Uganda: human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

The death penalty as a deterrent – or as a revenge. Will this legal sanction provide a solution to the curse of ritual murders and the end of superstition in Uganda? 

Whereas all actions of the government to end ritual killing in the country must be applauded, I personally believe more in education as a tool to end these heinous crimes than in the capital punishment – which is considered a violation of the basic, human rights of the perpetrator(s) and for this reason rejected by the international community

Having said this, the following article contains a chilling mention of the state of affairs in Uganda with respect to the occurrence of ritual murders (‘human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon‘). 
(webmaster FVDK)

Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi (right) appears at the Supreme Court early last year during hearing of his appeal against his conviction for murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye in 2012. Persons found guilty of committing acts of mutilating and or causing death of another person for purposes of performing a ritual, and those found in possession of human body parts, will suffer death upon conviction. PHOTO /JULIET KIGONGO.

Published: May 6, 2021
By: Daily Monitor, Uganda – Esther Oluka, Arthur Arnold Wadero 

Whoever will be found guilty of sacrificing a person for ritual purposes faces a maximum punishment of death following the passing of a law on human sacrifice.

The Human Sacrifice Bill (2020), once assented to by the President, will also see those who finance acts of human sacrifice facing death.
Clause 1 of the Bill defines human sacrifice as killing, mutilation, removal of organs or body parts of a person for sale or for purpose of witchcraft, rituals or any harmful human practices. 

While presenting the Private Member’s Bill yesterday, which was overwhelmingly supported, Ayivu MP Benard Atiku argued that the current law does not provide for the offence of human sacrifice and that the human sacrifice related cases are prosecuted as murder or related offences under the Penal Code Act.

Human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon involving people who seek quick means of amassing wealth or power. 
A renowned case is that of 2008 involving Joseph Kasirye, a boy (then aged 12 years) whose torso was found in a swamp, headless and with no genitals.

Businessman Kato Kajubi was found guilty of murder and was handed life imprisonment on conviction.
A section of MPs welcomed the passing of the Bill. 

“In fact, it is long overdue. Human sacrifice is not only inhumane but it is evil,” Mbale Woman MP Connie Galiwango said. 
Ms Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LoP) and Gulu Woman MP, said she did not understand why people were sacrificing children. 

“You go to a witchdoctor expecting to give you riches, yet that witchdoctor stays in a grass-thatched hut?” Ms Ocan wondered.
Kasese Municipality MP Robert Centenary commended the passing of the Bill after reasoning that adults are victims too. 

Previously, the perpetrators of human sacrifice have targeted people with specific features, including albinos, those without body piercings, big umbilical cords, a gap in their front teeth, among other features. 

Authorities, including police and religious leaders, have repeatedly highlighted that there is no connection between human sacrifice and riches. 
Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Jor Ongiertho, the Jonam County MP, had earlier recommended a harsher punishment for human sacrifice culprits. 

“I suggest that the people involved in the practice should be tried by the military and if found guilty, be put on firing squad because we really want to deter people from this practice.” 

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga stated that Parliament had now provided an opportunity for justice to all the victims of human sacrifice. 

“On a number of occasions, when children delegations come to visit me at Parliament, they ask me: ‘where is justice for Kasirye’. I think today (yesterday), we can answer that question and say that Parliament has now provided an avenue for justice for Kasirye and other victims like him,” Ms Kadaga said. 
Children often the most victims of human sacrifice.  

More on the Bill
●  Clause 5 says whoever encourages or advises any person to use human body parts in any ritual or their use in any treatment or other forms of healing would be liable to life imprisonment.
●  Under Clause 6, whoever is found in possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice is liable to life imprisonment.
●  Clause 9 provides for psychosocial support to survivors of human sacrifice. 
●  Clause 10 provides for compensation, rehabilitation or restitution to be made by court in certain cases.

Source: Human sacrifice culprits face death penalty

Zimbabwe Senator Nyambuya: ‘Ritual murder instigators should face stiff sanctions’

Last week, Senator Mike Nyambuya spoke at the sad occasion of the burial of the two children, cousins Dilan and Melissa Benza (both seven years old), who were murdered for ritualistic purposes on April 13. Among the suspects arrested is Dilan’s maternal uncle.

Their fate cause much unrest in the country where emotions were already high after the ritual killing of a boy, Tapiwa Makore, seven years old, who was brutally murdered, also by his uncle, in September 2020. I reported extensively on his tragic death. Due to certain circumstances I haven’t yet reported on the ritual murder of the Benza cousins. Hopefully I will in the near future.

Senator Nyambuya’s remarks struck me, not only because of the contents of his message but also because his name reminded me of my very close friend Muchaneta Nyambuya. May his soul rest in peace. Muchaneta and I were colleagues at the University of Liberia where we were both teaching at the College of Business and Public Administration and we became close friends. In the late 1970s, a surge in ritualistic murders caused much upheaval in Liberia and I asked Muchaneta whether this phenomenon was unique for Liberia. Read here what he had to say to my question.

I have learned a lot after these years in Liberia. More than 40 years have passed since then. Mucha, as we affectionally called him, left for Zimbabwe on the eve of the official independence of his country. Following the Lancaster House Agreement, Zimbabwe became an independent republic in April 1980. The days of Ian Smith, who in 1965 had made history with his Unilateral Declaration of Independence, were definitely over. The new strongman was Robert Mugabe. Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. I will not dwell on his fate, Mucha’s. He died suddenly and unexpectedly, after what people call ‘a 24-hour treatment’ in the interrogation rooms of Zimbabwe’s secret police. But that’s another story.

Back to 2021 in Zimbabwe and the recent surge in ritual murders. 
(webmaster FVDK).

‘Ritual Murder Instigators Should Face Stiff Sanctions’

Published: May 1, 2021
By: Pindula, Zimbabwe

Senate deputy president Senator Mike Nyambuya has called for the enactment of legislation to punish people who incite others to perform ritual murders.

Nyambuya was speaking on Friday last week at the burial of the slain Benza cousins at the Benza homestead in Kanganya Village in Mutasa, Manicaland Province.

Dilan and Melissa Benza (both seven years old), who were cousins and pupils at St Robert’s Mbaza Primary School in Mutasa, were brutally murdered on their way home from school on 13 April.

The prime suspect is Solomon Manyama, Dilan’s maternal uncle, while Passmore Sambaza is another suspect.

They were both remanded in custody to 6 May when they appeared at Nyanga magistrate’s court last week on Tuesday facing murder charges.

The Benza family spokesperson, Johannes Benza, revealed that the two were not killed at the same spot as was initially thought.

Benza said Melissa was the first to be killed on the grass near the Blair toilet where their bodies were dumped, while Delane was slain in a maize field near the Sambaza homestead.

Speaking at the burial which was attended by over 500 people, Nyambuya said the two cousins’ deaths had touched the whole nation. He said:

It could have been one of your children or grandchildren dying in such a cruel manner. It could have been any one of us here being murdered in cold blood because these ritual killers know no age. We are still in shock.

Where have our norms and values gone to? We should respect the sanctity of human life. Laws should be enacted to punish the perpetrators and those who incite people to conduct ritual killings.

The nation is still mourning the death of Tapiwa Makore from Murehwa and now we are burying the two Benza children who were ruthlessly murdered.

We don’t know who will be the next victim. Communities should be on the lookout for ritual killers. All those convicted should face the full wrath of the law.

Tapiwa Makore was also 7-years-old when he was brutally murdered by his uncle Tapiwa Makore Sr and his herdsman Tafadzwa Shamba in September last year.

He was buried several months after his murder without his head and other body parts which were allegedly harvested for ritual purposes.

Source: ‘Ritual Murder Instigators Should Face Stiff Sanctions

Related:

Article with the same contents:
Enact Legislation To Punish Those Who Incite Others To Perform Ritual Murders
Publishedby : ZimEye / Manica Post – May 1, 2021

Legal expert, Zimbabwe: ‘Time to look beyond ritual murderers’

The following reflection is important. It shows that there are good-hearted and highly educated Zimbabweans who convincingly argue that the recent ritual murders necessitate an adjustment of the country’s laws. This reaction is partly motivated by the ritualistic killing of Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa (see my previous postings).

The author of the article presented below also focuses on a person who is often behind these ritual killings: the songoma or faith healer. Too often, the songoma is left out of the investigations following the ritual murder and not implicated in the trial of the actual killer(s) whereas in fact the songoma can be considered an important driving force behind the heinous crime which is committed during the murderous traditional ritual.

Let’s monitor how swiftly Zimbabwe’s rulers including lawmakers and the judiciary act!
I will keep you informed (webmaster FVDK).

Time to look beyond ritual murderers

Published: April 30, 2021
By: Zimbabwe Independent –  Sharon Hofisi  

I ONCE represented people charged with murder in court. That was where I had my first real encounter with the subject of intentional or negligent killing. It was not a positive experience. Nevertheless, I got some acquittals. I remember the cases well. They took my inexperienced product of law school and taught me to understand the criminal laws and procedures of this country with deep preparation. So I took the cases on a pro deo basis. Put simply, this means acting for God. But with the increasing ritual killings, a lack of deliberate offences on ritual killings and honour crimes is a serious lacuna in our criminal justice system.

The purpose of criminal laws should mirror the nature of the society itself. Societies that are governed through laws are called to heal the divisions caused by violators of the law. When a society seems to be in danger of endless commissions of heinous crimes, focusing too much on investigation machinery and work and neglecting criminal law reform may pose further deep seated challenges. What often happens, however, is that even if the laws are reformed, we need to guard against reactionary responses to endemic problems. If the purpose of criminal law reform is to curb impunity in all forms of killings and deal decisively with utter disregard of the sanctity of human life, then a law can be a healthy first step in protecting the rights of vulnerable sections of society such as women, children, persons with albinism and other disabilities.

Even a criminal law reform committee will be horrified to learn that ritual motivators are not part of the suspects to be arrested. We are encouraged by the fact that our criminal laws allow for the arrest and prosecution of accomplices. But psyched people are usually afraid of the unknown. The psyched ritual killers strike fast, simultaneously attacking unsuspecting children or persons with disabilities.

The details that usually emerge after the gruesome killings are too numerous and disturbing. We definitely cannot bring our conscience to understand the difference between the actual killer and the one who motivates the killer to do so. The killer believes it is going to be an “all-for-purple-life” killing. Later, he is taught that the act was natural after all when he gets caught. It was his darkest ritual psyched moments that brought the longest, bloodiest, most heinous crimes to carry out. It costs innocent lives and no financial rewards as promised. And most families of the killers are left destitute. The breadwinner is locked up and the family is drawn into incessant wars of appeasing vengeful spirits as contemplated in our traditional faiths.

The hideous scars born by the families of the victims will last a very long time. But these ritual killing motivators are cunning and they will continue to hoodwink many people into psyched killings. They may never get their comeuppance. Certainly the time has come to act decisively on criminal law reform on ritual murder and honour crimes in Zimbabwe. Legislation, the passing of Acts in Parliament, is the most important of Parliament’s many tasks. I believe many stakeholders can agree on the explanatory memorandum for a Ritual Murders and Honour Crimes Bill. The long title of that Bill can deal with issues relating to the ritual murders and honour crimes and other purposes connected with these issues. The enacting formula can be decided by the nature of offences being committed usually against vulnerable sections of societies such as children, elderly women, persons with disabilities and so forth.

Perhaps the major point to grasp about ritual killings is that a psychic person, or even a bogus part of a psychic person, promises someone a lavish lifestyle once a heinous crime is committed. It could be the killing of a sibling, distant relative or some stranger. Exactly what is meant by “ritual” is not necessarily obvious since the killing of the person is controlled by the killer who uses the elaborate descriptions from the psychic leader. A small change in the psychic instructions can make a huge difference – so we hear from failed ritual killing missions. Each small step is catalysed and crystallised by the need for hot porridge riches. Many of these random killings may do the killer no harm if he observes the instructions (muko). Sometimes the killer will destroy the fighting powers of the deceased through some further rituals, kutsipika ngozi. This means that in any event, the killer is fully aware that they intentionally committed murder.

Reading stories about gruesome murders of young children by people who were promised material or financial gains tests our resolve as a polity of relationships between crime and fighting crime. We are given a set of criminal instances and must choose another set of responses that is related in the same way.

Many reforms of criminal laws are possible. Reading the modus operandi of criminals test our ability to understand and interpret the criminal laws we can promulgate in response. This is probably the most important ability we need as a society at the moment.

In analysis of the killings of children in our media reportages, we are presented with situations detailing criminal events and then a result of something that is steered by someone who is believed to possess some supernatural or magical powers to make people rich, overnight.

Our task is to decide in the legal and non-legal fraternity whether certain statements or motivations to commit crimes provide adequate explanations of how we can curb violent crimes. Each new crime provides us with a new format for criminal law reform.

For Zimbabwe and the disturbing killings, it’s now much more than just a usual ritual murder, headlines and efficient state response. We need to move beyond crime scene visits and the arrest of suspects. Ritual murders are now shaping an entire generation of criminal inquiry. It’s now the time to transform the changing and disturbing criminal scenes of the last ten or so years into a clear and widely-reformed criminal justice system in Zimbabwe. The motivating variable in this urgent need for criminal justice reform is steeped in legal realism. Law may be stable, but it cannot stand still if I may employ Roscoe Pound’s philosophy.

Are these ritual crimes something reflective of honour crimes, where relatives and close acquaintances are the pawns in the much bigger chess game? Barely when the Makore killing had left our minds we hear of the gruesome murder of two children. Zimbabwe has witnessed the targeted ritual killings which encourage criminal responsibility to be broadened in scope. Each killing achieves a disturbing measure of brutality and mental intention to kill. The recurring pattern of failed rituals that are broken by arrest of the suspects and eventual incarceration of such suspects all have at most one thing in common: each killing in its own way forces the killer and the ritual motivator to forge an unholy alliance; share the same mental and actual intention to kill, only from the opposite perspective.

The actual killer is psyched to kill. The ritual motivator psyches the ultimate killer. Each fails to see that confronted with effective investigation machinery the prospective ritual will inevitably not succeed. Equally gruesomely, each fails to see that the criminal path between hatching a heinous act of killing and frenzied killing act is not only false but leads towards a catastrophic breakdown of the family fabric.

The falsity of the ritual shows that one or two or more or many suspects are arrested. The ritual motivator, the instigator of the death of the innocent young souls remains. He or she continues hoodwinking many people into killing many young children.

All in the name of enhancing business or getting filthy money! Here too, there is more criminality in the sangoma or faith healer than criminal intention in the actual killer. The sangoma or ritual motivator does not simply aim to alleviate poverty through the loss of innocent blood of a family member, gruesome murder, psyched actions, and so forth. Efforts to control and encourage killing, no matter how important or necessary, are only one aspect of “intentional killing”. The sanctity of human life, and human life itself, as we know from our Constitution and even various types of our faiths, depend on more than the alleviation of poverty and the satisfaction of material needs. The reason for which we were created is to enjoy life and the maker of it forever.

Hofisi is a transformative transitional justice practitioner, normative influencer and disruptive thinker.

Source: Time to look beyond ritual murderers

Cry from Zimbabwe: Let us stop child sacrifice

The following plea and and cry from Zimbabwe, following the ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore (7), and the two cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7), is long overdue but 100% warranted. Child sacrifice and more general human sacrifice is not a rare phenomenon in Zimbabwe, neither is it in a number of other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. The gruesome murders have recently led to a general campaign to stop child sacrifice, the 777 Campaign. It goes without saying that I join this initiative.

Warning: the following article contains graphic details of ritual killing of children (FVDK).

Let us stop child sacrifice

Published: April 27, 2021
By: Bulawayo 24, Heaven Munyuki   

The death of a child of any age is devastating. The pain and anguish can be compounded when the death comes at the hands of another human being. Parents and family members can face many complicated issues, even as they try to make sense of the incomprehensible – that someone knowingly, willingly or intentionally killed their child.

Children are gifts from God,  they are precious and bundles of joy. Birth of children represent generational continuity and procreation is devine as God commanded: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Mwanachipo Africa Trust is a local NGO that works with people who are infertile and childless. As people who are infertile and childless, we are pained most when these gifts we are failing to get are hurt or ill treated and when they are murdered, our hearts are pierced. We are hurt most because, some of us have undergone unimaginable ordeals and forked huge sums of money in trying to bear children whilst heartless people and cowards, who prey on vulnerable children, are busy chopping off their heads and mutilating their bodies. To us, killing of children for whatever reason is termination of generational continuity and destruction of families instead of growing and expanding them.

The recent surge in ritual killings and murder cases  of children in Zimbabwe is not only worrisome but also inhumane and horrifying.The gruesome murder of Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa who was buried without a head and the recent heinous killings of two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa  by uncles should not go unchallenged. These brutal killings have prompted Mwanachipo to initiate the Stop Child Sacrifice:The 777 Campaign.

The 777 Campaign is in honour of the 3 slain innocent children (Tapiwa, Delan and Mellisa) who were all murdered aged 7 and the suspected ritual killers being uncles. Tapiwa was fed with food and later drugged with Kachasu( traditional illicit beer) before being brutally killed in a mountain. His torso was found the following morning being dragged by dogs and his head is nowhere to be found up to this day. Mellisa and Delan’s remains were found stashed in a toilet pit.

These gruesome murders are targeted mainly at children for ritual purposes. Vulnerable, innocent children are mutilated and murdered by ruthless and criminal people who want to increase their wealth, health, power or reputation – by all means. Like Tapiwa, Delan and Mellisa, a lot of children have fallen victim to murderers and ritual killers. Due to their vulnerability, they are easily abducted on their way to or from school or when conducting their daily home activities such as fetching water and collecting firewood. Children are the main victims because they are considered pure or unblemished ,easy to lure and their blood sacrifice is considered more powerful than that of adults as children represent new life, prosperity and growth to the one procuring the sacrifice. They are sacrificed by witch doctors to appease ‘the gods’ and bring a myriad of solutions which include wealth, good health and political power  among others.Adults drawn to the practice are tricked into believing that the purity of child makes the ritual more powerful.
Hearts, ears, livers and genitals are considered as key ingredients of the rituals.These body parts are said to be removed when children are still alive and they die as a result of bleeding or are killed by the murderers to conceal evidence.

The repeated occurrences of these ritual killings is a blatant violation of UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and Convention on
the Rights of the Child (CRC) of 1989. The CRC applies to
all children below the age of 18, and contains 54
articles covering almost all aspects of the life of a child.More so, this child sacrifice violates the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. According to this charter, an individual is entitled to respect for his life and integrity of his person.

Biblically, God sanctified life.This  means that human life is sacred ( made in the very image of the Creator himself according to Genesis 1:26-27), holy and precious. The sanctity of life is inherent as man cannot create life. Therefore, man has no authority to destroy life including the life of children. God chooses when life begins and ends and murder in all its forms is forbidden. It is the only way for humankind to exist.

Through the Stop Child Sacrifice: 777 Campaign , Mwanachipo Africa Trust is mobilising resources to be used to prevent  sacrifice of children.
 Our children are not safe until every child is safe.
Let us join hands to end child sacrifice. Everyone is duty bound to protect every child.Be part of the change which starts with all of us.Together we can make Zimbabwe a safer country for our children.

Pasi nekuchekeresa vana!
Stop child sacrifice!
Yekelani ukunikela ngabantwana libabulala!
#ChildrenAreNotSafeUntilEveryChildIsSafe

(Other organisations and individuals who wish to join us in this campaign can contact us on +263718745374 mwanachipoafricatrust@gmail.com)

Source: Let us stop child sacrifice


Zimbabwe – Editorial comment: combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

A recent surge in ritual murders of children has shocked Zimbabwe. Within a short period, three children were murdered for ritualistic purposes: Tapiwa Makore (7) of Murehwa and the two Benza cousins Delan (7) and Melissa (7) of central Mutasa. I have extensively covered the murder of Tapiwa. The following days I will provide more details about the murder of Delan and Melissa.

The child sacrifices have led to many reactions. One of these comments follows here. It contains a plea for tougher measures for the culprits, even the capital punishment. There is much to say about (and against) the death penalty but let us know focus here on the editorial comments. 
To be cont’d.
(webmaster FVDK)

EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Published: April 27, 2021
By: The Herald, Zimbabwe

The murder of three children for what appears to be ritual purposes in just seven months is a worrying dark cloud over Zimbabwe and requires action at both community level and among a number of sections of society.

These are not the first such killings, perhaps just the best publicised for some time since the victims were all seven-years-old and the police moved swiftly and effectively to track down the suspects, with other family members among those arrested and remanded.

There is a superstitious belief among a minority that killing a child or another young person in a particular way, which can be equated to torture before the murder, and then processing certain body parts in a set-down manner will create, increase and maintain wealth.

This is nonsense, and with the competent homicide investigations now in progress it must be becoming obvious that initiating such a killing is totally unlikely to bring anything, but a very long jail sentence for the killers.

Although the death penalty is still on the books for aggravated murder by an adult man, and aggravating circumstances do not come more aggravating than pre-meditated murder of a child for financial gain, the fact remains that Zimbabwe does not implement death penalties any more, and instead life imprisonment is substituted.

There are already many positive developments that can help to end this practice of ritual killings. It is now clear that communities are willing to take action, rather than quiver in fear and keep quiet. 

People are not afraid to stand up and be counted and are willing to pass on whatever information they have to the police. 

In fact one of the major problems now in such investigations is that some are passing on confusing fifth-hand hearsay, which still needs to be properly investigated, rather than hard fact of what they saw. But homicide detectives are trained to separate the chaff from the hard fact, and better that too many try and help than too few.

A second problem is more serious, and has already been mentioned by legislators, including recently Senator Michael Nyambuwa who visited the Mutasa families. 

We need investigations to be pursued to bring the person who gave the ritual advice and who might well have promised to process any body parts.

Even if they did not initiate the killings, and accept some sort of lie when organs are presented, they are still involved in a murder and can be tried as an accomplice. 

N’angas still have a lot of respect and are feared by some, so it can be difficult to get a name, let alone evidence. 

Obviously the actual killers believe in the powers of the n’anga they are using; even in the days when the killers were hanged they refused to give the name and walked silently to the gallows.

Here communities need to encourage people to come forward. There will be a lot of vague and wrong information, but police can then run down the leads. The point is that a person ready to apply their traditional learning to criminal purposes cannot be totally unknown in an area.

The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association can also become more involved, first by teaching very clearly that such killings do not create wealth, only misery, and then encouraging people to come forward. 

In fact traditional healers in a particular area might well have a better idea of which one of their number has turned to the dark side than the average lay person, and should be encouraged to pass on this information.

Traditional leaders, who have already made their abhorrence of such crimes very clear, can also go further in prevention, as well as doing what they do now by calling on their communities to assist after a crime. 

The ideal is to have a murder trial with both the killers and the n’anga who offered advice all in the dock, with sufficiently good evidence that all can be convicted and then go to jail together. 

Detectives chosen for such investigations might need to be carefully selected; there is still a significant number of superstitious people, and even some Christian churches who worry about the creativity of evil, although this is a heretical belief in mainstream Christianity.

Such severely aggravating murders also stress the need for Zimbabwe to upgrade its sentencing laws for murder, now that we have effectively abandoned the death penalty as an active punishment. 

The reforms need to give judges setting sentences more discretion, and as we have argued before we need a system of parole.

In his latest clemency order, the President, with Cabinet consent and what must have been detailed advice, in effect set 15 years behind bars as the absolute minimum for a life sentence. This is not unreasonable and is the effective minimum period of incarceration in many jurisdictions for an “ordinary” murder.

However, countries that have formally abolished the death penalty and substituted life imprisonment usually allow the sentencing judge to make a recommendation over the minimum term in each case. 

In most cases this is whatever the standard is in that country before parole can be considered, frequently 15 years. 

But where there are aggravating circumstances the judge can set a longer minimum term before release can even be considered and, in exceptionally aggravating circumstances, can even call for a “whole life” sentence, or “life imprisonment without any possibility of parole”, as some American states word it. 

Because the killer is not executed this can always be adjusted later if perceptions change or new evidence emerges, but meanwhile the deterrent is in place.

A parole system also means that a released lifer is monitored for the rest of their lives, forbidden to do certain jobs, enter certain businesses and possess anything on a list of prohibited items, such as anything that could be used as a weapon.

And parents clearly need to be protective. This is always difficult, of deciding where do you draw the lines. But one general rule is safety in numbers and having older children helping to shepherd younger children.

We have all seen gaggles of schoolchildren who live near each other moving as a group and automatically having some older teenagers in that group.

Admittedly a lot of this breaks down, as in the latest two cases, when relatives are suspected to be involved, people who are normally trusted. 

But every bit helps and at least there are witnesses if a child is whisked away by an uncle or aunt. 

That is precisely how the police made their initial arrests in the latest two child killings, by following up reports from people who saw something that in retrospect needed to be told.

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT : Combined effort needed to thwart ritual murders

Zimbabwe: ritual killings of kids on the rise following Tapiwa Makore murder

The Makore murder case has become one of Zimbabwe’s most notorious ritual killing cases in the country’s recent history. I reported extensively on this revolting crime in September and October last year. See e.g. my postings dated September 24, ‘Zimbabwe: Murewa boy murdered in ritual killing, body parts missing’; October 1, ‘Full details of Murewa ritual killing revealed‘; October 2, ‘Murewa ritual killing: President Mnangagwa decries evil act‘; October 3, ‘Murehwa ritual killer speaks about the Tapiwa Makore murder in his own words‘; October 4, ‘One week after the ritual murder of 7-year old Tapiwa Makore‘; October 12, ‘Rtual murder unites nation‘ and ‘Murehwa ritual killing: N’anga speaks on Murehwa boy’s murder‘; October 18, ‘Murehwa ritual murder: Police quiz n’anga‘. 
My last posting on this murder case dates from October 26, 2020, ‘Latest news on the ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore‘. After that date more has been published on the murder of the 7-year old boy. However, I ceased temporarily covering this case. I will post an update in the coming days.

More ritual murder cases have been reported recently whereas – as I have said repeatedly – discovered or reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg. I fear that most cases remain unknown to the outside world, even within the country.

The following report is worrisome. It confirms a disturbing trend which, unfortunately, I already signaled in February: Zimbabwe: a surge in ritual murders?

According to the report presented below, ritual killings of kids are on the rise after the Tapiwa Makore ritual murder. To listen to the report, click on the link below the screenshot. More in the next few days (webmaster FVDK).

Screenshot – click the link below (‘Source’) to watch the video (2:19 minutes).
Zinatha stands for Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association 

Source: Ritual Killings of Kids On The Rise Following Tapiwa Makore Murder

Published: April 22, 2021
By: ZimEye, The Truth & the Future

It’s time for Africa to protect its children from the web of ritual killings (2016 article)

The following plea to end ritual killings focuses on children who are targeted in numerous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerable, innocent children are mutilated and murdered by ruthless and criminal people who want to increase their wealth, health, power or reputation – by all means. The Nigerian author of this article, which dates from 2016 but could have been written yesterday, OmoTola Omolaya, specifically mentions a number of countries notably Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

I don’t know the author’s reasons to limit himself to aforementioned countries. In each and every African country where ritual murders are committed, also children die at the hands of unscrupulous murderers who very often get away with their ugly crimes.

However, I fully agree with his conclusion: African governments need to act!

Warning: the following article contains graphic details which may shock the reader (webmaster FVDK).

It’s time for Africa to protect its children from the web of ritual killings

Published: February 29, 2016
By: Ventures Africa – Omotola OmoLaya

In 2011, BBC did a documentary on witch craft and ritual killings in Uganda and one of the gory stories was about a three-year old boy found in the outskirts of Uganda lying in a pool of blood. His penis had been cut off by ritualists and he was rushed to the hospital to save his life. While speaking with a BBC correspondent, even though the parents are advocating for the ban of witchcraft in the country, the mother is more concerned about her son’s future. She said, “every time I look at him, I ask myself how his future is going to be as a man without a penis. Also I wonder what the rest of the community is going to look at him with a private part that looks like that of a female.”

Like the little boy, a lot of children have fallen victim to kidnappers and ritual killers. Due to their vulnerability, they are easily abducted on their way to school or heading to fetch water. These children, considered pure, are sacrificed by witch doctors to appease ‘the gods’ and bring a myriad of solutions which include wealth, good health, and fertility among others. Hearts, ears, livers and genitals are considered as key ingredients of the rituals.

Although the BBC documentary was released in 2011, not much has changed in Uganda. Very recently, six cases of mutilation and murder of children were reported by a charity organization during the recent Ugandan elections. The Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a charity that cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice, reported that children were used as good luck sacrifices during this period in order to bring wealth and power.  Though Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, did not confirm KCM’s report, he agreed that children had been reported missing in the election period.

This shocking revelations show that it is now unsafe to be a child in Africa. Ritual killings is not peculiar to Uganda, it takes place in other African countries such as Liberia, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. The repeated occurrences of these killings without a penalty is a blatant violation for the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. According to this charter, an individual is entitled to respect for his life and integrity of his person. However, disrespect for a person (children) life thrives in several African country.

Why ritual killings are still prevalent in Africa:

Ritualists are often patronized by the rich and wealthy

In Tanzania, children with albinism are targeted for sacrifices by witch doctors who gets paid by politicians to be successful in their election bids. Also, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law reports that in Swaziland and Liberia, politicians allegedly commission ritual killings to improve their odds in elections. The same pattern obtains in Uganda as well, where the wealthy pay witch doctors in a bid to expand their fortunes. In Ivory Coast, (where the rate of child abduction is so high that the UNICEF had to intervene) there are speculations that ritual killings by corrupt businessmen and politicians used body parts in ceremonies to confer supernatural powers.

Superstitions, culture and religion.

Africa is still entrenched in dogmas, myth and belief in magic. There is still a prevalence of confidence in charms and witch craft which has been handed down since time immemorial. Ritual killings are culturally acceptable in some parts of South Africa, therefore, the practice is not usually reported by community members. Occultism and other forms of religion permit ritual acts to appease the gods, abate misfortune and seek supernatural help. Many also perform these rituals out of fear of unpleasant spiritual consequences if they falter.

The web of culture, religion and superstition often results in an ethical conflict between protection of human rights and respect for the beliefs and practices of other cultures.

Secrecy

Not many have been convicted of crimes associated with ritual killings in Africa. Due to the coat of secrecy surrounding ritual killings, it makes it difficult to hold the responsible parties accountable and liable for their unlawful actions.

Tag SDGs

A part of the Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations says that the countries should:

  • Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
  • End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

Children are the most vulnerable in any society and it is the duty of leaders all around the world to provide a safe haven for its young. Africa needs to stop neglecting the safety of these innocent children. Its leaders should enact laws that protect them from gruesome murders that cut their lives short even before their prime.

It is time to enforce the African Charter, because although it permits religious practices, it does not favor jeopardizing a human life (under which ritual killings fall). African governments need to hold those responsible for taking human lives accountable. It is time for Africa to protect its children.

Source: Tag SDGs: Its time for Africa to protect its children from the web of ritual killings

Political map of Africa

Nigeria: Bauchi herbalist arrested for killing four children for rituals

A gruesome report. WARNING: Some readers may find this story disturbing (FVDK).

Bauchi: Herbalist Arrested For Allegedly Killing Four Minors For Ritual

The suspect, Bauchi herbalist Rufa’i Yunusa

Published: February 22, 2021
By: Naija News, Enioluwa Adeniyi

Bauchi State Police Command has arrested a 28-year-old herbalist, Rufa’i Yunusa, for allegedly killing four children, aged between two and four, for ritual purposes.

Yunusa who is a resident of Rumbu village, in the Ningi Local Government of Bauchi State, was apprehended by the police on Wednesday.

The development was confirmed in a statement released by the spokesperson of the command, Ahmed Wakil, on Sunday.

Wakil noted that Yunusa was arrested due to a complaint by one Isyaku Ahmed of Kafin Madaki, that the suspect allegedly deceived him that his daughter was suffering from an ailment that required spiritual intervention.

The suspect, however, killed the child after the father handed her over to him for the healing process.

He said, “The Bauchi State Police Command on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, arrested a 28-year-old suspected ritualist, Rufa’i Yunusa, who has been involved in the killing of not less than four little children between the ages of two and four.”

“His arrest followed a complaint lodged at the Ganjuwa division of the state command on the same day around 4.30 pm by one Isyaku Ahmed, of Unguwan Yamma, Kafin Madaki.”

“He reported that on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at about 12.30 pm, he took his daughter, Maimuna Isyaku, to a native doctor (Rufa’i Yunusa) for traditional treatment. Rufa’i told him that his daughter (Maimuna) was suffering from a spiritual ailment and assured him that his daughter would be cured.”

“He then solicited and got the sum of N10,000 from the father, after which he took the little girl into the forest purportedly for a spiritual healing session, only to return after a while to inform the girl’s father that the little girl mysteriously disappeared during the process.”

“Upon receipt of the report, the Ganjuwa divisional patrol team swung into action, combed the entire forest and found the slaughtered body of the said Maimuna.”

The police spokesman said the victim was rushed to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead by a medical doctor.

He said the suspect, during interrogation, voluntarily confessed to killing the girl.

“He further revealed that she was not his only victim and claimed to usually carry out the act with parental consent by tacitly informing them that the children might not return during healing sessions.

“A knife and 26 pairs of children clothing were recovered as exhibits during the operation and investigations are ongoing, after which the suspect will be charged to court for prosecution and possible conviction,” he added.

Source: Bauchi: Herbalist Arrested For Allegedly Killing Four Minors For Ritual

related article:

Bauchi herbalist arrested for killing four children for rituals

Published: February 24, 
By: The Street Journal, TSJ – Lucy Adegbe

The police in Bauchi State have arrested a herbalist, 28, for allegedly killing four children, between the ages of 2 and 4 for ritual purposes.

According to the police spokesperson, Ahmed Wakil, the suspected ritualist, Rufa’i Yunusa, of Rumbu village, in the Ningi Local Government of Bauchi State, was arrested on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

The spokesperson said the arrest followed a complaint by one Isyaku Ahmed of Kafin Madaki, that the suspect allegedly deceived him that his daughter was suffering from an ailment that required spiritual intervention.

SP Wakil said Yunusa, however, killed the child after the father released her to him for the healing process.

The statement said, “The Bauchi State Police Command on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, arrested a 28-year-old suspected ritualist, Rufa’i Yunusa, who has been involved in the killing of not less than four little children between the ages of two and four.

“His arrest followed a complaint lodged at the Ganjuwa division of the state command on the same day around 4.30 pm by one Isyaku Ahmed, of Unguwan Yamma, Kafin Madaki.

“He reported that on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at about 12.30 pm, he took his daughter, Maimuna Isyaku, to a native doctor (Rufa’i Yunusa) for traditional treatment. Rufa’i told him that his daughter (Maimuna) was suffering from a spiritual ailment and assured him that his daughter would be cured.

“He then solicited and got the sum of N10,000 from the father, after which he took the little girl into the forest purportedly for a spiritual healing session, only to return after a while to inform the girl’s father that the little girl mysteriously disappeared during the process.

“Upon receipt of the report, the Ganjuwa divisional patrol team swung into action, combed the entire forest and found the slaughtered body of the said Maimuna.”

The police spokesman said the victim was rushed to a hospital, where she was confirmed dead by a medical doctor, adding that during interrogation, the suspect voluntarily confessed to killing the girl.

“He further revealed that she was not his only victim and claimed to usually carry out the act with parental consent by tacitly informing them that the children might not return during healing sessions.

“A knife and 26 pairs of children clothing were recovered as exhibits during the operation and investigations are ongoing, after which the suspect will be charged to court for prosecution and possible conviction,” the statement added.

Source: Bauchi herbalist arrested for killing four children for rituals

Oluwo to Yoruba activists: use energy for pursuing herders to address ritual killings in southwest of the country (Nigeria)

The Paramount Ruler of Iwoland, Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has again raised his voice against the seemingly endless killing of innocent citizens for ritual purposes in Nigeria. Its is not the first time, as I have repeatedly said here on this site.

In 2020, on at least three occasions, and also the year before, he drew attention to this ugly crime and spared no one when elaborating on the culprits. Read what he said on October 21 (‘Ritual killing deadlier and more devastating than SARS’), August 20 (‘Oluwo to lead protest against ritual killings‘), January 29 (‘Amotekun should fight ritual killings’) in 2020 and on August 9, 2019 (“I’ll declare traditional war against ritual killings if FG fails to address menace”).  

This week, on February 24, he said what I always feared and have indicated multiple times. The Paramount Chief said no one can account for the number of lives lost to ritual per day. He said: “No crime is good but there are more ritual killings in the South. It consumes an unaccountable number of our sons and daughters every day. Only a few are reported while many were not caught.”

A gruesome reality. Repeatedly I have drawn attention to the unaccountable number of ritualistic murders in Africa’s most populated country. More action is needed by federal authorities and on the state level. Perpetrators must be caught and tried, the rue of law should be upheld, and a nation-wide public awareness campaign should start immediately aiming at rooting out this cancer of the Nigerian society, fighting this disease based on superstition and ignorance. (webmaster FVDK)

Oluwo To Yoruba Activists: Use Energy For Pursuing Herders To Address Ritual Killings In South-West

Oluwo said no one can account for the number of lives lost to ritual per day, saying it will amount to disservice if such could not be addressed by Yoruba activists.

The Paramount Ruler of Iwoland, Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi

Published: February 24, 2021
By: SaharaReporters, News York

The Paramount Ruler of Iwoland, Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, has urged Yoruba agitators and freedom fighters to commit their energy towards ending ritual killings consuming innocent sons and daughters of Yoruba in their thousands rather than attacking Fulani herdsmen.

The monarch urged agitators to be more interested in probing crimes and not attacking ethnic groups.

He, however, condemned the kidnapping, raping, and killing by some herders across the region.

Oluwo said no one can account for the number of lives lost to ritual per day, saying it will amount to disservice if such could not be addressed by Yoruba activists.

He said, “No crime is good but there are more ritual killings in the South. It consumes an unaccountable number of our sons and daughters every day.

“Only a few are reported while many were not caught. Yorubas should dissipate more energy in checkmating ritual killers and openly protest against them.  Someone’s son and daughter are being killed by ritualists at the moment. There is a baby-making factory in the South.  When are we protesting against that?”

Oba Akanbi claimed he is a preacher of peace and a united Nigeria, describing ethnicity as “ungodly and enemy of humanity”.

He said, “I stand on the path of peace and to me, that is the path of honor. Nigeria’s ethnic diversity is too fragile to be drumming ethnic war. I remain an unrepentant preacher of peace and a one, united Nigeria.

“Ethnicity is Ungodly. No faith preaches attack on all because of the crime committed by the few. Prosecute the criminals and probe crimes, not the tribe. Nigeria is a nation of ethnic diversities. Peace and unity are our strengths, not war. I never regret beating the drum of peace. We should rather hang on Fulanis to produce the bad eggs among them and not a total condemnation of the tribe. Even if it is the Igbo tribe that is being persecuted because of the bad few, I will stand to defend the good ones among them.

“Yoruba race is one of the best with rich cultural value. I love her people. I’ve never sold even a plot of my subjects’ land or anything from them since enthronement. Even, my salary is dedicated to the poor in my hometown. For what gain and purpose will I now mislead or sell them out? Never. What I preach is peace and truthfulness. The path to peace is to prosecute individual crimes and not their tribe. I stand on this and will keep repeating it.”

He further called on the government to ensure quality formal education and enlightenment on modern ranching for Fulani children.

Source: Oluwo To Yoruba Activists: Use Energy For Pursuing Herders To Address Ritual Killings In South-West

Kenya: suspects in Tharaka Nithi ritual murder remanded 7 days

I reported earlier on this gruesome murder case. See my January 20 posting ‘A shocking ritual murder in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya‘. (Warning: people may find its contents shocking due to the graphic details of this heinous crime).
(webmaster FVDK)

Suspects in Tharaka Nithi ritual sacrifice remanded 7 days

Suleiman Mati Mukira and Michael Ngugi Riungu before a Chuka court on January 19, 2021 on the accusation of killing a nine-year-old girl in Magutuni, Tharaka Nithi County, as part of a ritual.
Pholo: Alex Njeru – Nation Media Group

Published: January 19, 2021
By: Nation, Kenya – Alex Njeru 

What you need to know:

  • The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32.

Police in Tharaka Nithi County have seven days to conclude investigations into the gruesome murder of a nine-year-old girl from Mpingu village in Maara Sub-county.

The accused are 94-year-old Suleiman Mati Mukira from the village in Mwimbi, whom police say is a witchdoctor, and his client Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighboring Ganga Ward.

In their application, police said they needed enough time to thoroughly probe the shocking incident believed to have been a ritual killing.

They further argued that the two should remain in police custody because their security is not guaranteed.

Before Senior Resident Magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team also said the first suspect, Mr Riungu, is a flight risk.

“Police are seeking seven days to conclude the investigation before preferring charges,” said the prosecution.

In their affidavit, police also told the court that Mr Riungu, who had visited Mr Mukira for his services, beheaded the Grade Two child of his neighbour.

Asked whether he was against the police request for him to remain in custody for the seven days, Mr Riungu did not object.

Mr Mukira requested to be released on bond arguing that he is old and sickly and that since the incident happened, he has been suffering from depression. He also cited a urinary tract infection.

The court remanded the two, nothing the need for them to undergo mental checks before standing trial.

Source: Suspects in Tharaka Nithi ritual sacrifice remanded 7 days

Related:

‘Witchdoctor’, ‘client’ detained for alleged ritual killing of nine-year old girl

Police called suspects a flight risk, saying the public was angry and they should not be released for their own safety

Published: January 19, 2021
By: The Star, Kenya – Gerald Mutethia

In Summary 

• Court orders suspected witchdoctor and client detained for seven days for investigation and psychiatric assessment in connection with an apparent ritual beheading.

• When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.

An elderly man and his ‘client’ accused of beheading a nine-year-old girl will be detained for seven days on suspicion of witchcraft ritual murder.

The killer or killers ripped out the heart of the victim, Deborah Kagendi Kinengeni, who regularly delivered milk. She was  brilliant, cheerful and talkative, a Chuka High Court was told on Tuesday.

The girl’s father, Ignasius Mutunga, who spoke at their home said his daughter was attending church when she was summoned to his home by the elderly traditional healer. She went willingly because she often delivered milk to him.

The girl’s brother, Evans Mawira, said he had asked the old man where his sister was. He said the old man told him to take his cows in exchange for her, the court heard.

Police in Tharaka Nithi county were allowed by a Chuka High Court on Tuesday to detain Suleiman Mati Mukira of Mpingu village in Mwimbi whom the police described as a “witchdoctor”.

Also ordered detained was his accused ‘client’, Michael Ngugi Riungu, 32, from Kariakomo village in neighbouring Ganga ward.

In an affidavit, police told the court Riungu had visited Mukira for “spiritual treatment” and beheaded the Grade 2 neighbour girl.

When police arrived on Sunday afternoon, they said they found two men – a ‘traditional healer’ and his ‘client’ – eating meat. It was not clear if it was human flesh, a beheaded sacrificial goat or a chicken whose heart had been ripped out.

The detention is to allow for investigations. The two men have not been charged in connection with the Sunday afternoon murder and suspected witchcraft.

They will undergo a psychiatric assessment before being charged and entering a plea.

It is against the law to practice witchcraft and sentences can be as long as 10  years. Murder carries a life sentence.

Police told senior resident magistrate Mwanamkuu Sudi, the investigating team considers Riungu a flight risk. They said both men’s lives were in danger from an enraged public if they are released.

Congregants at the nearby Ambassador for Christ Fellowship heard the girl’s screams, called police and rushed to the scene.

The body was found hidden in a gunny in a goat shed. The head was found in the compound.

Source: ‘Witchdoctor’, ‘client’ detained for alleged ritual killing