month) when the people of Nigeria go to the polls to elect a new president and National Assembly. (webmaster FVDK).
I feel compelled to register my concern on the rising spate of killings across the country supposedly by ritualists as the 2023 elections draw closer. Some politicians who are desperate to win the election have always resorted to these uncanny acts in a bid to attain power at all costs. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these […]
The post On the rising incidents of ritual killings appeared first on Daily Trust
I feel compelled to register my concern on the rising spate of killings across the country supposedly by ritualists as the 2023 elections draw closer. Some politicians who are desperate to win the election have always resorted to these uncanny acts in a bid to attain power at all costs.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these devilish acts have always gone free. It’s only on rare occasions that some arrests are made and after the suspects are ceremoniously paraded by the police one will never hear about the case again.
In January last year, Aminu Baba, a prominent businessman selling vehicles at Aminchi Motors, Gusau Zamfara State, after his arrest by the police, confessed to have eaten and sold human parts to some unknown persons.
In a video footage, the visibly unapologetic Aminu’s accomplice who was arrested alongside him had admitted the gruesome killing of a 9-year-old boy whose body parts were removed and sold to Aminu for N500,000.
It has been one year since such an unfortunate incident occurred, and the suspects and the police have promised to take them to court at the end of their investigation. The outcome of the court’s judgment on this heinous act is not yet available in the public domain.
Incidents such as this are being reported by the media and after initial reactions, the matter will just die off.
The unrelenting act of ritualists inflicting harm on unsuspecting members of society is of great concern, hence the need for security agencies to double their efforts in order to restore people’s confidence.
It is pertinent to note that the life of a human being is sacred, and as such, nobody should feel threatened that their life might be taken away in whatever form except according to laid down processes.
Safiyanu Ladan wrote from Zaria via email@example.com
The post On the rising incidents of ritual killings appeared first on Daily Trust
As stated elsewhere on this site, human sacrifices are of all ages and all places. In principle, this site focuses on ritualistic activities including killings and murders on the African continent but without pretending that these cruel and superstitious acts are only happening or being committed by Africans in African countries.
The article presented below amply illustrates the foregoing. It goes without saying that a topic such as ‘human sacrifices in historical perspective’ covers a vast area and cannot be treated in one short and simple article. Nevertheless, I have thought it useful and informative to include the following article on this site.
Warning: some readers may find the following text shocking because of its graphic contents. (webmaster FVDK).
Countless Centuries of Human Sacrifice
Live Science recently published a list of 25 cultures that employed human sacrifice “from prehistory to the 21st century.”
In the history of religion, uncountable centuries of human sacrifice present a gory stunner.
It’s astounding that parents around the world sent their children and unwed daughters to be stabbed, burned, skinned, strangled, beheaded, drowned, crushed, clubbed or otherwise killed to please absurd gods and goddesses now known to be imaginary. Men – especially prisoners of war – also were sacrificed.
Live Science recently published a list of 25 cultures that employed human sacrifice “from prehistory to the 21stcentury.” It included China, the city of Ur (in today’s Iraq), Mound 72 near St. Louis, the Incas of Peru, the Mayas of Mexico, the Philistines of the Mideast, Aztecs of Mexico, ancient Egypt, Stonehenge, medieval Japan, Hawaii, early Romans, ancient Greeks, the Moche tribe of Peru, the Dahomey of Africa, Celts of Europe, Nazca of Peru, Vikings, Carthage, Mongols, hunter-gatherers of early Europe, the Indus Valley, ancient Korea, India, Tanzania.
Encyclopedia Britannica says:
“Sacrifice is not a phenomenon that can be reduced to rational terms; it is fundamentally a religious act that has been of profound significance to individuals and social groups throughout history, a symbolic act that establishes a relationship between man and the sacred order. For many peoples of the world, throughout time, sacrifice has been the very heart of their religious life.”
Here’s a section from my book, Holy Horrors, reprinted with permission from Prometheus Books and Rowman & Littlefield:
Over the centuries, sacrifice had many varieties. In ancient Phoenicia, boys were burned to satisfy Adonis and other gods – and the fall of Carthage was blamed on the faithlessness of nobles who substituted children of slaves for their own on the altars. In ancient Gaul, the Druids allegedly put victims into large wicker figures of men and set them afire. In Tibet, Bon shamans performed ritual killing. In Africa, the Ashanti offered about 100 victims each September to assure a good yam harvest. In Borneo, builders of pile-houses drove the first pile through the body of a maiden to satisfy the earth goddess.
The golden age of sacrifice came with the highly organized theocracies of Central America. After the Mayans amalgamated with fierce neighbor tribes in the 11th century, ritual killings proliferated to appease the plumed serpent Kukulcan (later called Quetzacoatl by the Aztecs) and sundry other gods. Maidens were drowned in sacred wells, and other victims were beheaded, shot with arrows, or had their hearts cut out.
In Peru, pre-Inca tribes killed children in “houses of the moon.” Beginning in the 1200s, the Incas built a complex theocracy dominated by priests who read daily magical signs and offered sacrifices to many gods. At major ceremonies, up to 200 children were burned as offerings. Mothers brought their darlings dressed in finery and flowers to be put to death. Special “chosen women” – comely virgins without blemish – sometimes were removed from their temple duties and strangled. Local rulers sent choice daughters to the capital at Cuzco as chosen women. Later they were sent back to be buried alive.
The ultimate murder religion was that of the Aztecs, which demanded about 20,000 victims per year. The chief deity was the sun, which might disappear, priests warned, without daily sustenance of hearts and blood. Multitudes of victims, mostly prisoners of war, were held on stone altars by clergy who ripped out their hearts with obsidian knives. Flesh from their arms was eaten ritually, and their skulls were preserved on racks holding as many as 10,000 heads. Raids called “wars of the flowers” were conducted to seize plentiful sacrifice candidates.
Priests also killed many Aztecs. Weeping children were sacrificed so that their tears might induce the rain god to water the crops. To please the maize goddess, dancing virgins were seized, decapitated, and skinned – and their skins were worn by priests in continued dancing.
In 1487, when the great Aztec temple in Tenochtitlan was dedicated, eight teams of priests worked four days sacrificing 20,000 prisoners, the entire manpower of three captured tribes….
In the Far East, five different types of human sacrifice were halted by British rulers in the 1800s. One was the yearly meriah by the Khonds of Bengal, who cut a victim into small pieces and buried the fragments in many fields to assure a good harvest. Another was a weekly rite by certain followers of the bloodthirsty Hindu goddess Kali who sacrificed a male child every Friday evening at a shrine in Tanjore, India.
A third was the Hindu code of suttee, which required a widow to leap onto her dead husband’s funeral pyre, willingly or unwillingly. The British banned it in 1829, but it persisted. (When Brahmans of Sind protested that suttee was their holy custom, Governor Charles Napier replied: “My nation also has a custom When men burn women alive, we hang them. Let us all act according to national customs.”)
In Burma, the Buddhist king moved the capital to Mandalay in 1854 and sanctified the new city walls by burying scores of “spotless” men alive in vats under the gates and bastions. In 1861, two of the vats were discovered to be empty – whereupon royal astrologers declared that 500 men, women, boys and girls must be killed and buried at once, or the capital must be abandoned. About 100 actually were buried before British authorities stopped the ceremonies.
The worst holy slaughter halted by the British was the infamous Thuggee strangling in India. For generations, certain secretive followers of Kali, the goddess of destruction, had been ritually dispatching an estimated 20,000 victims a year. The toll since the 1500s was estimated as high as two million. Thug theology held that Brahma the Creator produced lives faster than Shiva the Destroyer could end them, so Shiva’s wife Kali commanded believers to hunt humans and garrote them with sashes.
Thugs usually preyed upon travelers in unpopulated places. Victims were seized, strangled, ceremonially gashed, and buried, then the Thugs ate a ritual meal over the burial spot. (They also plundered the victim’s possessions – another motive for their religious fervor.) British officers finally broke Thuggee by ferreting out 3,689 cultists and hanging or imprisoning them, or branding them with “Thug” as a public warning. At a trial in 1840, one Thug was accused of strangling 931 people.
Other sacrifices lingered. In the 1800s an Ashanti king in Africa, wishing to make his new palace impregnable, sacrificed 200 girls and mixed their blood in the mortar of the walls. In 1838 a Pawnee American Indian girl was cut to pieces to fertilize newly sown crops. During the late 1800s, bodies of sacrificed children occasionally were found at Kali shrines in India.
Among those thousands of priests, I wonder if any realized that their gods were purely imaginary. Whether they did or not, their careers consisted of senseless, pointless, horrifying murder.
A former ULIMO commander stands trial in France accused of war crimes, human rights violations, murder and cannibalism.
For shortness sake reference is made to Civitas Maxima’s monitoring of the arrest and trial of Kunti Kamara, a former ULIMO commander who was arrested in France in 2018. Kunti Kamara is accused of war crimes and human rights violations including torture, rape, murder and cannibalism committed during Liberia’s first civil war (1989-1997) in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. His trial started in Paris/France on October 10.
Kunti Kamara is not the first or only rebel commander who’s being accused of ritual murder and cannibalism. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission mentions in its 2009 Final Report that hundreds of Liberians were murdered for ritual purposes during the two civil wars. In his book The Mask of Anarchy (1999), the late Stephen Ellis accuses the leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) who started Liberia’s first civil war, Charles Taylor, of drinking human blood during a juju ritual. Also Gibril Massaquoi, a RUF commander in neighboring Sierra Leone and a key-witness in the SCSL trial of warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, was accused of murder for ritual purposes, but acquitted in April (2022). (webmaster FVDK).
“I would never eat human heart” – Kunti Kamara denies accusation before a French War Crimes court
Published: October 18, 2022 By: Prue Clarke, Front Page Africa – Monrovia, Liberia
PARIS, France – The former Ulimo commander Kunti Kamara, on trial here for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia’s civil wars, had his first chance to make a substantive response to the allegations made against him in the first five days of this trial.
Under questioning from the judges, civilian lawyers and prosecution lawyers Kamara denied all the accusations that victims have made against him of torture, rape, murder of civilians and “barbarism” in the town of Foya in Lofa County, Liberia between 1993 and 1994.
Kamara told the nine-person jury and four alternates that the accusations of cannibalism – that he roasted and ate the heart of a civilian who had allegedly reported his crimes to international observers – made him sick.
“Since I was arrested nothing bothered me in the trial like what they’re talking about now. Eating human beings,” Kamara said. “Even if I spend 100 years in jail I will not admit to eating a human being’s heart. Each time I hear it I want to vomit.”
“Since I was born until today I never eat pork,” said Kamara a Muslim. “Why should I eat human being heart? I have nothing to say. I am innocent. I don’t know them today. I don’t know them tomorrow.”
Kamara denied that he had ever knew anyone who had said they ate human heart including in rituals of the Poro, a traditional African society.
“Since I was small that is a rumor in the ear,” he said of Poro human sacrifice and consumption of human flesh. “But I never met anyone who said they ate heart.”
Kamara insisted that the Ulimo committed no atrocities against civilians in the four-month period he was with them in Foya though he conceded Ulimo may have committed atrocities elsewhere during the war.
He said Ulimo in Foya was under the ultimate command of Ulimo Commander Dekau. Kamara said his mandate was only as battalion commander in charge of platoons “on the frontlines”. He denied any leadership role in the town over civilians.
Kamara acknowledged Ulimo fighters that victims have identified in this trial “Ugly Boy”, “Fine Boy” and Alieu Kosiah, convicted of war crimes in Switzerland in 2021, were all with him in Foya but Kamara claimed he hardly ever saw them.
Kamara blamed the accusations that have brought him to trial here were part of a “plot” orchestrated by “a clique” led by Fayah Williams, the late deputy director at Global Justice and Research Project, the Liberian justice activists.
Late in the evening Massa Washington, the former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, gave a powerful testimony that could prove decisive in the trial.
It was designed to answer questions that jurors may have had about whether they should be passing judgement on a Liberian for crimes committed 30 years ago in a country a long way away. That was a question French journalists were asking eachother on the sidelines of the trial.
“These trials are important because they give them people of Liberia justice,” an emotional Washington told the jury. “They give us hope that one day we’ll be able to get justice with our own judges, our own prosecutors, on our own soil. In the meantime we are grateful that some of the people who committed these gross violations of human rights who are in this country, in the US, in every country in the world where they find them they can try to bring them to justice. In the absence of our government addressing accountability these trials are the Liberian people have.”
Washington thanked the jury.
“It sends a message that we belong to the universal human race,” Washington said. “It says that the world has not forgotten Liberia. It says that we all share that common human dignity. We have the same needs. We feel the same pain. We thank you for the opportunity to tell some of these stories. I hope this has provided an important clarification for why this trial is important.”
Washington told some of the horrors she had personally witnessed as a journalist in Monrovia during the first civil war. The jury was riveted by her testimony which made clear that the testimony they were hearing from witnesses here was just a fraction of the myriad atrocities that had been committed during the war. She told of rapes of girls as young as five and of elderly women. She said her work with women made it clear to her than many of the elderly women had not come forward to the TRC hearings because of the stigma.
She told the story of an 82-year-old woman who told her she was made a war wife.
“’I was raped all the time by boys who could have been my grandchildren,’” Massa quoted the woman as saying. “Her story is just one story that represents thousands of stories. The rebels were so bad that when people were on checkpoints trying to get away from the fighting the rebels were raping the wives in front of the husbands. They even forced sons to have sex with mothers in front of the family to destroy the men. They took the young girls away.”
Earlier in the day the fifth victim to testify against Kamara detailed the alleged torture, killing and cannibalism of a schoolteacher in Foya that all victims have claimed was directed by the defendant.
He also talked more broadly of the suffering of people in Lofa during Ulimo’s occupation of the town. His telling of the experience of the women he had planned to marry was a harrowing example of the broader suffering of the people.
“M. was my girlfriend and Ugly Boy took her as a sex slave,” the victim told the Paris court talking of the now deceased perpetrator that many victims have alleged was Kamara’s lieutenant who followed his orders to commit many of the crimes. The court has ordered press to withhold victims’ names for their security.
“This was another blow to me,” the victim told the court. ”I really planned to marry her. The first time I saw her after the war, it was painful, but it had happened. She was not at fault. I saw her but the stigma was too heavy. I could no longer take her as a wife. By tradition anyone who takes a wife after that is easily rejected from society. In addition, because of her time as a sex slave, she conceived. I am feeling it for her now because her situation is too deplorable.”
The trial continues Tuesday with more testimonies from victims about the murder of a woman in Lofa.
This story is a collaboration with New Narratives as part of the West Africa Justice Reporting Project.
Liberia: “You are Kundi. You killed my sister” A third victim identifies Kamara as perpetrator in War Crimes Trial
Published: October 19, 2022 By: Anthony Stephens and Prue Clarke with New Narratives, Front Page Africa – Monrovia,
PARIS, France – On Tuesday a third victim identified Kunti Kamara, on trial for torture, cannibalism and crimes against humanity in the Paris Court, as “Co Kundi” the rebel commander who allegedly committed atrocities in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia.
The man was one of four plaintiffs who have brought the case against Kamara here in Paris, France where Kamara was living when he was arrested in 2019 after French investigators built a case against him.
“You are Kundi,” the man said turning to look at Kamara directly, barely containing his obvious emotion and rage. The plaintiff pointed at Kamara who was sitting behind his lawyers in a protective glass case. “I know you very well. You the one that killed my sister.”
The now elderly man told the court Kamara arrived at his house in Foya in late 1993 after the man’s sister’s baby had died. He alleged Kamara gave the family $L100 for their pain.
Soon after that Kamara allegedly ordered the victim’s sick and half naked sister – the mother of the child – dragged from the house. He accused her of witchcraft. The victim said Kamara and his troops had taken over the house for themselves and already had his wife, son and mother in custody at the time. Kamara did not know the man, who was standing with a crowd, was a member of the family.
The victim was overcome with tears as told the court that he had watched as Kamara put three bullets in his sister’s head.
Within months the man’s mother was also dead from illness. The victim blamed Kunti for the grief the murder of his sister had caused her.
“She cried every day,” he said. “So she became sick from not seeing my sister.”
The lawyer for the civil parties asked the victim if he had anything to say to Kamara but he took the opportunity to issue a warning to the judges instead.
“I’m very happy to see all the officers to take care of Kundi,” he said pointing to the court officers who accompany the defendant at all times. “This government should not leave Kundi to come back to Liberia.”
Kamara rejected all the allegations as he has done consistently throughout this trial.
“I’m just shocked,” an agitated Kamara told the president of the court Thierry Fusina. “I don’t know him. These people, it’s my first time to see them in my life. I don’t know them! They are lying on me. I’m not a criminal.”
Earlier in the day another witness to the alleged murder of the sick woman accused of witchcraft gave evidence that appeared to contradict testimony that he gave to an earlier investigating judge in the case.
Gibril Massaquoi is a former commander of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a notorious rebel group in Sierra Leone responsible for a long list of atrocities, human rights violations and war crimes. Massaquoi is a Sierra Leonian national and was arrested in Finland in March 2020; accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Liberia.
Gibril Massaquoi played an important role – as a key-witness – during the trial of warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor who was found guilty of war crimes and human rights violations in Sierra Leone and sentenced to 50 years in prison by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).
For briefness sake I refer to the following site for more background information on this person: Liberia: Past and Present of Africa’s Oldest Republic, click here.
Highly recommended reading is also Justice Info Net, in particular Thierry Cruvelliers’ contribution: THE MASSAQUOI AFFAIR: SPECIAL REPORT ON THE JUDAS OF SIERRA LEONE (PART 1 and PART 2). (webmaster FVDK)
Liberia war crimes: Sierra Leone rebel commander acquitted by court in Finland
Published: April 29, 2022 By: BBC
A court in Finland has acquitted a rebel commander of rape, ritual murder and the recruitment of child soldiers during Liberia’s civil war.
The court said there was not enough proof to convict Gibril Massaquoi.
The 52-year-old is from Sierra Leone and was a senior member of a notorious rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), that also fought in neighbouring Liberia from 1999 to 2003.
He had moved to Finland in 2008 and was arrested two years ago.
Mr Massaquoi was a school teacher when Sierra Leone’s civil war began in 1991. He joined the RUF, quickly rising through the ranks to become spokesman of the group which was notorious for atrocities such as hacking off the limbs of civilians, as well as murder and rape.
But he then gave evidence to the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone set up to investigate war crimes committed in that conflict.
He was relocated to Finland as part of a witness protection programme, which provided immunity for crimes committed in Sierra Leone, but not Liberia.
Prosecutors alleged that in Liberia, Mr Massaquoi had ordered buildings with people locked inside to be torched, and described the widespread rape and murder of civilians, often by enslaved child soldiers.
The ex-rebel said he was not in Liberia at the time.
The Finnish court had decamped to the Liberian capital, Monrovia, for a while to hear local testimony.
Around 250,000 people were killed during the internal conflicts that ended in 2003.
This was the first prosecution over Liberia’s civil war to be partially held in the country, although Mr Massaquoi remained in Finland.
Former Liberian President Taylor was convicted by an international criminal court in 2012 of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but that was in connection with the conflict in Sierra Leone. He is serving his 50-year sentence in a prison in the UK.
His son “Chuckie” Taylor was sentenced to 97 years in prison in a US federal court in 2009 for torturing and killing people while he was the head of Liberia’s anti-terrorist services.
Ex-warlord Mohammed “Jungle Jabbah” Jabateh has been jailed for 30 years in the US for lying about his past as a leader of a force that carried out multiple murders and acts of cannibalism.
The article below contains a number of interesting views – from various points of view – which throw light on the why and how of ritualistic murders and associated activities in Nigeria, commonly referred to as ‘money rituals’. It also mentions a number of recent ritual murder cases, some of them have been included in previous posts.
Personally I find the statement of a Catholic priest, Fr. Oluoma, perhaps the most convincing, simple as it was. He said that, had killing for money rituals been proven to have any form of potency, juju priests would have been on the World’s Richest Peoples list. Hilarious, simple, and convincing.
But another expert spoken to, the Chief Priest of Aroh Deity in Abagana community, Njikoka Local Government Area, Dr Paul Anieto, said that logic alone cannot explain the whole of life, including the accumulation of wealth.
Without mincing his words he stated that money rituals work. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that there are various kinds of rituals for wealth.
According to the Aroh Deity Priest, some rituals involve the use of human body parts while others don’t. (…)
The native doctor clearly stated that he does not engage in the kind of money ritual that involves human body parts or blood, because it is criminal. Moreover, he said, it has deadly consequences for everyone involved: the instigator, the perpetrator, and the juju priest who executes the ritual.
Let’s hope he was sincere. (webmaster FVDK)
What we know about ritual killings for money, Juju priests, Imams, Pastors, others speak
• Money ritual real but there are consequences —Aroh Deity Priest • If money rituals have potency, juju priests would be on Forbes’ rich list —Fr. Oluoma … •Faulty parenting, poor education, bad governance driving youths to money rituals —Rev. Hayab … •Money rituals promoted by materialistic clerics – Sheikh Nuru Khalid … •Killing for money rituals, haram in Islam —Shi’ite cleric
These days, reports of certain killings in Nigeria, where the human body is decapitated and sensitive parts harvested are believed to be for ritual purposes. In some instances, especially, if the motive remains unclear, some people assume they must have been about money-making.
However, other people, including Christian and Muslim clerics, don’t believe in the efficacy of money rituals. By that, they mean there is nowhere in the history of humankind where anybody has made real cash appear through the means of magic. They simply describe such an idea as a mirage.
But the belief in the efficacy of money ritual killings continues to be rife, especially in a society like the Nigerian context where religion and the supernatural appear to be the opium of the people due to bewildering economic hardship and widespread poverty.
Investigations reveal that the ritual killings heighten around December and the year before general elections, because people need money to spend during the annual yuletide celebrations and other financially draining pre-election meetings and rallies.
As the gap between the rich and the poor; the haves and the have-nots widen across the country, the desperation to overcome the expanding class divide propel many citizens, particularly the youth demography to turn to the dark sides of the supernatural with the hope there will be a wealth redistribution in their favour through unseen support.
Recall the recent tragic drama in Ogun State where a 20-year-old lady, Sofiat Kehinde, was gruesomely murdered and her head severed for money ritual by four teenager suspects; Soliu Majekodunmi; 18, Wariz Oladehinde, 18; Abdulgafar Lukman, 19, and Balogun Mustaqeem, 20.
They conspired to kill Kehinde and played different roles in her murder. Her skull was severed in her lover’s( Majekodunmi) room after a passionate round of love-making.
Fortunately, the teenagers were apprehended by security men after they got wind that the boys were engaging in something sinister in a building located at Isale-Ijade, Oke-Aregba area of the State.
That is the nature of the Nigerian society where people, including kids who should be minding their studies and dreaming of a glorious future for themselves are pre-occupied with looking for metaphysical explanations to clarify otherwise simple phenomena of pervasive poverty in the land.
However, while some traditional religion practitioners speak of some fetish rituals some embark on for money-making, religious leaders, especially in Christendom and Islam agree to an extent that although life in general is guided by faith in the invisible, those who pursue wealth through the execution of any form of violent homicide are under an illusion, from a spiritual standpoint, that genuine help will come to them.
One of such clerics is Rev. Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja who commands a following of 689,903 people on Facebook alone.
If money rituals have potency, juju priests would be on Forbes’ rich list — Fr. Oluoma
According to the Catholic priest, had killing for money rituals been proven to have any form of potency, juju priests would have been on the World’s Richest Peoples list.
In an exclusive chat with Saturday Vanguard, he blamed society’s emphasis on material prosperity for the pressure felt by those, particularly youths who resort to voodoo to make money.
Fr. Oluoma also chided fellow preachers who promote the perception that financial “seed-sowing” in religious houses would translate into miracle wealth.
“Two things I want to say are: First, ritual killing for money is an illusion, it doesn’t work. If it did, the Babalawo (juju priest) who is paid to do the rituals would have done it for himself and be living large. Even the governments would have been using prisoners condemned to death for money rituals instead of wasting their blood by hanging or firing squads. It (money rituals) is an illusion like magic.
“Secondly, preachers of the gospel should stop the prosperity gospel, they should teach people the values of honesty, diligence, generosity and hard work. The emphasis on material prosperity puts pressure on people who resort to any means to make it,” Fr. Oluoma, who shepherds a congregation at St. John Mary Vianney Catholic Church, Trademore Estate, Lugbe Abuja, said.
Faulty parenting, poor education, bad governance leading youths to money rituals —Rev. Hayab
For Rev. John Hayab, the Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and the FCT, nowadays many people including minors seek supernatural solutions to basic economic issues that could be resolved through education and logic partly because of bad leadership and the faulty upbringing of children.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the vocal preacher who is also the Country Director of Global Peace Foundation in Nigeria, also said people who traffic in stories of how supernatural power has prospered certain people do so largely to further mislead those who find it hard to accept that someone else can succeed through the ethics of hard work, prudence, and sheer ingenuity.
He said, “The way and manner many of our youths are deviating from moral values and embracing evil just to make money are dangerous for a peaceful future. There are many factors responsible for their going into ritual killings to make money instead of pursuing education that will lead them into researching and investing in science and technology.
“Other nations are doing well in these regard because they have laid a good solid foundation for both the educational, moral and spiritual growth of their nation and children.
“The Bible has admonished us to train a child in the way he should go so that when he grows old he will not depart from it (Prov 22: 6). So, what type of training and upbringing are many Nigerian children getting from parents, neighbors, and even leaders?
“Our society celebrates rich people without questioning the source of their wealth. Churches recognise the best-dressed worshippers and members with big cars not minding the source of all they flaunt around.
How will poorly brought-up children not think that money is everything and go after money anyhow just to be recognised and celebrated?
“Our society and our youths will reject the temptation of killing for money when parents bring them up in the fear of God and love for fellow human beings. Everyone should therefore take parenting seriously by helping to raised godly and responsible children.
“Also, the government must help to make sure our teeming youths have an equal opportunity like their counterparts around the world. A country where basic services are not available can make the youths who are not patient want to make money by all means just to afford some basic human needs.
“When you (government) give your youths poor education, they will use their half-baked knowledge to do wrong things. We should lead our youth by example.
“Likewise, faith leaders should preach sermons that will guide the young people right not misleading some of them with wrong definitions of prosperity. Prosperity is not just about having money. A healthy man, contented, and happy doing what he knows best for the glory of God and the good of all humanity even if he has not much cash in his account or pocket is a prosperous person.”
While there appears to be no logical link between wealth and rituals, the rising incidences of gory killings in our society by suspects who got into trouble with the law, because of their desperation for money are worrying and the society must be held to account for the phenomenon.
Money rituals promoted by materialistic clerics —Sheikh Nuru Khalid
The immediate past Chief Imam of the National Assembly Legislative Quarters’s Jum’mat Mosque, Apo, Abuja, Sheikh Muhammad Nuru Khalid who spoke to Saturday Vanguard from his location in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he is currently observing the lesser Hajj, said the society has lost its sense of value; thereby, placing materialism above spirituality.
He also said that the ultimate goal of some people who engage in gruesome murders for money was the acquisition of political power in the country; stressing that greed also forms the basis of such gory killings.
Sheikh Khalid maintained that greed was condemnable not only in Islam, but in other religions.
The Islamic scholar, who also commands a mass following of 138,266 people on Facebook, stated: “We have to acknowledge that our society is in trouble. Values are lost. Gradually, we are becoming a valueless society. We glorify money and other forms of materialism above spirituality which is increasingly becoming absent in the mosques and churches.
“Materialism is taking the place of spiritualism in our preaching and actions, because the Imams and Pastors are less concerned about spiritual things. If you have a lot of money, you can garner a lot of respect in the society.
“Other issues responsible for the mad rush for money rituals are corruption and the get-rich-quick deceit. Our political system is also one of the factors fueling criminality in the form of money rituals, because without money, you don’t have power. People want money to acquire power. So, they are desperate in search money to reach the political position of power.
“But, if you put all these things together, they will tell you why all the religions are against greed. There are many verses of the Qu’ran and Hadiths of the Holy Prophet, cautioning people to desist from greed. That is why Islam is against inhuman activities that endanger lives, dignity, and the wealth of the common man.
“Above all, we need to do more to bring back the society to its normal sense, because abnormalities are becoming norms in our society.”
There is a telling example of this odd trend of abnormality becoming the norm in the story of 33-year-old suspected ritualist, Afeez Odusanya, who was arrested by operatives of the Osun State Security Network, codenamed ‘Amotekun’ for extracting teeth of dead bodies at a burial ground.
Odusanya, who said he did it for a money ritual when he was paraded at Amotekun command, Sabo area, Osogbo, disclosed he started his quest for money ritual in 2016 but it failed twice after extracting teeth from two different bodies in Sagamu, Ogun State.
Rather than accept that what he set out to achieve is impossible, the suspected money ritualist doubled down on his exhumation of buried corpse believing it would ultimately succeed if he added this and that to the process.
People like Odusanya have never seen the rituals translate into money or success, but they still attempt it anyway. By killing people, they get drawn into the relatively profitable trade in human body parts. They do not need to see it work; they just need to believe and start relating to the phenomenon as true.
Killing for money rituals, haram in Islam —Shi’ite cleric
But, a leading Muslim cleric of the Shi’ite sect in Sokoto caliphate, Sheikh Sidi Munir, maintains that tampering with the human body for ritual purposes whether efficacious or not is inglorious in Islam.
He, however, noted that the more killing for money ritual is hyped, the more people believe that others participate in it because it is perceived to be efficacious, and the more those who benefit in the trading of human parts oil the demand and supply chain.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Vanguard, the Islamic cleric said: “In Islam, human dignity is a right given by God to all humans, who are referred to in the Qur’ân as God’s vicegerents on earth.
“Islam grants certain rights to humans before they are even born and others after their death. Whether dead or alive, the human body, created by God in the perfect shape, must be given dignity and respect.
“So, money ritual is condemnable in Islam, and the use of human body parts for making medicine, charms and amulet for any reason is haram (forbidden). It is unlawful in Islam to tamper with a human body, and a Muslim who persists in committing these kinds of rituals will find himself on a path that will eventually lead him into becoming a non-Muslim.”
On how to turn the minds of people, especially the youths from killings for money rituals, Sheikh Munir alluded to one of the Hadiths (traditions) to buttress the need for clerics to keep preaching repentance messages from the pulpits.
He said, “In one of the Hadiths of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW), a man was in the habit of digging up graves to harvest human body parts.
One day, he met a woman in a grave and had sexual intercourse with her. Afterwards, a great calamity befell him. He went to a Mallam who told him he would burn in hell fire, because his predicament was a result of his evil deeds.
“The distressed man seized the Mallam and killed him. Then, he went to another Mallam who told him that if he would repent of his sins, the Almighty God will forgive him and take away his reproach. The evil man turned away from his evil ways and became a good Muslim. So, as clerics, we need to keep preaching repentance always.”
Money ritual is real, but… —Aroh Deity Priest
Meanwhile, the Chief Priest of Aroh Deity in Abagana community, Njikoka Local Government Area, Dr Paul Anieto, told Saturday Vanguard that logic alone cannot explain the whole of life, including the accumulation of wealth.
According to him, to say there is nothing like money rituals is to say there is nothing like mysticism in life. He said that to stretch the logic of that denial, implies that there is nothing like God, because many believe that there is a mystical side to the nature of God.
He explained that there are Christians who believe in the transubstantiation of substances i.e. the transformation of forms, for instance, of the water and the wine into the body and the blood of Jesus Christ once they are consumed in the Holy Communion.
Chief Anieto without mincing his words stated that money rituals work. Nevertheless, he was quick to point out that there are various kinds of rituals for wealth.
According to him, some rituals involve the use of human body parts while others don’t. However, the blood of certain animals like rams, bulls, and birds are required.
The native doctor clearly stated that he does not engage in the kind of money ritual that involves human body parts or blood, because it is not only criminal, but also has deadly repercussions for all the parties – the wealth seeker, his collaborators, and the juju priest who executed the ritual – involved.
Dr Anieto said: “Some ignorant juju priest make use of human beings as sacrificial materials for money rituals and lucky charms. But this is not what the African culture teaches.
“Rituals are basically an intercession between the mundane and the spiritual. It is unfortunate that what we see today are so many committing various forms of dangerous and inhuman acts in the name of money rituals.
“I don’t engage in human money rituals and you can never see any real adherent of Odinnani (Igbo traditional religion) engage in money ritual, because “Ani” forbids the shedding of human blood. Violating this taboo comes with devastating consequences, because all deities in Igbo culture requires tooth-for-tooth and blood-for-blood.
“To accumulate wealth requires hardwork and business acumen. This is what Odinaani teaches but it is unfortunate that today’s youths lack this important virtue. They want to succeed at all costs, not minding who gets hurt in the process. They are ready to kill and sacrifice human beings for money rituals without considering the consequences of their action.
“There is prosperity charm which does not require the use of human beings or human parts but you must first have a mundane source of income to make it work. Do not be deceived into believing that there is a spirit that brings money for anyone out of thin air without a mundane source of income even in odious money rituals where human blood and body parts are involved.”
Above all, a professor of psychology at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Oni Fagboungbe, said rituals for both money and success exist only in the perception of the people.
He explained that for those who do money ritual, it is their faith that makes the ritual for money work for them and not the incantation or the ritual itself.
To him, it is the law of perception that is at work in cases of successful money rituals. If you perceive a situation as real, it becomes real. That is it. It is not the ritual that brings money, it is their mind and the attachment they give to it.
Fagboungbe decried the spate of ritual killings for money among the youths, and said there are several psychological laws that explain these behaviours.
According to him, “There is the Destalk psychology that says the part can never be better than the whole. The children cannot do something that is not rampant in their country.
“There is also what is called observational learning. This is the most active form of learning. These youths observe what goes on and imbibe it.
“Additionally, the law of effect says any stimulus that brings pleasure will be maximised and the one that brings pain will be minimised. These youth see the society. They see politicians commit crimes and they also see them get out of them and all sort of things. They see how the society eulogise and applaud dubious characters.
“So, there are no deterrent variables available. People do as they like and get away with it. You will hear Yahoo boys say that if they give money to the police, they will be let off the hook.”
While Christian and Muslim religious leaders attempt to undermine the phenomenon of money rituals by appealing to reason and by pointing out how illogical such a belief is, some analysts say that both logic and the law are powerless to serve as the basis of dissuading those who would not be dissuaded from their culturally perception of life and their place in it, because the irrational often trumps the rational in the real world.
Legal prosecution of suspect may have the power to nip in the bud any attempt at senseless killing in the name of seeking wealth, but people will keep believing what they want to believe about the efficacy of money rituals.
Therefore, to effectively tackle the obnoxious practice of money rituals in the society, the government must entrench the practice of good governance and do all it would take to pull the economy out of the doldrums that has widened the gulf between the rich and the poor in the country.
Ritual killing is real, herbalist speaks too
By Evelyn Usman
According to him: ‘ I inherited this trade from my late father. Before he died, he warned me never to indulge in any rituals that involves human blood. He told me that some of his professional colleagues died miserably because they practiced money rituals.
“He also told me one of them lost seven of his children after killing a virgin for money rituals. My job is to prepare concoctions with herbs and soap for cure of diseases that are planted into individuals by wicked people.
“Unfortunately, some of us who do legitimate business in this profession are not rich, when compared to those who are into money rituals. While they could be paid between N500,000 and N2 million naira depending on the outcome of the rituals, the legitimate herbalists may die without having N100,000 in bulk .
“Blood is potent for money ritual making. It has several types . But the only thing those patronizing herbalists who practice money rituals don’t know, is that one killing may never be enough. Killing of one person is just the introductory part. As long as the person wants to be rich, he would be sacrificing human beings to renew that evil covenant because the demon in charge of money always requires blood.
“Unfortunately, most people who patronize these herbalists don’t also know they are destined to be rich. These herbalists only demand human blood to fast track their predestined wealth”.
Some recent ritual killings —Lagos
A vivid instance was the murder of 24-year-old Precious Okeke, who just concluded her National Youth Service Corp. The unsuspecting lady had paid a visit to her fiancé ,Maxwell Njoku, at his Ajah , Lagos abode, only for her decomposing remains to be discovered in the apartment three weeks ago.
Report had it that her supposed fiancé allegedly killed her for money rituals, with an instruction by his herbalist to keep her body in the apartment for seven days, after which he would transform into a multimillionaire. Unfortunately, a curious neighbour traced the disturbing stench to the apartment before the expiration of the seven days .Another bizarre incident occurred at Araromi Street in the densely populated Oshodi area of Lagos, following the alleged killing of a mother of five by her husband for money rituals.
In this case, the suspect Sogei Jafairu, who hails from Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo state, was suspected to have poisoned his wife’s food and mistakenly ate it. While his wife did not survive it, he did and reportedly opened up on his deed.
Again in Lagos, One Sherifat Bello was arrested by the Police after he confessed to killing his wife and burying her remains in a shallow grave, for money rituals .
This barbaric act assumed a cannibalistic dimension following the arrest of a suspected kidnapper alleged to have killed one of his victims and used his intestines to prepare pepper soup in River State.
The suspect, Roland Peter, according to the Police in River State , abducted his victim from his house and was at the verge of eating pepper soup and yam porridge prepared with parts of the body of his victim’s when the police swooped on him and some accomplices.
Ogun State seems to be taking the lead in the report on killings for money rituals. Recently, three teenagers were allegedly caught burning the head of a girl they killed for money ritual purposes at the Oke Aregba area of Abeokuta in Ogun State.
The teenagers: Wariz Oladehinde, 17, and Abdul Gafar Lukman, 19, and the 20-year-old, Mustakeem Balogun, confessed during interrogation that the victim identified simply as Rofiat, was the girlfriend of one of them who was lured into their apartment, where they cut off their heads .
On why teenagers engage in money rituals remains a riddle to unravel.
Other arrests made by the Police in Ogun State involved Pastors and Islamic clerics allegedly involved in killings for money rituals.
There had been several other cases of killings for money rituals in the state .
In Enugu, the south-east region of Nigeria, the story is the same. A housewife, Mrs Ifebuchukwu Onyeishi narrated recently, how her husband, Chidi Onyeishi, a tricycle operator , in connivance with a nonagenarian Pastor, allegedly killed their seven-year-old son for a money ritual.
The list is endless, with the introduction of different devices to achieving the devilish act.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, the General Overseer, Apply Praise Ministry International and Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Jakande /Bungalow district of Ejigbo, Pastor Segun Olatunde , said killings for money ritual did not just begin today, adding that he met the ugly phenomenon while growing up as a child.
Asked if it worked , he replied affirmatively . According to him: “Yes, it works for them. Because if it isn’t, people will not be indulging it in the practice . It has been for a long time . I recall as a growing child , our parents warned us never to accept anything from strangers, especially when going to school.
Today, there are different versions of it. Some use human parts to prepare charms , while others use the parts to enhance their business. For some, it is to attract money and favour, to them. It is mysterious, just as money is mysterious and answers to blood.
“Recently some persons were arrested while they were burning some human parts to prepare charms for money rituals. I don’t know how they do it but those arrested said they were burning the human hand for money rituals. For some, the money must be spent in a day, for new ones to come and failure to finish it that day attracts dire consequences.
Killing humans does not guarantee being rich — Ifa Priest, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon
By Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
A foremost traditionalist and Ifa priest, Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon has said that killing human does not guarantee being rich stressing that many spiritualists that embark on it are actually living a miserable life.
According to the renown Ifa Priest, “money ritual is in two ways, first, the popular gruesome killing of human with a view to using their body parts for money is more of magical than ritual. Over the years of my being a priest, I have never seen or heard any Ifa corpus about killing human for money rituals. It is not a certainty but magical. Many of the spiritualists involved in the illegality are themselves poor.
“If it is certain that once you kill someone and severe body part, mix it with certain things you start getting money, why are the herbalists still poor? Many of those caught after perpetrating the killings and used the body parts still complained that it didn’t work for them. So, it is not ritual but magic. Ritual is what you do regularly to sustain a level of flow of spirituality. In Yoruba tradition, the money ritual does not involve killing humans. It is called ‘Awure’, ‘Osole’. It involves mixing natural materials to enhance business and getting favours, it does not involve killing humans, it may involve using goats, pigeon etc. Those who are responsible for the act are mostly Muslim and Christian clerics. The records are always clear, most of those arrested by police and even paraded are either pastors of Church or Muslim clerics. “To stop the menace, parents must be responsible and train their children in the way of God. We must return to our values, placing integrity above materialism. Parents must be responsible for their children’s welfare and they should not be expecting their children to pay house rent and feed the family. Also, religious leaders must stop giving respect or title to those with questionable wealth. We must collectively eliminate the menace in our society. Killing humans does not guarantee being rich.
Recently, I posted on this site a large number of ritual murder cases in Nigeria. For this reason I wished to draw the readers’s attention to other African countries where similar crimes are being committed. However, these days Nigeria is making headlines which one cannot ignore. The number of ritual murders in Africa’s most populated country can no longer be counted – if that ever was the case. In my research and reporting on ‘money rituals’ in Nigeria – as ritualistic killings are commonly called in this West African country – I already experienced that I could hardly cope with the fast rising number of reported ritualistic murders committed by Yahoo boys, Yahoo Plus boys and whatever the names are that are given to these criminals who have no respect for a human life.
The below article by Hakim Jamiu is a cry to end these gruesome practices. She offers a grim insight in the recent spate in ritual murder cases in Nigeria, a devastating picture, and sketches a possible explanation for these practices which are based on superstition and fed by greed. I recognize a number of cases she mentions, some are notorious cases, whereas I am always unpleasantly surprised to learn about more ritual murder cases hitherto unknown. She does not have to dig deep to unveil ritual murder cases in nine states: Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Plateau, Rivers, Ogun, Ondo, Osun. I can without much effort add nine more states. Also see my previous posts on Nigeria (click on the category African countries in the top bar and select Nigeria in the drop down menu thus appearing).
I have repeatedly mentioned on this site that Nigeria ranks Number One in ritual murder cases in Africa. The following article confirms this sad conclusion. (FVDK)
Nigeria: a harvest of ritual deaths
Published: March 17, 2022 By: Hakim Jamiu – The Cable, Nigeria
Nigeria is fast gaining notoriety as a country of ritualists with stories of ritual killings daily reported in the traditional and social media. The latest of this cannibalistic atrocity is the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayankole who was abducted after boarding a Lagos state government-owned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) bus and was later murdered and had parts of her body removed which confirmed the suspicion that she may have been killed for ritual purposes. Bamise, who was on her way home from work, was thereafter tossed out of the BRT Bus at Ebute Ero. Bamise, according to eyewitnesses, was still alive after she was tossed out of the vehicle at the Ebute Ero bridge but she gave up the ghost because she did not get help on time. Social media was awash with her last chat and video expressing fears for her safety inside the desolate BRT bus in which she and another lady and three men were the only occupants. As if she knew, her instinct warned her of the danger ahead but she was helpless. Murder in a BRT bus which is expected to be one of the safest means of transportation owned by the government of Lagos state is a sacrilege.
Bamise’s gruesome murder is only an addition to the harvest of deaths by ritualists in the last few weeks across Nigeria. While many Nigerians are yet to grapple with the shock of the gruesome beheading of Sofiat Kehinde, a 17-year-old girl in Abeokuta by four ritualists between ages 18 and 20, the murder of Bamise sent shock waves to all as anybody’s child, relative or friend could be the next victim. Late last year in Ado Ekiti, a seven-year-old girl, Demilade was sent on an errand by her mother four houses away but the little girl disappeared immediately and all efforts to find her proved abortive until her corpse was found in a pastor’s house the following day! Timothy Adegoke checked into a hotel in Ile-Ife to write his postgraduate examinations but he never came out alive as he was murdered overnight and buried some metres away from the hotel. The proprietor of the hotel is currently standing trial!
In Ogun state, a woman connived with her husband to kill her visiting friend and dismembered her. The remains of the victim were later found in a bucket in the couple’s room. A ritual killer, Timothy Odeniyi who was arrested by Amotekun Corps in Ondo state confessed that he used to harvest human parts at burial grounds which he sells to his clients. In Jos, 20-year-old Moses Oko killed Jennifer, a student of the University of Jos and removed some of her body parts. In Ikorodu, Lagos state, a suspected internet fraudster (Yahoo+), 32-year-old Afeez Olalore killed his younger brother for ritual purposes. In Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Uduak Akpan, a serial ritual killer killed 20-year-old Iniobong Umoren, a job seeker and buried her in a shallow grave. In Ilorin, Kwara state, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes.
In 2019, Nigerians were alarmed about the arrest of one of Nigeria’s notorious ritual killers called Gracious David West in Port Harcourt who confessed to having killed at least 15 women for ritual purposes. In November 2019, one-year-old boy Eniola Kolawole was declared missing at Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Akure, Ondo state and has not been found till today. Irate youths set the church ablaze but the pastor who had been on trial has since been discharged and acquitted. One Shakirat was murdered in Iwo, Osun state and her body was dumped behind her mother’s shop with some of her parts missing!
It is an understatement to say that Satan has taken over our affairs completely as cases of ritual killings keep rising by the day! The question now is, are rituals for money-making real? Perhaps this is why the Nigerian-American media scholar, newspaper columnist and activist, Farooq Kperogi while bemoaning the unending spate of ritual murders in Nigeria argued, “the only solution lies in the liberation of Nigerians from stupid, backward, unproductive and murderous superstitions. The witch doctors who tell people to bring the body parts of murdered people to make them rich are often one of the most wretched people you can find on earth. If money rituals were real, they would be wealthy and won’t let anybody in on the secret”. Not many people agree with the view of Kperogi because if money-making rituals do not exist, why is ritual killing on the increase across the country? There have been many unverifiable variants and anecdotes concerning how money rituals work especially among yahoo boys which is called Yahoo plus. There is a type whereby ebora (a spirit) will bring the money to the yahoo boy after necessary sacrifices with human parts have been done. There is another type that will make the victim, usually, a foreigner obey whatever the yahoo boy says including sending millions of dollars on request. There is yet another type that involves using the pant of a woman. The pant, as they say, will fetch the ritualist a lot of money. It is not only yahoo boys that are into the ritual killing but they may have influenced others who are not into internet fraudsters to kill for rituals because of the belief that it is working for them. Some yahoo boys even go to the extent of eating human faeces, having spiritual baths in broad daylight at a public place, appearing only in pants in broad daylight to withdraw money from ATMs and so many bizarre and silly things!
The question remains, how much is ritual killing giving those involved in it that is worth the desperation of taking the life of a fellow human being? Definitely, it cannot give billions because many of the Yahoo plus boys even get broke after about three to six months while some go mad! So what’s the need for ritual killing? Apart from Yahoo boys, there are reports of a well-organised clientele of ritual killers which means that not all who are involved in ritual killing directly use the human parts but they are agents of some powerful personalities who buy the parts from them. There are reports that human parts markets exist in some areas of Lagos. It is also ridiculous that human life has been so reduced to nothingness that a human head is sold for as low as N20,000. Research also shows that many people who seek power and wealth like politicians and businessmen also use human parts for charms for good fortune and for fortification against real and perceived enemies! I wish to remind this group of politicians and businessmen that the greatest fortification and blessings come from God who is the custodian of power and fortune.
The underlying factor responsible for the present malaise is desperation on the part of our young ones who are eager to get rich quick. There is unprecedented moral bankruptcy and total collapse of family values of hard work, honesty and integrity. We should go beyond lamentations and take drastic actions. We must dig into the root cause of this barbaric act and approach it from there. What we are seeing are symptoms rather than cause. Our society has been sold to the dogs and many souls sold to the devil, the result is what is confronting us. A 17-year-old wanting to ride the latest automobile sold for millions of naira, not through any work but by any means. Society celebrating any rich person not minding the source of his or her wealth is responsible for the present madness. Images of boys displaying wealth on social media and messages that all that matter is money and the message is sinking fast and spreading like wildfire!
In one of the videos that circulated on the social media, a boy was asked if he could use her mother for rituals, he didn’t hesitate before saying yes as long as he will be rich! That’s what our society has turned to! We are breeding monsters and heartless beings who would not mind going to any length just to be rich! A child who would not blink an eyelid before killing his own mother for rituals would kill anybody without thinking about it! It is such a pity! It is common these days to find human head in a cellophane bag carried by a teenager sitting next to you in a bus! Human parts have become very common like animal parts ! It is such a shame that we have become a cannibalistic society! It is now normal to suspect the man or woman sitting next to you in a public place as a ritualist! It is that bad!
Beyond lamentations that have not helped, we must all resolve to end this monster that is threatening to consume all of us. Nobody is immune from ritual death. Bamise and other victims of ritual killings must not die in vain. Now that the driver of the BRT bus and his cohorts have been apprehended, their trial must be swift and transparent. Cameras must be installed in all BRT buses that would be monitored at a base station and on no account must this be switched off by any BRT driver.
The national and state houses of assembly should begin to work on laws to empower special courts to try ritual murder cases with stiffer penalties. Everybody must be vigilant and we must de-emphasise material wealth in our society while the source of wealth of emergency millionaires and new kids on the block must be questioned and such characters ostracized by the rest of the society as it was the practice on the days of yore when there was sanity.
We must say no to ritual killings! We are neither animals nor vampires! Even animals don’t kill themselves senselessly as we are witnessing presently!
Yesterday’s post included an article published in one of Liberia’s main newspapers, the Daily Observer, on the current wave of killings and disappearances in Liberia and the urgent need for the police te act. Today, I wish to draw your attention to an editorial in another, equally important newspaper, Front Page Africa, founded, owned and edited by the famous Rodney Sieh.
The title of the Op-Ed speaks for itself, ‘Enough enough’. The editorial starts with an impressive list of nearly 20 victims: murdered, disappeared, mutilated, the victims have in common a cruel and premature end of their life. The author, Milton Nathaniel Barnes, criticizes the inaction of the government, the absence of the rule of law, and the persistence of impunity.
Mr.Barnes’ cry is echoed by an article in the Daily Observer of today, November10: ‘Silence Is Not An Option, Mr. President!’
Already in mid-September, the Daily Observer had published an editorial entitled “The People of Liberia Are Under Siege – Break That Siege Now”, pointing out that rising insecurity had become an issue affecting all Liberians. The newspaper editor criticizes President George Weah and concludes with a pertinent statement: ‘(….) President Weah must break his silence, speak to the Liberian people and reassure them. For, anything short of this would suggest complicity. Silence is not an option Mr. President!‘
Will President Weah understand the message and act accordingly? We’ll see the coming days. I will report on subsequent developments (webmaster FVDK).
Liberia: Enough Is Enough – Too Many Murders Going With Impunity
Published: November 8, 2021 By: Milton Nathaniel Barnes – Front Page Africa, Liberia
Follows a list of recent victims:
Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert III (November 1, 2021)
Maude Elliot (October 31, 2021)
John H. Tubman (September 22, 2021)
Unidentified Woman on 17th Street Beach (September 14, 2021)
Matthew J. Innis (August 2019)
Mordecai Nyemah (May 2021)
Melvin Earley (February 19, 2021)
Florence Massaquoi (February 2021)
Robert M. Blamo, Jr. (2021)
Bobby S. Gbeanquoi (2021)
Siafa G. Boimah (2021)
Albert Peters (October 2020)
Gifty Lama (October 2020)
Elijah Polumah (2020)
Abraham Tumay (2020)
George B. Fanbutu (2020)
Possibly, others unknown
WHAT’S GOING ON, MY PEOPLE? In every instance above, innocent lives have been taken; and, we are not sure what is being done about it. Liberians are dying mysteriously or being brutally murdered. Murderers are getting away with impunity. The usual lip service is paid; the family greaves; and, we carry on our lives disillusioned and frightened.
WHAT IS EXASPERATING about this is that Liberians are fearing for their lives in the midst of dire poverty and economic straits. They barely eke out a living encountering the huge cost of feeding themselves, educating their children, paying their rent, transporting themselves, only to be faced with the threat of someone murdering them in cold blood.
WHY ARE LIBERIANS continuing to face these nearly insurmountable challenges? Simply stated, this is due to the absence of Law and Order, which should, at the very least, investigate and inform the public so as to reassure them that authorities are responding with urgency. In this particular environment, when criminals believe that they can get away with heinous acts including brutal murders, they take that as a “license to kill” in view of the fact that there appear to be no consequences.
IN MY OPINION, this comes down to the matter of leadership. For quite a while now, Liberia has been led by politicians as opposed to authentic leaders. Basically, what I’m saying is that there is a distinct difference between a leader and a politician. An authentic and effective leader will address numerous challenges, be they economic (fiscal-monetary management, unemployment, etc.) or social (justice, education, healthcare etc.), using a wide array of tools. A leader knows how to corral the appropriate experts who can provide effective solutions to whatever challenges may arise within his or her sphere of influence.
A POLITICIAN, on the other hand, possesses a singular tool that is used to address any and every issue: politics. From the politician’s perspective, every problem, regardless of its nature, requires the solution of political rhetoric. The politician says whatever he or she believes will assuage the people. The goal is to persuade the people that things will be fine. Saying so, as we all know, does not make things so. Yet, the only tool of the politician is politics (i.e. the power of persuasion).
IN THE FACE OF MURDERS with impunity, leaders, at all levels of society, cannot afford to sit aside with indifference. We must stand up against these outrageous acts. We know that God is the ultimate judge; yet, every true religion teaches us that there are laws by which we must govern ourselves. In Liberia, our entire social fabric is at risk of disintegrating. No society, without a modicum of justice in the face of serious crime, can continue to function. It will inevitably tumble into utter chaos.
IN VIEW OF WHAT IS UNFOLDING, I am poised to ask the following questions:
Can we, as a country and people, take decisive steps to address these concerns?
Can we source international support to investigate these deaths many of which seem mysterious; if, and only if, we lack the resources and technical ability to do so?
Can the public be kept abreast as to the progress Government is making in investigating these deaths?
CAN WE ALSO ENDEAVOR to investigate the drivers of these mysterious killings?
Lest we forget, regardless of the circumstances of these deaths, whether politically motivated and or based on hatred, they do have ripple effects that transcend the actual victims. We may have to deal with how family members are affected and what interpretation others connected to the victims may conceive.
REMEMBER, the fruit of peace and freedom is priceless; and living in the spirit of fear breeds distress.
THIS IS A CLARION call to all people of Liberia to stand up and put an end to brutal murders and other serious crimes. Our first step is to unilaterally and publicly condemn these atrocious acts; and, then, demand that our justice system fully and completely investigates each unexplained death. Culprits must be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.
IN TIMES OF TROUBLE, when good people sit aside supinely and do nothing, they are no better than the perpetrators of evil; for there is an adage that says, “we give acquiescence by our silence.”
Barely two months ago in its September 16, 2021 editorial headlined – “The People of Liberia Are Under Siege – Break That Siege Now”, the Daily Observer pointed out that rising insecurity had become an issue of grave concern to Liberians across the board. Note of the webmaster: This article by the Daily Observer’s Editorial Board has been included below – italics are mine, FVDK).
There have been persistent media reports of unexplained disappearances as in the case of the Blamo brothers who were reportedly hired by the proprietor of the St. Moses Funeral Parlors and extrajudicial killings including ritualistic killings carried out by individuals with alleged links to this government.
We recall the deaths last year of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) government auditors under mysterious circumstances. President Weah’s comments, suggesting that Gifty Lama and her colleague who were found dead in a vehicle on Broad Street were both lovers making out in their car, sent a wave of shock through the public.
Another LRA official, while driving along the SKD Boulevard, was attacked by machete wielding motorcyclists, causing him to run off the road and crash into a nearby house.
In yet another instance, the head of the Internal Audit Agency was killed after allegedly falling from the balcony of his house on SKD Boulevard.
President Weah’s response to that development was to urge citizens to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras around their homes. That was well before the spike in reports of ritualistic killings around the country, which has served to create a climate of fear and uncertainty amongst the citizenry.
It is safe to say that Police response to such reports of extrajudicial killings have been at best ineffectual. Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, responding to expressed public concerns about the rise in ritualistic killings, dismissed such reports, adding that Liberians are freely disposing of their dead in the streets because of their inability to give their relatives a decent burial.
He further declared that it was against such a backdrop that reports of bodies being discovered with parts missing were all fake news, intended to discredit the Weah administration.
But as events have shown, the fears of the people appear justified, given the spate of recent brutal murders of John Hilary Tubman, son of the late President William V.S. Tubman; William Richard Tolbert III, son of the late President William Richard Tolbert, Jr; and former immigration officer, Maude Elliot, in their respective homes.
Those tragic events, all unfolding within a very short period, have again raised public concerns about what they see as no end to the growing wave of insecurity under this government.
Not a single perpetrator has been apprehended in all of the cases cited earlier. This is giving rise to a heightened sense of insecurity. After dark, the streets of Monrovia become virtually deserted.
By 10pm latest, all stores, shops and supermarkets are shut and business comes to a grinding halt, except for a few night clubs which remain open until midnight.
Only recently, in broad daylight, a group of armed thugs invaded a restaurant and bar located on 19th Street near the beach, shaking down bartenders and customers alike, taking away their valuables and money.
To the best of public knowledge, no suspects have, as yet, been apprehended by the Police. The Police, as is well known, is hamstrung in the effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities by the critical lack of logistics including communications.
However, concerns about corruption remain an abiding concern. Salaries are low, discipline poor, and effective leadership is lacking. Under the leadership of current Police Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, public confidence in the Police has waned significantly to the point where the Police is now being seen as partisan.
This negative public impression of the Police persists despite pronouncements by a local civil society group, National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) declaring that public confidence in the Police is increasing.
Given the current outlook, it appears that the restoration of public confidence in the Police is still a long way off. The disconnect between the Police and the public appears to be widening instead.
Official government support to the Police rather than being directed at countering public dissent and clamping down on freedom of speech and assembly should instead be increased to aid its effectiveness and ability to provide protection to the people of Liberia.
This newspaper once again reminds President Weah that there is a climate of fear being created by such gruesome and mysterious killings as well as unexplained disappearances. The Daily Observer has consistently reminded this government that the creation of a climate of fear is in no one’s interest.
This is because of the recognized fact that a climate of fear also induces feelings of hate and ill-will towards the government. Such feelings can be suppressed but only for a time. They simmer and without warning can explode like a volcano with dastardly implications for social cohesion, national stability and security.
Accordingly, it behooves all — the public and government alike — to work in tandem to curb the rise in violent crime and politically motivated murders such as ritualistic killings.
Above all, it bespeaks the urgent need to end the culture of impunity. And lest we forget, the TRC report provides a proper starting point — that is implementation of its recommendations, especially those recommendations on criminal accountability.
Quite clearly, the rule of law can never thrive in a situation where mass murders and war criminals parade the corridors of power lording over the victims of their crimes.
Equally so, can it be said that unscrupulous individuals, driven by greed and feeling emboldened by the fact that warlords have since enjoyed impunity, could also attempt to follow their example.
As leader, President Weah should ensure that matters concerning the safety, security and wellbeing of the Liberian people be treated with foremost and not benign concern.
This means President Weah must break his silence, speak to the Liberian people and reassure them. For, anything short of this would suggest complicity. Silence is not an option Mr. President!
Rising insecurity is/has become an issue of grave concern to Liberians across the board. Report of a rise in ritual killings, unexplained disappearances, extrajudicial killings carried out by individuals with alleged links to this government have all been major topics of concern on virtually all local radio talk-shows recently.
Barely a week ago, a driver of the National Transit Authority (NTA) assigned to ferry to and from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who turned out to welcome returning CDC chairman Mulbah Morlu was seriously wounded under unexplained circumstances.
The incident, according to eyewitness accounts, occurred in the environs of the CDC Congo Town headquarters. According to a family spokesman, they believe their relative was shot and seriously wounded. Further, according to the spokesman, they have appealed to authorities of the MTA to fly their relative out of the country for advanced treatment in view of his critical condition resulting from the alleged shooting by an unidentified individual.
But the Police see things differently. According to Police spokesperson Moses Carter, the NTA driver’s injury was caused by a stone thrown by an unidentified individual. Some eyewitness accounts, however, say the driver was shot. As to whether it was an accidental discharge or not remains unclear. But family members maintain that a stone would not cause extreme injury to their relative that would place his life in such grave danger.
Just who is telling the truth remains unclear in the absence of a medical report stating the kind of injury sustained and its causal agent. The Police are urged to go further in the provision of adequate and accurate information to the public.
Another recent development is the unexplained killing of a female whose lifeless body was discovered on 17 Street near the beach. According to the Police, she was sexually assaulted. Further, the Police maintain that she was mentally challenged and was reported to have often left home for unknown destinations.
But according to eyewitness accounts, the crime scene appeared as though there had been a tussle between the lady and her assailants. Further, according to them, her head appeared to have been bashed by a blunt object, and that parts of her body were extracted. However, these accounts have not been confirmed by the Police. It would however do the Police well to conduct an autopsy and make public the findings.
This is necessary because of the general negative public perception of the Liberia National Police (LNP). Several unexplained deaths/killings have occurred recently that have left the public with rising feelings of insecurity and a growing lack of trust in the ability of this government to protect them.
Recalling from history, rising insecurity and general perceptions of government’s inability to protect the people always serve to undermine the legitimacy of that government. Such was the case with the Doe administration, in which the abuse of human rights was commonplace. Eventually, it led to violent resistance that took away his life.
Similarly placed was the government of President Charles Taylor, who came to power on the heels of a prolonged civil war. At a sovereign national conference convened during his administration, the greatest and unanimous concern of delegates at that conference was insecurity.
But President Charles Taylor, it appeared, remained impervious to those expressed concerns as he did virtually nothing to curtail the excesses of his security forces. The rest is history. According to a retired diplomat, Liberians have had enough, more than their fair share of disruptions to their lives caused by the insane greed of their leaders. Some according to him were known to have indulged in ritual murder and practices.
A former National Patriotic Front (NPFL) rebel, Joseph Zigzag Marzah testified before the Sierra Leone Special Court sitting in The Hague that he and others, along with former Liberian President Charles Taylor, partook in ritual feasts that involved human body parts. Ritualistic killing has been practiced in Liberia for a long time. Those who indulge in it believe that drinking human blood and consuming potions containing human body parts impart them with magical prowess to overcome their enemies politically or otherwise.
In 1977, during the reign of President Tolbert, several prominent individuals and commoners were tried in Maryland County on charges of ritual murder. They were found guilty and sentenced to death and were publicly hanged. For a prolonged period thereafter, ritualistic killing subsided. It has since however reared its head. During the Doe and Taylor administrations, ritualistic killing was a known fact. Cannibalism, especially the eating of human hearts, was practiced by all the warring factions during the civil war
But of late, ritualistic killing and extrajudicial killings have become matters of rising public concern. Indications so far suggest that this government is doing virtually little or nothing to stop it. Additionally, crime, especially violent crime is on the increase. Abductions, handbag and phone snatching by individuals mounted on motorcycles have also increased. Although the public is raising concern, the LNP response appears ineffectual.
This may more likely than not lead to situations where people generally begin to take matters into their hands. Such would not augur well for general public safety, security, and national stability. This is why the public expects that President Weah should become seized of the matter and do something concrete to address concerns about the alleged involvement of his officials in a ritualistic murder.
He is currently on a mission to Accra, Ghana, intended to resolve the situation in neighboring Guinea arising from the overthrow of President Alpha Conde. ECOWAS and the AU have since imposed sanctions. As a leader, President Weah should remember that cardinal among his duties is the duty to defend the people against threats to their safety and security and ensure the protection of their rights. For your information, the people of Liberia are under siege Mr. President. You have to break that siege now!
Ritualistic activities and ritual murders seem to be on the rise in Ghana. Yesterday I referred to some recent cases. However, ritual killings are nothing new in this West African country, as the Ghana Web article of August 29 (presented below) illustrates.
Regrettably, most links to the articles on ritual murders of the 2006-2012 period (referred to above) have disappeared. It is for this reason that I’ve changed methods on the present site where I am including an exact copy of the articles mentioned reporting ritual murder cases (‘copy-paste’). In respect of the source used I am always including a reference to the source and the author of the article(s).
Soon more developments in the ongoing trial of the accused ritual murderers in the Kasoa ritual murder case, two teenagers (webmaster FVDK).
Ritual killings for human parts: these cases have shaken Ghana since the 1980s
Published: August 29, 2021 By: Ghana Web
The 1980s killings:
Charles Ebo Quansah, The Strangler The following two sections report on a notorious serial killer and not on ritual murders and have for this reason been deleted by the webmaster (FVDK).
More on these ritual killings in tomorrow’s posting (FVDK).