Ghana: fears of terrorism and ritual murders

Recently, the Ahafo Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Eric Adu, called on security operatives to strengthen patrols along the country’s borders to avert infiltration of terrorist groups into the country. Mr Adu also met with residents of Kenyasi, the capital of the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region.

Significantly, many participants seized the occasion to express their worries about repeated incidences of ritual murder in the country. They called on the police to enhance their visibility in local communities (webmaster FVDK). 

NCCE calls for reinforced security patrols along Ghana borders

Published: October 24, 2021
By: BusinessGhana

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on security operatives to strengthen patrols along the country’s borders to avert infiltration of terrorist groups into the country.

Mr Eric Adu, the Ahafo Regional Director of the Commission, who made the call, asked residents, particularly those along the Ghana borders, to be vigilant and provide the security agencies with information on strange movements of individuals or groups.

Speaking at a stakeholders engagement on violent extremism and terrorism, held at Kenyasi Number One in the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region, Mr Adu said recurring terrorist attacks in neighbouring Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria remained a wake-up call for the country to deepen her border patrols.

The Asutifi North District Directorate of the NCCE with support from the National Security organised the day’s engagement attended by political party representatives, traditional rulers, religious bodies, market women, youth groups and personnel of security agencies.

Mr Adu expressed worry about the high incidences of terrorism and terrorist attacks in Sub-Saharan Africa in recent times, which had recorded more than 43,000 violent extremism related deaths.

“Terrorist groups like Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban always have a global agenda and we must also strengthen our border patrols as well,” he indicated, saying modern policing remained a shared and collective responsibility of all.

Mr Adu reminded the outlaw of the formation of political party vigilante groups, under the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, (999) 2019 and advised the youth in the area to channel their exuberances into productive activities that would better their lives.

Nana Anim Dankwa, the Saamanhene of Kenyasi Number One Traditional Area, commended the NCCE for providing the people information to enhance national security.

Many of the participants expressed worry about repeated incidences of ritual murder in the country and called on the Police to enhance their visibility in local communities.

Source: NCCE calls for reinforced security patrols along Ghana borders

Asutifi District is a former district that was located in Brong-Ahafo Region (now currently in Ahafo Region, Ghana).   On 1 February 2012 (effectively 28 June 2012), it was split off into two new districts: Asutifi North District (capital” Kenyasi) and Asutifi South District (capital: Hwidiem).  Source: Wikipedia Asutifi District

Ghana: lynching of 90-year-old woman suspected of witchcraft (2020 article)

Recently, Ghana was shocked by the Kasoa ritual murder case. It’s not common knowledge that ritual murders are no exception in Ghanaian society. Also belief in witchcraft is widespread in this West African country which nevertheless has a very positive reputation as one of Africa’s most advanced countries, rapidly developing.

Yesterday I posted a general article on sorcery and the belief in witchcraft and I announced a heartbreaking, breathtaking incident which occurred in Ghana last year. 

The lynching of Akua Denteh, a 90-year old woman in the Savannah region, in central Ghana, who was accused of being a witch caused national-wide outrage. It happened at Kafaba near Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah region, on July 23, 2020. After a local priestess, Sherina Mohammed alias Alhajia Filina (40), had accused the nonagenarian of witchcraft, a mob attacked the old, frail woman. Two women slapped, kicked and caned her with a whip, the horror was filmed by by-standers who did not intervene to stop the insane and atrocious cruelty which led to the death of this mother of nine children. The horror-movie was widespread on social media, but I find the video too gruesome and repulsive to show here.  

The lynching of Madam Akua Denteh was not a unique incident, however. On more occasions I have reported on the cruel treatment of children and adult people who are being accused of witchcraft. See my postings dated April 14, 2020, Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters, and November 30 of the same year, Ghana Pentecostals come to the defense of accused witches as well as ‘AfriKids: Ghana’s haven for ‘spirit’ children marked for murder‘ (June 23, 2018).  

In 2018, an investigation by the famous journalist and film maker Anas Aremeyaw Anas resulted in worldwide attention for the plight of so-called ‘spirit children’. Anas investigated the murder of Ghanaian children who were accused to be possessed by evil spirits. See my June 4, 2018 posting Spirit Child: Ritual Killings in Ghana. It feels wry knowing that reportedly already in 2013 Ghanaians put a ban on the killing of ‘spirit children‘.

And now, in 2020, the cruel and inhumane treatment of people – mostly women and children but also men are occasionally targeted – accused of witchcraft has resulted in yet another innocent victim of superstition. Will it end here? 

The police acted swiftly and apprehended the priestess as well as the culprits who tortured and murdered Akua Denteh. However, the recent Kasoa murder case shows that superstition has far from vanished from Ghanaian society. The war against superstition, belief in witchcraft and ritualistic killings is far from over.
(webmaster FVDK)

Lynching of 90-year-old Ghanaian woman suspected of witchcraft scars national conscience

Published: July 28, 2020
By: Face2Face – Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

A 90-year-old Ghanaian woman in the north of the country was lynched to death last week by a mob who had been convinced that frail and diminutive Akua Denteh was a witch.

According to local sources, Denteh was accused by a popular traditional priestess in the Savannah region of the country, who traced the misery and misfortune of a few people as well as the community to the nonagenarian. This followed a long-held suspicion by some youth in the community.

The ensuing mob justice after the priestess’ confirmation was as swift as it was merciless.

A viral video of the lynching shows a small crowd that had circled the helpless old woman as she sat in the dirt. In the middle of the circle, those who were perhaps more incensed with Denteh’s alleged witchery – two visibly irate women in particular – beat her up, one of them, with a whip.

The video is only forty-five seconds long and does not include footage of what has been reported as the commitment of more people to beat Denteh up. But since the video came to light and drew the response of the police, many of the onlookers as well as those seen assaulting the old woman, have reportedly fled into hiding.

Ghana‘s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has called the incident a “tragic act” that has “disfigured” the country’s image. A former head of state Jerry Rawlings has also called for a quick resolution to a “cruel and barbaric lynching”.

Social media platforms too, Facebook and Twitter specifically, have been awash with statements from individuals and organizations condemning Denteh’s murder. But perhaps, the sentiments of civil society, however well-intentioned, are at best, anodynic and polite.

2015 Global Attitudes Survey by the Pew Research Center found that about 90% of Ghanaians described themselves as religious, belonging to the Christianity, Islam, variants of the Eastern religions or traditional African faiths. But the belief in witchcraft, not argued by the Pew survey, is very rife regardless of one’s faith.

The pervasiveness of belief in witchcraft in Ghana can be seen through the popularity of the biggest movies produced by the country’s hugely-successful Kumawood (Kumasi Hollywood) industry. Since the 1980s too, Ghana has witnessed the astronomic proliferation of evangelical churches that market themselves as “solution centers” to spiritual problems.

Some of these churches are referred to as prayer camps where people are supposed to be delivered of demonic possessions. Apart from churches, some animistic believers in northern Ghana, not far from where Denteh was murdered, have witch camps, where older women are held on accusations of witchcraft, sometimes until their death.

The most famous of these camps, the Gambaga witch camp, has been studied by social scientists across the world.

However, much in the fashion of the Comtean sociological perspective, many educated Ghanaians seem to think that belief in witchcraft and hardcore spirituality is in the nature of the uneducated poor.

With what is already known about Ghanaian society, the lynching of Denteh seems like the ugly manifestation of serious neglected underlying tensions.

Source: Lynching of 90-year-old Ghanaian woman suspected of witchcraft scars national conscience

Related article:

90-year-old woman accused of witchcraft lynched at Kafaba near Salaga
    

The police have mounted a search for one Tanko and his accomplices who allegedly masterminded the lynching of a 90-year-old woman at Kafaba near Salaga in the Savannah Region on the accusation that she was a witch.

The incident happened on Thursday, July 23, 2020 in the East Gonja Municipality.

The old woman whose body has since been deposited at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) mortuary has been identified as Akua Denteh.

The Savannah Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Mr Enoch Adutwum Bediako told Graphic Online that some more police officers have been detailed to the area to effect the arrest of the suspects who subjected the victim to severe beatings which led to her death.

What happened?

DCOP Bediako told Graphic Online that at about 4pm on Thursday, July 23, 2020, Mahama Salami aged 60 years of Mempeasem, a suburb of Salaga reported to the police that he had received information at 11 am from his sister, Mahama Memuna that his mother, Akua Denteh aged 90 had been accused of being a witch.

This was because a certain fetish priest in the area had said so.

DCOP Bediako said based on that the old woman was subjected to severe beatings by Tanko and his accomplices until she became unconscious and died.

He said when the matter was reported to the Salaga Police they proceeded to the scene at Kafaba, which is about 21 kilometres from Salaga and saw the lifeless body of the victim.

He said an inspection conducted on the body of the victim revealed a cut on the forehead and bruises on the right arm.

After processing the scene as part of investigations, the body was sent to the TTH mortuary for preservation.

DCOP Bediako said the police are on the heels of those who perpetrated the act for the law to deal with them.

The issue of witchcraft allegations, especially against old women are widespread in the northern part of Ghana.

Source: 90-year-old woman accused of witchcraft lynched at Kafaba near Salaga

Related article: suspects grabbed

Kafaba ‘Witch’ Killer Grabbed After Trying To Escape To Yeji

KILLED! Akua Denteh, The 90-year-old woman being assaulted by the suspects, GRABBED! Latifah Bumaye

Published: August 1, 2020
By: Modern Ghana – 

A key suspect in the lynching of Akua Denteh, a 90-year-old woman, over allegation of witchcraft at Kafaba in the Gonja East Municipality of the Savannah Region, has been grabbed by the police after she tried to escape from the area.

Latifah Bumaye, believed to be an associate of the ringleader, Hajia Filipina, was picked up at Kejewu Bator, a fishing community under the Abrumase Police within the Salaga Division at East Gonja, while going to Yeji. 

According to police sources, they heard about the hideout of the suspect and dispatched detectives to Kejewu Bator where she was picked up and escorted back to the Salaga Divisional Command. 

DAILY GUIDE understands that she is being processed to be sent to the Regional Police Command in Damongo for further action. 

The suspect is believed to be one of the two ladies seen in the viral video lynching the 90-year-old woman because they claimed she was a witch. 

She is believed to be the woman in the video menacingly whipping the old lady with a long whip which she brandished. Meanwhile, the chief suspect, Filipina, is yet to be apprehended. 

More Suspects

Five people, who are believed to have participated in the lynching which has since sparked national outrage, have been remanded in police custody by a district court at Bole. 

They pleaded not guilty and the court, presided over by Andrew Prince Cudjoe, remanded them until August 20. 

The suspects – Haruna Aness, 34; Issaka Tanko, 35; Shaibu Murtala, 29; Sulemana Ali, 35; and Issaka Sachebu, 32, have been charged with conspiracy and murder. 

The Chief of Kafaba, Seidu Yahaya, under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred, has also been granted police inquiry bail. 

The police placed a GH¢2,000 reward for anybody that would help in the arrest of the suspects; and yesterday, a benevolent individual placed a GH¢5,000 reward for anybody who could assist the police to arrest Filipina.

Source: Kafaba ‘Witch’ Killer Grabbed After Trying To Escape To Yeji

Another article:

Kafaba: Bole District Court Remands Woman ‘Killer’

Published: August 3, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

The accused person was provisionally charged with murder. 

The case prosecutor, chief inspector Abdulai B. Awuni, pleaded with the court to remand the accused person for further investigation. 

The judge granted the request of the police prosecutor and demanded the accused be remanded into police custody to reappear in court on August 20, 2020. 

The charge was read and explained to the accused person but her plea was not taken. 

More Suspects

Five people, who are believed to have participated in the lynching which has since sparked national outrage, have been remanded in police custody by a district court at Bole. 

They pleaded not guilty and the court, presided over by Andrew Prince Cudjoe, remanded them until August 20. 

The suspects – Haruna Aness, 34; Issaka Tanko, 35; Shaibu Murtala, 29; Sulemana Ali, 35; and Issaka Sachebu, 32, have been charged with conspiracy and murder. 

The Chief of Kafaba, Seidu Yahaya, under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred, has also been granted police inquiry bail. 

The police placed a GH¢2,000 reward for anybody that would help in the arrest of the suspects; and yesterday, a benevolent individual placed a GH¢5,000 reward for anybody who could assist the police to arrest Filipina. 

Madam Akua Denteh was lynched at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality in the Savannah Region. 

The woman was openly beaten to death by Hajia Filipina,the soothsayer with support from a mob in the community. 

The main suspect, Hajia Filipina, as at the time of filing this report was still on the run.

Source: Kafaba: Bole District Court Remands Woman ‘Killer’

More articles:

Kafaba Killing: Woman ‘Killer’ To Face Court Today

Published: August 3, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

One of the key suspects in the lynching of 90-year-old Akua Denteh at Kafaba will be arraigned today, August 3.

Latifah Bumaye was arrested last week at Kejewu Bator, a fishing community along the Volta lake. 

She was seen in a viral video continuously hitting the deceased with an object. 

The deceased, Akua Denteh a fortnight ago was tortured after she was accused of being a witch. 

The Savannah Regional Police earlier arrested five persons who are also linked to the incident. 

They have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and have been remanded in police custody to reappear before the court on August 20. 

Speaking to Citi News, Savannah Regional Police Commander, DCOP Enoch Adutwum Bediako said investigations are still ongoing. 

“She was arrested on Monday at Kejewu, a small community along the Volta lake. All she keeps saying is that she doesn’t know what was happening to her. Our investigations are still ongoing but we will put her before court today to seek remand as investigations continue. She has not been able to tell us where the priestess (another suspect) is.” 

Five suspects charged with conspiracy to commit murder

Earlier, five suspects arrested by the Police in connection with the lynching of Akua Denteh have been formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder. 

They are however currently on remand in police custody after making their first appearance in court on Thursday, July 30. 

Kafaba chief granted bail

Meanwhile, the Kafaba chief, Zackaria Yahaya who was earlier arrested has been granted bail. 

According to the police, the five other suspects in their statements indicated that the chief did not play any role in the development as he even asked them to send the priestess away when they went to introduce her to him before the lynching incident. 

“The youth did not agree with the chief and went on to do what they did and this unfortunate thing happened… All the five said the chief didn’t agree with what they were doing and therefore he was not part of what they were doing. Based on that, we have to grant the chief bail pending further investigations…He spent the night there because we got the suspects the following day,” DCOP Bediako said.

Source: Kafaba Killing: Woman ‘Killer’ To Face Court Today

Another:

Kafaba Lynching: I Was Possessed – Woman ‘Killer’ Reveals In Court

Published: August 3, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

A key suspect in the lynching of Akua Denteh, a 90-year-old woman at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region, over allegation of witchcraft, has spoken for the first time since her arrest last Friday.

Latifa Bumaye, 33, claimed she was ‘possessed’ and did not realize she was participating in the lynching of Akua Denteh. 

She claimed she went to wash her clothes at the river bank with her sister when the spirit entered her, adding “I saw the incident on television and I wondered if I was really the one who tortured her like that.” 

Besides, she claimed that the woman who had passed on is her grandmother, a position rejected by the family of Akua Denteh. 

Latifah believed to be an associate of the ringleader, Hajia Filipina, was picked up at Kejewu Bator, a fishing community under Abrumase Police Station within the Salaga Division in the East Gonja, whilst going to Yeji on Friday. 

She is believed to be the woman in the video menacingly whipping the old lady with a long whip. Meanwhile, the chief suspect, Hajia Filipina, is yet to be apprehended. 

According to sources, Latifa is expected to be sent to the Regional Police Command in Damongo to be processed for court on Monday. 

More Suspects

Five people, who are believed to have participated in the lynching which has since sparked national outrage, have been remanded in police custody by a district court at Bole. 

They pleaded not guilty and the court, presided over by Andrew Prince Cudjoe, remanded them until August 20. 

The suspects – Haruna Aness, 34; Issaka Tanko, 35; Shaibu Murtala, 29; Sulemana Ali, 35; and Issaka Sachebu, 32, – have been charged with conspiracy and murder. 

The Chief of Kafaba, Seidu Yahaya, under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred, had also been granted police inquiry bail. 

The police placed a GH¢2,000 reward for anybody that would help in the arrest of the suspects and also a benevolent individual placed a GH¢5,000 reward for anybody who could assist the police to arrest Filipina. 

According to police sources, they heard about the hideout of the suspect and dispatched detectives to Kejewu Bator where she was picked up and escorted back to the Salaga Divisional Command. 

DAILY GUIDE understands that she is being processed to be sent to the Regional Police Command in Damongo for further action.

Source: Kafaba Lynching: I Was Possessed – Woman ‘Killer’ Reveals In Court

To conclude:

Police arrest priestess in Kafaba lynching of 90-year-old

Published: August 4, 2020
By: Ghana News Agency (GNA)

Accra, Aug. 4, GNA – The Ghana Police Tuesday said they have arrested the fetish priestess who allegedly accused Madam Akua Denteh of Kafaba, in the Savannah Region, of witchcraft, resulting in the lynching of the 90-year-old.

Superintendent Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman, Director, Police Public Affairs Directorate, said Sherina Mohammed alias Alhajia Filina, 40, was arrested on Monday, August 3, 2020, at her hide-out at Yeji.

Superintendent Abayie-Buckman on the Ghana Police Facebook platform said, the suspect was, consequently, in Police custody assisting with investigations.

Hajia Filina is said to be among some other persons identified as Sanjo, Teacher Aliu, Bumaye, Ashley and Manafo, who allegedly beat the nonagenarian on Thursday, July 23, resulting in her unconsciousness and death later.

They have already arrested five more persons who allegedly admitted to having invited the priestess to Kafaba where the incident occurred.

They are Haruna Aness – 34, Issifa Tanko- 35, Shaibu Muntala – 29, Sulemana Ali -35 and Issifa Zakyibo -32.

Their action has attracted nationwide condemnation and calls for swift justice and punishment of the perpetrators.

The police in the Savannah Region initially arrested the chief of Kafaba, Zackaria Yahaya, for his alleged role in the incident.

They have been arrested to face prosecution.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who described the action as “barbaric” also called for action and justice to be served.

A few days after the incident, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, dispatched homicide experts to the Savannah Region to hunt for the murderers.

The IGP also placed a GH¢ 2,000.00 bounty on their heads, adding that any person with credible information should either contact the Savannah Police or call 0275000156.

Sanjo was said to have hosted Hajia Filina, the priestess who declared the victim, a witch.

Source: Police arrest priestess in Kafaba lynching of 90-year-old

And:

High priestess involved in murder of 90-year-old woman to appear in court on August 5

The priestess (soothsayer), Sherina Mohammed alias Alhajia, aged 40, was arrested at her hideout at Yeji in the Bono East region by police in Salaga.

Published: August 5, 2020 (Last Updated on August 9, 2020)
By: MyGH.Online

The Savannah Regional police command says the Priestess (Soothsayer), in the Kafaba murder case, will appear in court on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

This was after Sherina Mohammed alias Alhajia, aged 40, was arrested at her hideout at Yeji in the Bono East region by police in Salaga.

Her arrest brings the number of suspects in police custody to seven with the exception of the Kafaba chief, Zackaria Yahaya who is currently on bail.

JoyNews’ Isaac Nonya who has been following the incident reports that the police had earlier sent the suspect to Salaga to be interrogated before being brought to Damongo.

According to sources, the alleged priestess had also admitted being the one in the video which went viral.

On July 23, 90-year-old, Akua Denteh was seen being slapped, kicked and caned after the traditional priestess accused her of being a witch.

The severe beating the woman was subjected to by her accuser and two other women resulted in her death.

After the video went viral, there was massive outrage with many demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the perpetrators.

From the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to various civil society groups, the security services have been urged to fish out the culprits who went into hiding after the act.

On Monday, the first key suspect in the lynching was arrested and remanded by the Bole Magistrate Court. 

Latifa Bumaye, 25, was smoked out of her hideout at Kejewu Botor a suburb of the East Gonja Municipality, following continuous surveillance by the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service.

Source: High priestess involved in murder of 90-year-old woman to appear in court on August 5

Last but not least, two related articles:

Kafaba killing: Son Shares Unfulfilled Wish Of Murdered 90-Year-Old Woman

Published: August 1, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

The last son of the 90 year-old woman who was beaten to death at Kafaba has shared her last unfulfilled wish saying “My mother’s last wish was to see my children before she will pass away.”

Mr Mahama Saaka, who is 36-years-old and teacher at Salaga T.I Ahmadiyya Senior High School, who recounted this, said he was yet to have a child and unfortunately his mother had to die this way without seeing his children. 

He recounted this when the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visited the family of the murdered old woman at Salaga in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region to gauge their mood after the sad incident. 

Madam Akua Mariama Denteh, 90 years-old, was on Thursday, July 23, beaten to death at Kafaba by some residents and a spiritualist, who accused her of witchcraft and behind certain strange happenings in the area including; limiting the progress of the town. 

Madam Denteh had nine children, and three died leaving two males and four females, a number of them as teachers and 21 grandchildren. 

The spiritualist was brought to the town by some youth of the area to fish out alleged witches in the area, working against the progress of the town. 

The spiritualist mentioned Madam Denteh as a witch, which she denied but her denial was not accepted and was subjected to beatings. 

The incident was captured on video, and had since gone viral on social media. 

The deceased has since been buried.

So far, the Police arrested Yenufunu Yahaya Seidu (V), a Chief at Kafaba, who had been granted police enquiry bail, and six others in connection with the incident. 

The incident has attracted condemnation from civil society organisations, politicians, gender and human rights activists across the country. 

GNA gathered that, when Madam Denteh was beaten and succumbed to the torture, the spiritualist identified 17 other women in the area as being witches and some of them were also subjected to beatings whilst others, who were connected to powerful people in the area, were spared from beatings. 

Mr Saaka said “It had been my greatest desire to fulfil my mother’s wish but I’m shattered now, I don’t know what to do.” 

He told the GNA that “Since the incident happened and I took my Mum to the morgue, I have not been myself, I’m sick internally, I can’t even cry. She wanted to see my children before she will pass. That is the promise she gave to me, but the unfortunate incident has crushed everything.” 

He said “I don’t believe that my own community; they will do this thing. I’m very, very surprised because I grew up there. We are very sad. We don’t know what to do.” 

He called for justice to be served “So that my Mum will be used as an example to protect all other elderly women.” 

Mr Mahama Sallam, 60 year-old third child and surviving first son of the deceased, said what happened was unacceptable, attributing it to ignorance saying “We leave everything in the hands of God.” 

GNA also visited the spot, where the old woman was beaten at Kafaba, and it was a compound of a house, whose owner had since fled the town. 

The road from Salaga to Kafaba is in a deplorable state and it takes about an hour and a half to reach Kafaba from Salaga using a four-wheeled vehicle. 

There is no Police Post at Kafaba, which presupposes that unless a good Samaritan in the town intervenes, any unlawful act could be meted out to any citizen in the area. 

Yenufunu Yahaya Seidu (V), a Chief at Kafaba, who was arrested and granted bail in connection with the incident, told the GNA at Kafaba that some youth of the area informed him of their decision to invite the spiritualist to fish out witches in the area to ensure the progress of the town. 

He said lawless acts in the area could be prevented, if there was a Police Station in the area and appealed for one in the area to ensure law and order.

Source: Kafaba killing: Son Shares Unfulfilled Wish Of Murdered 90-Year-Old Woman

And hail to the journalist who first reported on the lynching of 90-year old Akua Denteh:

Kafaba Killing Reportage Has Boosted My Popularity – TV3 Journalist

Christopher Mensah Amoako was the first journalist who reported on the gruesome lynching of the 90-year old Akua Denteh. 

Published: August 3, 2020
By: Modern Ghana

TV3’s Savannah Regional correspondent Christopher Mensah Amoako has opened up on how he became the only journalist in the country to have first reported on the gruesome Kafaba killing, indicating the reportage has soared his popularity in the region.

Speaking on ‘Talk To Solomon’ (a YouTube based talk show) hosted by journalist and writer Solomon Mensah, Mr. Amoako said: “On that fateful Thursday, July 23, 2020, I was on my way to East Gonja [in the Savannah Region] when I had a video sent to me via WhatsApp. When I downloaded it, I heard them speak both Gonja and Twi so I realised the tape could not be an imported one from any other African country.” 

Christopher Amoako said, he did further checks to ascertain the authenticity of the video and after rigorous background checks confirmed it was not fake. 

“I quickly called the one who sent me the video not to share with anyone. Then, after about two hours, I also had a call from the son of the deceased telling me about the incident,” he noted. 

The Savannah Regional correspondent for the Media General group revealed that he first “harboured fear in breaking the news. But now, that fear has long gone. Today, everywhere I pass, I get people pointing fingers at me that, ‘that’s the journalist who first broke the news to the nation’”. 

Christopher Amoako said he together with the people of the Savannah Region and the nation as a whole look forward to a swift justice served by the law courts on the murder. 

A 90-year old woman Akua Denteh was lynched on July 23 by a section of the Kafaba community after a soothsayer pronounced her a witch. 

The Savannah Regional Police Command has since apprehended some suspects including 32-year old Latifa Bumaye believed to have played a key role in the lynching. 

Find below Christopher’s full interview:

To watch and listen the interview, click here and scroll down the page. Picture is a screenshot.

The Kasoa ritual murder case – press overview, April 3 – 17, 2021 (Ghana)

On April 4 and April 5 I reported on a shocking ritual murder case in Kasoa, Ghana. Allegedly, two teenagers had murdered a 10-year old boy for ritualistic purposes in a so-called ‘money ritual’. The crime led to a nationwide shock, condemnations, outrage and other reactions. People also questioned the role of the media in promoting a ‘get-rich-quick’ mentality and in protecting the privacy of juvenile suspects and delinquents. In the two weeks following the murder, about 120 articles appeared in mainly Ghanaian newspapers. More details of the crime emerged, notably the role of the traditional priestess who was involved.

Below the reader will discover an overview of the press coverage for the April 4-17 period. Given the abundance of articles, it is not possible to present all articles in full. Instead of presenting the original text, I have added links to the original articles. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that some links may cease to function properly after some time. For the same reason – the large number of newspaper articles – I will not attempt to summarize the information included in the reports. Please read and make your own judgement.

After this overview I will cease reporting on this particular ritual murder case except for specific and exceptional newspaper articles and opinions. The purpose of this site is not to cover each ritual murder case extensively. The interested reader wanting to know more about subsequent events and developments may use search machines like Google for more, up-to-date news. 

For convenience sake I have included some newspaper reports dated April 4 and 5 (webmaster FVDK).

APRIL 17, 2021:

Ghana: Reaping the whirlwind

Published: April 17, 2021
By: Modern Ghana – Femi Akomolafe 

The shocking news that two teenage boys, 16 and 18 years old, lured a 10-year-old boy into an uncompleted building and killed him for money rituals sent Ghanaians reeling. 

The incident happened at the Kasoa suburb of Lamptey Mills on Saturday, April 3, 2021. 

The accused were said to be neighbours to the victim, and are frequent visitors to the victim’s mother’s house where they occasionally share meals. 

The boys, who were said to have got the ideas of get-rich-quick-or-die-trying from one of the numerous get-instant money commercials that saturate television stations in Ghana, were said to have contacted one of the fetish priests who ply his trade on TV, for rituals to become instant billionaires. The priest was said to have demanded human parts and 5,000 cedis 

The suspects, Felix Nyarko, 16, and Nicholas Kiki, 18, were apprehended and have been arranged before the Awutu Ofankor District Court which remanded two boys into police custody. 

They have been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. They are scheduled to reappear before the court on April 20, 2021 . 

The police have also apprehended the spiritualist who turned out to be a priestess. She was said to be nursing a two months old baby. 

Shocked Ghanaians took to the airwaves to voice their revulsions at the sad news. Many lamented that their country has become a place where the only worthwhile endeavor is to get rich by any means necessary. 

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor was among the leading people who condemned the act. The former president attributed the gruesome murder of the 10-year-old boy to the fraudulent commercials that have become the staple of television stations in the country.” He lamented: “How could young people do this? What do they know? Unfortunately, you media people are giving so much exposure to tricksters and fraudulent people, promising everything. When you look at them you should know that these are people who are themselves just bad and ignorant. That is not the way for our society to go.” 

The ex-president’s sentiments were echoed by many shocked Ghanaians who find it difficult to come to terms that young children do not only harbour burning desires to become instant billionaires, but are now willing to kill for it. 

For years, many Ghanaians have expressed concerns about the erosions of traditional ethos that used to guide citizens’ conduct and helped to create harmonious and peaceful societies. The concerns were largely dismissed by those who considered themselves educated, modern and civilised. For them, the traditional ways that were informed and guided by age-long customs were primitive and are too archaic for modern living. 

Alas, instead of copying the Chinese who refused to throw away their traditional ways of life in their quest for modernity, Ghanaians, like most Africans, continue to confuse modernity/civilization with westernization. 

According to the agency charged with granting broadcasting licenses in the country, the National Communication Agency (NCA), 128 stations have been granted a license to operate tv stations, out of which 53 stations are currently operating in the country. 

This might be seen as a good development for a country that until the late 1980s operated only one government-owned TV station. 

But that will be missing the important point that most of the stations shamelessly broadcast materials that are not only indecent, unimaginative, and uneducative but sometimes downright criminal. 

Many of the stations run only commercials produced by scammers in priestly garbs and they specialise in heavy commercialization of the Christian religion. They have staples like an instant cure for every ailment. Many of the garishly dressed Pentecostal pastors used their commercials to showcase instant miracles, with cripples, at the touch of the pastor’s magic finger, throwing their clutches away and racing away in sprints that will lower Olympic records. Many pastors openly treat their church members in manners that should be considered violations of basic human rights. 

Of late, some Mallams have launched their own commercials. They are mostly corpulent folks with flowing gowns complete with heavy turbans. Their main hustle is money doubling and other instant-wealth conjuring gimmicks. 

Not to be outdone, so-called traditional spirituals have also chimed in. Dressed in animal skins, with feathers and whatnots, these charlatans also promote how-to-get-rich-without-breaking-a-sweat trickeries. 

A visitor to Ghana who happens to switch between the TV channels will be left wondering if there are deliberate and conscious attempts to dumb the people down with vapid and mindless drivels. 

Apart from a few quiz programmes here and there, almost everything shown on the TV stations in Ghana is hedonistic, narcissistic, and mind-bending materialistic commercials designed to dumbed people down and turn people into uncritical consuming junkies. 

Ghana’s attempt at creating a local film industry, dubbed Ghallywood, continues to disappoint. Producers churn out only pathetic productions with film editors doing their best to cover shoddy storylines, pitiful acting, and crazy camera angles with an oversaturation of video effects. 

And for a country that once reigned supreme in West Africa with Highlife and Palongo kinds of music, today the country music industry is a pale shadow of its old self. The scene is dominated by studio-created beats with few musicians able to play a single musical instrument. 

The result, predictably, has been the abasement of creativity and the promotion of mediocrity to the level of praxis. Unfortunately, no one appears to be bothered or concerned enough to attempt to stem the rot. 

Why did people pretend to be shocked that children turned themselves into killing monsters when all that they watch on televisions are every manner of ritualists telling people how to get instant wealth through dubious means? 

It is not only on the radios and the television stations that people peddle crazy money-making scams; all the country’s highways are littered with posters and billboards filled with advertisements that should never be allowed in a sane society! 

Many of the commercials the TV stations carry are clear vices that border on sheer criminality, yet the Ghana Police Service watch unconcerned as people, very brazenly, break the laws. 

There is also a National Media Commission, which is supposed to regulate the media. 

Per the NATIONAL MEDIA COMMISSION ACT, 1993, the National Media Commission (NMC) was established to “promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication and information per Chapter Twelve of the Constitution and to provide for related matters.” 

Section 2 of the Act states the functions of the Commission as: 

1. (a) to promote and ensure the freedom and independence of the media for mass communication or information; 

(b) to take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including the investigation, mediation, and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media, 

(c) to insulate the state-owned media from governmental control; 

Section 2 (b) is simply laughable because there is no standard whatever in Ghanaian journalism – in both the print and the broadcast media. 

The accusations that the teenagers were influenced by the proliferation of spiritualists on national television drew the ire of the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafo. Defending his commission against the widespread accusation of dereliction of duty, the NMC boss fumed: “To put it on a charge sheet that this is the reason why they did that, I think that this is a very lazy investigation.” 

Although the NMC’s Chairman admitted the importance of the Commission’s role in safeguarding content in the broadcasting space, he was adamant that: “the NMC will remain a paper tiger as long as the Broadcasting Bill remains unpassed.” 

The question Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafo failed to answer is why he and his 15 or so “paper tigers” in the NMC continue to receive allowances and other perks from the state whilst they nothing to regulate the abysmal content Ghanaians are forced to consume on their airwaves. 

An African adage says that the way we laid our beds is exactly the way we will sleep on them. 

Many religions affirmed that we shall reap exactly what we sow. 

From whichever angle it is considered, the Kasoa ritual killing is a tragedy of epic, even staggering, proportions! 

A classical example of societal FAILURE! At all levels!!! 

Children should be in schools or at vocational centers to learn a trade, not plotting to kill and get money quickly. 

Society is in serious trouble when eighteen years old children have nothing on their minds except instant, unearned wealth. 

Rather than throwing up hands in lamentations, the question should be asked: What exactly was expected when licenses were granted to people to set up television stations with absolutely no clear guidance on content? 

Fẹmi Akọmọlafẹ is a writer and author

Source: Ghana: Reaping the whirlwind

More articles – click on title to access the article (if still available on internet):

I would have killed all my family members if I was into sakawa – Guru
Published by: Ghana Web – April 17, 2021

APRIL 16, 2021:

Kasoa murder is a warning for us to be vigilant at all levels – Chief Imam
Published by: Ghana Web – April 16, 2021

Gyan-Apenteng wants Broadcasting Bill passed
Published by: Graphic Online, Rebecca Quaicoe Duho – April 16, 2021

Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng noted that the recent Kasoa ritual murder had thrown the spotlight on the NMC in the media space and called for a national discourse on the way forward. He said something good must come out of the Kasoa incident, with regard to how to regulate the media space.

APRIL 15, 2021:

Source: Chief Imam condemns Kasoa ritual murder
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 15, 2021

National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu

Ritual Murders: Public officials must also be responsible
Published by: Ghana News – A GNA Feature by Eric K. Amoh

Kasoa murder is a warning for us to be vigilant at all levels – Chief Imam
Published by: My Joy Online, GNA – April 15, 2021

#SayItLoud: How to curb fast money craze among the youth? – Kasoa residents speak
Published by: Ghana Web – April 15, 2021

APRIL 14, 2021:.

Kasoa ritual murder: Mahama consoles victim’s mother
Published by: Ghana Web – April 14, 2021

ASEPA writes: The Kasoa ritual murder, Kasoa has been a ticking time bomb for years!!!
Published by: Modern Ghana, King Amoha – April 14, 2021

Ritual Killings; media, regulatory agencies blameable!
Modern Ghana, Tahiri Lukman – April 14, 2021

Kasoa murder victim, Ishmael Abdallah

Kasoa Ritual Killing: Mallams Are Not Spiritualist, Don’t Confuse The Two- Baba Jamal Charges Media
Published by: Peace fm online,Ghana – April 14, 2021

The blood of 10-year-old ritual killing victim will speak – Seer warns
Published by: Ghana Web – April 14, 2021

OneGod, Ghanaian spiritualist

Government is being lazy with its tax approach – Minority leader
Published by: Modern Ghana, Richard Abayeta Abugre – April 14, 2021

Kasoa boy’s murder demands national soul-searching – Prof Naana Opoku-Agyemang
Published by: My Joy Online, Ghana – April 14, 2021

APRIL 13, 2021:

Kasoa Murder – The media sector reform that is long overdue
Published by: My Joy Online, Kwaku Krobea Asante – April 13, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder would’ve happened under NDC; don’t blame Akufo-Addo – S N Mensah to Asiedu Nketia
Published by: Ghana Web – April 13, 2021

Source: Kasoa ritual murder would’ve happened under NDC; don’t blame Akufo-Addo – Bishop S N Mensah to Asiedu Nketia
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 13, 2021

APRIL 12, 2021:

Africa/Ghana – “Ritual killings are a threat to national security” denounce the Bishops
Published by: Agenzia Fidez – April 12, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing: Duty bearers must act to change the image, narrative of Kasoa – Deceased family spokesperson
Published by: Modern Ghana, Kwame Kwakye – April 12, 2021

Krachi Youth Association Demands Justice For Murdered 10-Year-Old Boy At Kasoa 
Published by: Peace fm Online, Ghana – April 12, 2021

You can’t be idle and expect money to flow in your life – Gyakie advises the youth
Ghana Web – April 12, 2021

Ghanaians always glorify ill-gotten wealth – Peter Toobu
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 12, 2021

APRIL 11, 2021:

Nepotism and unbridled greed are the root causes of the recent rampant killings and suicides in the country
Published by: Modern Ghana, Daniel Yiadom Boakye – April 11, 2021 

‘We Can’t Do Anything About Juju and Money Doubling On TV’ – NMC says
Published by: GH Base, Kpakpo – April 11, 2021  

Lucifer advises youth against ritual money
Published by: Ghana Web – April 11, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing: Nobody wants to be poor, time to redefine our values – Oppong Nkrumah
Published by: Ghana Web – April 11, 2021

Rev Obofour advises the youth after Kasoa ritual murder 
Published by: GH Page – April 11, 2021

Social media users attack Akufo-Addo for mourning Prince Philip while silent on Kasoa boy’s murder
Published by: Ghana Web – April 11, 2021

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

APRIL 10, 2021:

“You didn’t speak on the Kasoa Ritual Killing but you are quick to send tribute to Prince Philip” – Ghanaians harshly criticize Akufo-Addo
Published by: GH Base, Journalist Albert – April 10, 2021

Ghanaians Descend On President Nana Addo Over His Silence On the Kasoa Murder But Sent A Tribute To Prince Philip
Published by: GH Gossip, Charles Kofi Amoaku – April 10, 2021

Ritual Killing: ‘Juju’ Woman Reveals What Teenagers Wanted From Her…
Published by: Peace fm Online – April 10, 2021

Charity Mensah, the traditional priestess (Juju) who was arrested in connection with the murder of 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah has revealed that the two teenagers currently in police grips for their alleged involvement in the ritual killing contacted her on phone to be perpetually rich. She said the two boys, who were only in touch with her via phone, requested for the “pocket no dry” charm.

Charity Mensah, made this known during police interrogation after her arrest earlier this week. She was arrested alongside her errand boy, Desmond Nii Adjei, at Amanase near Suhum in the Eastern Region.

Citi News’ Anass Seidu said during interrogation, she did not say whether she demanded a human body for the alleged rituals.

“What they [teenagers] wanted was “pocket no dry” charm so that they will never lack money in their lives. According to information we picked up from the interrogations, she [priestess] told the boys that she could do it for them. There have been several phone interactions between one of the boys and the traditional priestess and the police have in their possession phone records of their conversations.”

“She is yet to confirm to the police that she directed them to bring human parts or a human being for the ritual,” Anass Seidu said.

The two teenagers still in police custody over the killing–Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini –have also alleged that the priestess was aware of the killing and went ahead to instruct them to bury the body of the deceased.

During interrogations, they said the priestess assured them that she will visit the place later at night with some aides to collect the body of the deceased for the ritual.

Charity Mensah is yet to confirm or deny that allegation.

Meanwhile, the priestess said to be a Beninois and a 2-week-old nursing mother has been granted bail.

Her Ghanaian husband and herbalist is reported to have fled with their baby.

But for the timely intervention of the Police in Suhum, residents of Amanase would have burnt down a shrine believed to be for Charity Mensah. 

Angry residents led by the regent of Amanase gathered at the shrine on Friday morning in protest ready to damage the shrine.

This was their way of expressing their anger at the priestesses who they say has tarnished the image of the community after she was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the suspected ritual killing last week.

The regent of Amanase, Osabarima Obengfo Addo Agyekum, issued a three-day ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police and the police service to furnish them with updates of the arrest made.

“It is only now that we’ve understood the gravity of their activities to the extent of taking a life in the name of giving money to the youth for that matter.”

The 11-year-old boy, Ishmael Mensah, was buried yesterday, April 8, 2021, after he was allegedly killed by his two teenage friends at Atia Coca Cola in the Ga South Municipality.

The two teenagers, Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini, were earlier arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command following the killing.

Earlier reports suggested that the incident occurred at Kasoa, but local authorities clarified that the area is located within Bortionor Ngleshie Amanfro in the Ga South municipality.

More articles:

Source: Kasoa murder: Fetish priestess, another arrested
Published by: Ghana Business – April 10, 2021

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has arrested two more persons including a fetish priestess for their alleged involvement in the murder of an eleven year old boy for ritual purposes.

Charity Mensah, the fetish priestess and Desmond Nii Adjei, were arrested on Thursday, April 8, 2021, at Amanase near Suhum in the Eastern Region.

Felix Nyarko, 16, and Nicholas Kini, 18, were earlier arrested in the murder of the boy for ritual money.

Nyarko and Kini upon their arrest told police that a spiritualist they saw on television directed them to get a virgin’s dead body in addition to GHC5,000.00 for the money rituals.

The police said the teenagers, who lived in the same community with the deceased, lured him from his home to a nearby uncompleted building where Kini, allegedly hit the back of his neck with a wooden handle of pickaxe.

The police said Nyarko also allegedly hit the victim with a cement block, killing him instantly.

The two were arrested and remanded by the Ofankor District Court to come back to court on April 20, 2021.

DSP Juliana Obeng, PRO of the CID confirmed to the media.

More articles:

Prof. Gyampo On Why The Teen Killers Should Not Be Blamed…
Published by: Peace fm Online – April 10, 2021

Source: “There’s nothing like spiritual money-doubling, anybody who promises that is fraudster” – Kwaku Bonsam exposes fake spiritualists
Published by: GH Base, Journalist Albert – April 10, 2021

APRIL 9, 2021:

Kasoa ritual killing: Teenagers contacted me for ‘pocket no dry’ charm – Priestess reveals
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 9, 2021

Charity Mensah, the traditional priestess who was arrested in connection with the murder of 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah has revealed that the two teenagers currently in police custody for their alleged involvement in ritual killing contacted her on phone to be perpetually rich.

She said the two boys, who were only in touch with her via phone, requested for “pocket no dry” charm. 

Charity Mensah, made this known during police interrogation after her arrest earlier this week. 

She was arrested alongside her errand boy, Desmond Nii Adjei, at Amanase near Suhum in the Eastern Region. 

Citi News’ Anass Seidu said during interrogation, she did not say whether she demanded a human body for the alleged rituals. 

“What they [teenagers] wanted was “pocket no dry” charm so that they will never lack money in their lives. According to information we [Citi News] picked up from the interrogations, she [priestess] told the boys that she could do it for them. There have been several phone interactions between one of the boys and the traditional priestess and the police have in their possession phone records of their conversations.” 

“She is yet to confirm to the police that she directed them to bring human parts or a human being for the ritual,” Anass Seidu said. 

The two teenagers still in police custody over the killing –Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini –have also alleged that the priestess was aware of the killing and went ahead to instruct them to bury the body of the deceased. 

During interrogations, they said the priestess assured them that she will visit the place later at night with some aides to collect the body of the deceased for the ritual. 

Charity Mensah is yet to confirm or deny that allegation. 

Meanwhile, the priestess said to be a Beninois and a 2-week-old nursing mother has been granted bail. 

Her Ghanaian husband and herbalist is reported to have fled with their baby. 

Priestess’ shrine nearly razed

But for the timely intervention of the Police in Suhum, residents of Amanase would have burnt down a shrine believed to be for Charity Mensah. 

Angry residents led by the regent of Amanase gathered at the shrine on Friday morning in protest ready to damage the shrine. 

This was their way of expressing their anger at the priestesses who they say has tarnished the image of the community after she was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the suspected ritual killing last week. 

The regent of Amanase, Osabarima Obengfo Addo Agyekum, issued a three-day ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police and the police service to furnish them with updates of the arrest made. 

“It is only now that we’ve understood the gravity of their activities to the extent of taking a life in the name of giving money to the youth for that matter.” 

The 11-year-old boy, Ishmael Mensah, was buried yesterday, April 8, 2021, after he was allegedly killed by his two teenage friends at Atia Coca Cola in the Ga South Municipality. 

The two teenagers, Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini, were earlier arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command following the killing. 

Earlier reports suggested that the incident occurred at Kasoa, but local authorities clarified that the area is located within Bortionor Ngleshie Amanfro in the Ga South municipality.

More articles:

Kasoa ritual murder: Juju woman to face court today
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 9, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: Amanase residents attempt burning juju woman’s shrine
Published by: Ghana Web – April 9, 2021

The angry residents stormed the shrine on Friday morning

Kasoa ritual killing: Police stop Amanase residents form burning shrine of arrested priestess
Published. by: Modern Ghana – April 9, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: This is a moment of national reflection on our value system – Oppong-Nkrumah
Published by: Ghana Web – April 9, 2021

Be circumspect in your reportage on crime in Kasoa – Media urged
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 9, 2021

Kasoa Ritual Killing: Blame parents first – Ras Mubarak
Published by: Ghana Web – April 9, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing: traditional priestess granted bail
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 9, 2021

Ms Charity Mensah, a traditional priestess who was arrested in connection with a recent alleged ritual killing that has received widespread condemnation has been granted bail.

The suspect was arrested alongside her errand boy, Desmond Nii Adjei, at Amanase near Suhum in the Eastern Region on April 7, 2021. 

Charity Mensah was granted bail due to her condition as a nursing mother. 

She is expected to regularly present herself to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to assist in investigations. 

During interrogations, it emerged that she was in touch with one of the two teenagers arrested by the Kasoa Police last Saturday. 

Citi News’ Anass Seidu said although the priestess and the teenagers had never physically met, she recalls that they had contacted her to get a charm that will make them perpetually rich. 

It is unclear whether she gave the directive for someone to be killed as a ritual to make the charm possible but the teenage suspects alleged that she gave them the express instruction and even assured them that she would come with her aides to exhume the body of the deceased later that night after they had killed him for the ritual. 

Police are still investigating the matter and say the traditional priestess will soon be arraigned. ‘Ritual killing’

Two teenagers, Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini were earlier arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command for allegedly killing 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah at Atia Coca Cola in the Ga South municipality. 

Some eyewitnesses said the suspects allegedly lured the deceased, known as Ishmael Mensah by his peers, into an uncompleted building and smashed his head with a club and cement blocks killing him instantly. 

They subsequently buried him in the building.

Police say the suspects planned to recover the body at midnight for the supposed rituals. 

The two suspects were remanded to police custody on their first appearance in court on April 6, 2021. 

They are to reappear in court on April 20, 2021.

More articles:

Government must treat ‘quick money’ ritual as a national security threat – Ghana Catholic Bishops 
Published by: My Joy Online, Arna Cromwell – April 9, 2021

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has raised concern about the steady increase of some persons killing for ‘quick money’ rituals in the country.

The GCBC in a statement on Thursday called on government to treat the matter as a national security threat.

This comes after two teenage boys were remanded into police custody for allegedly killing a 10-year-old.

The suspects, Felix Nyarko, 16, and Nicholas Kini, 18, are alleged to have gruesomely murdered Ishmael Mensah Abdallah with the intention of using his body parts for rituals.

Thus, speaking on Joy FM’s Newsnite Thursday, GCBC’s Vice President Archbishop Philip Naameh who was of the view that the media played a role in influencing the teenagers said content of the media must be censored.

According to the Most Reverend Father Naameh, the adolescents must not be exposed to certain information at their age since it only heightens their curiosity.

“We need to protect our youth from certain things. So some of what the media carries out there should be censored for the youth. Because if things like ‘how people can come by quick money’ is put out there they would want to experiment it.

“And this means we have not taken enough precaution to evaluate what we are feeding to the minds of our young people [to a level that] they think about the possibility of killing someone in order to come by wealth is wrong,” he said.

Indicating what could be done to resolve this ‘national security threat’, the Archbishop called for the evaluation of religious leaders in the country.

He stated certain information by the ministers whether; Christain, Islamic or traditionalists can influence the youth into committing crimes.

“Religious ministers, whether they are Islamic, Christian or any other religion especially these days when people are declaring themselves to have a certain rank within the line of the religious Association.

“All that should be looked into, we cannot just throw anything out in the air and expert that our youth will not want to follow up on that,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) says the Kasoa murder incident involving two teenagers goes beyond being a national security threat.

In his view, Ghana as a country needs to redefine its values, principles and ethics to prevent a reoccurrence of the act.

APRIL 8, 2021:

Boy killed in Kasoa ritual murder buried
Published by: My Joy Online, Kenneth Awotwe Darko – April 8, 2021

Screenshot. To watch the video ‘What really happened at the burial of the 10-year boy at Kasoa will shock you’ click here

Stop exposing faces of teenage murder suspects – Child Rights International to media
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Child Rights International has issued a caution against the exposure of details and images of the teenagers alleged to have killed and buried a 10-year-old at Lamptey Mills, a suburb of Kasoa in the Central Region.

The organization in a reminder said such actions are against the sections of the Juvenile Justice Act that protects the rights of juvenile offenders. 

While expressing regret over the incident, Child Rights International said publications that expose the image and identity of the deceased and the suspects are unethical and does not protect their privacy and dignity. 

“Teenagers and victims are being displayed on various media platforms and this is against the Juvenile Justice Act. It is the duty of the media to treat this issue with all seriousness, considering the teenagers involved. Although some people may not see anything wrong, it is not lawful to publicly parade and expose the identity and pictures of the two teenagers,” it said in a statement.

Child Rights International thus urged the public to be circumspect in dealing with the issue and allow the law to take its course without further exposing the teenage suspects to potential danger. 

Read the full statement below:

Child Rights International has expressed dismay in the murder of a 10-year-old boy by two teenagers in Kasoa, a suburb of Central Region. The organisation, which is committed to the inherent dignity of every child, condemns the act and expresses its condolence to the family of the murdered boy. 

However, as a child-centred organisation, the reportage from the media is unethical and does not protect their privacy and dignity, the victim and the two suspects are teenagers and therefore must be protected and handled lawfully. 

Section 3 (2) & (3) of the Juvenile Justice Act states that: (2) A person shall not in the course of arrest, investigation or trial of an offence connected with a juvenile, or at any other stage of the cause or matter, release any information for publication that may lead to the identification of the juvenile. 

In (3); Any person who contravenes subsection (2) commits an offence and is liable on a summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 250 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or to both. 

In view of the above, the teenagers and victims are being displayed on various media platforms and this is against the Juvenile Justice Act. It is the duty of the media to treat this issue with all seriousness, considering the teenagers involved. Although some people may not see anything wrong, it is not lawful to publicly parade and expose the identity and pictures of the two teenagers. 

We understand the public is upset, judging how the two teenagers planned and carried out the act. Notwithstanding, we should try and protect their identity, bearing in mind that any public exposure of the teenagers could also put them in danger. 

We are, hereby, appealing to the media and relevant stakeholders to stop displaying the identity and pictures of the suspects. We entreat them to allow the law to take its course to avoid any potential danger to the two suspected teenagers. 

‘Ritual murder’

Citi News reported on Saturday that two teenagers, Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini had been arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command for allegedly killing an 11-year-old boy supposedly for money rituals at Lamptey Mills, a suburb of Kasoa. 

Some eyewitnesses said the suspects allegedly lured the deceased, known as Ishmael Mensah by his peers, into an uncompleted building and smashed his head with a club and cement blocks killing him instantly. 

They subsequently buried him in the building.

Police said the suspects planned to recover the body at midnight for the supposed rituals. 

The two suspects were remanded in police custody on their first appearance in court on April 6, 2021. They are to reappear in court on April 20, 2021.

Media reportage on Kasoa ritual murder unethical – Child Rights International
Published by:

Another article focusing on the protection of the rights of children: 

Media reportage on Kasoa ritual murder unethical – Child Rights International
Published by: Modern Ghana, Richard Abayeta Abugre – April 8, 2021

Child Rights International (CRI) has lashed out at the media over what it describes as “unethical” reportage on the teenagers that allegedly killed and buried a 10-year-old at Lamptey Mills in Kasoa of the Central Region.

According to CRI, the media exposure of the details and images of the teenagers is a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act which protects the rights of juvenile offenders. 

The organisation insists that “as a child-centred organisation, the reportage from the media is unethical and does not protect their privacy and dignity, the victim and the two suspects are teenagers and therefore must be protected and handled lawfully.” 

Backing its position on the law, the organisation cites Section 3 (2) and (3) of the Juvenile Justice Act which states that; 

(2) A person shall not in the course of arrest, investigation or trial of an offence connected with a juvenile, or at any other stage of the cause or matter, release any information for publication that may lead to the identification of the juvenile. 

(3) Any person who contravenes subsection (2) commits an offence and is liable on a summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 250 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or to both. 

Though the organisation acknowledges the public is upset over the matter but displaying their identity on the media is against their privacy and dignity. They are therefore calling on the media to exercise discretion on the matter that has the potential to put the teenagers in danger. 

“In view of the above, the teenagers and victims are being displayed on various media platforms and this is against the Juvenile Justice Act. It is the duty of the media to treat this issue with all seriousness, considering the teenagers involved. Although some people may not see anything wrong, it is not lawful to publicly parade and expose the identity and pictures of the two teenagers. 

“We understand the public is upset, judging how the two teenagers planned and carried out the act. Notwithstanding, we should try and protect their identity, bearing in mind that any public exposure of the teenagers could also put them in danger”, the organisation adds.

More articles:

Kasoa ‘Money Ritual’ Murder: Monitor The Behaviour Of Your Children. – Dr. Benjamin Otchere-Ankrah Advises Parents
Published by: Peace fm Online – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ‘ritual’ murder: Poor parenting, negligence major cause – Adib Saani
Published by: Pulse, Ghana – April 8, 2021

Kasoa Ritual Killing: We must teach our children that hard work pays – Adwoa Safo
Published by: GH Base, Nana Yaw – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: Gender Ministry to absorb accused into Juvenile Correctional Centres
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Kasoa Money Ritual Murder: BoG Has A Responsibility To Stop Money Doublers – Sam Pyne
Published by: Peace fm Online – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual Murder: Police Counselling Unit interacts with deceased family
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: Female spiritualist arrested
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Investigations must be swift – Kabila on Kasoa ‘money ritual’ murder
Published by: Ghana Web – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: ‘A so-called Christian nation!’ – Apaak blames NMC, NCA
Published by: Ghana Web – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing: Citi FM/Citi TV boss calls for stiffer regulation of media space
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing smacks of poor economic condition in Ghana – Ashaiman MP to Akufo-Addo
Published by: GH Gossip, Juno Jonson – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual killing smacks of poor economic condition in Ghana – Ashaiman MP to Akufo-Addo
Includes his full statement: Campaign against money ritual adverts on our TV station
Published by: Ghana Web – April 8, 2021

Kasoa Ritual Killing: My Grandson Is A Thief, He Once Stole $10,000 From His Employer And Got Arrested – Grandfather Reveals
Published by: GH Gossip, Juno Jonson – April 8, 2021

Don’t let money make you accept money ritual ads – GPCC to media
The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC), in a statement issued on behalf of the National Executive Council by General Secretary Rev. Emmanuel Teimah Barrigah, has said it learnt with “great shock, the gruesome murder” of a ten-year-old boy by two teenagers for ritual purposes at Kasoa.
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 8, 2021

Kasoa killing: What Kufuor forgot on ‘giving too much exposure to fraudulent people?
Published by: Ghana Web – April 8, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: ‘Very poor dilapidated mallams’ advertise riches on TV – Ransford Gyampo jabs
Published by: Ghana Web – April 8, 2021

Murdered boy in Kasoa ritual killing to be buried on Thursday
Published by: My Joy Online – April 8, 2021

Kasoa Murder: Ghana police arrest witch doctor wey direct two teenagers to kill virgin for ritual money
Published by: BBC – April 8, 2021

APRIL 7, 2021:

Liberal Party of Ghana petitions IGP against ‘money ritualists’
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Fetish priestess arrested in connection with Kasoa boy killing
Published by: Graphic Online, Shirley Asiedu-Addo – April 7, 2021

Poverty is The Reason’- Lydia Forson On Ritual Killing
Published by: GH Gossip, GABS – April 7, 2021

It’s a lazy investigation to blame Kasoa ritual murder on TV spiritualists – NMC Chairman
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

GJA vows to sanction ‘bad’ media houses flouting ethics of journalism
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: NMC calls for stricter regulation of media
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual killings: Politicians accessories to such crimes – Clement Apaak
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: The NMC & NCA should take the blame – Clement Apaak
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Ritual Murder: Media must stop giving platforms to fraudulent people – Kufuor
Published by: Pulse, Ghana, Emmanuel Ayamga – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: Stop giving exposure to fraudsters – Kufuor tells media houses
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: NMC calls for stricter regulation of media
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 7, 2021

It’s a lazy investigation to blame Kasoa ritual murder on TV spiritualists – NMC Chairman
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Blaming spiritualists on TV for Kasoa ritual murder is lazy approach – NMC Chairman
Published by: Pulse, Ghana, Emmanuel Ayamga – April 7, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: ‘We need a cultural revolution’ – Prof Kofi Agyekum asserts
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, ffrey Mensah2021

Kasoa Ritual Murder: Photo Of 10-Year-Old Killed By Sakawa Boys Pops Up; Massive Tears Flow
Published by: Yen, Jeffrey Mensah – April 7, 2021

We must teach our children that hardwork pays – Adwoa Safo on murder of 10-year-old for money … 
Published by: My Joy Online –  April 7, 2021

Kasoa murder: My brother was also killed for money rituals – Comedian Waris
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

Kasoa murder: My brother was also killed for money rituals – Comedian Waris
Published by: Ghana Web – April 7, 2021

My brother was a victim of ‘sakawa’ killing – Waris cries in video as he speaks about Kasoa case
Published by: Yen, Edwin Lampley – April 7, 2021

Myjoyonline.com
Teenagers who allegedly killed 10-year-old for rituals remanded into police custody · I was haunted by my wife’s ghost to confess killing her – Suspect … April 7 2021

Myjoyonline.com
It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the death of a 10-year-old boy at Kasoa who was allegedly brutally murdered for ritual purposes. My heartfelt … April 7, 2021

APRIL 6, 2021:

Kasoa: I will take the law into my hands if justice is delayed – Father of murdered 10-year-old boy
Published by: Yen, Ghana – April 6, 2021

We Must Question How Under-40 Politicians Got Cantonments, Airport, E. Legon Mansions…
Published by: Peace fm Online – April 6, 2021

Alleged ritual murder of teenager: GPA urges introduction of mental health education in pre-tertiary institutions
Published by: Ghana Web – April 6, 2021

Kasoa Killing: Court To Determine Fate Of Kasoa Teenage Killers Today
Publisged by: GH Gossip, Ghana, Kello – April 6, 2021

Expedite probes into alleged ritual killing – Adwoa Safo to police
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 6, 2021

Stop Blaming ‘Religion’; This Is ‘Bare-Faced Crime’ – Kwesi Pratt On 10-Year Old Pupil’s Murder At Kasoa
Published by: Peace fm Online, Ghana _ April 6, 2021

Age is a determinant factor in the alleged Kasoa ‘ritual murder’ – Bright Appiah
Published by: Ghana Web – April 6, 2021

Court remands Kasoa teenage ‘ritual money’ murder suspects
Published by: Graphic Online, Ghana, Emmanuel Bonney – April 6, 2021 

Kasoa murder: Ghana police charge teenagers wey kill 11 year-old boy after dem see ‘mallam’ advert on TV to court
Published by: BBC – April 6, 2021

Kasoa teen ‘killers’ got idea from TV ritualists; first planned kidnapping boy for GH¢5K ransom – Police
Published by: Ghana Web – April 6, 2021

Bright Appiah proposes better regulation in media to prevent ritual murder
Published by; Modern Ghana – April 6, 2021

Teenage Killers Saga: The NMC & NCA Should Take The Blame – Apaak
Published by: Peace fm Online, Ghana – April 6, 2021

TV content responsible for Kasoa ritual killing – Socrate Safo
Published by: Ghana Web – April 6, 2021

Stop Money Rituals On TV Now – Ghanaians campaign
Published by: GH Base, Ghana, Journalist Albert – April 6, 2021

‘Our society is sick’ – Kwesi Pratt fumes over Kasoa killing
Published by: Ghana Web – April 6, 2021

Kasoa ritual murder: Teenagers were self-motivated by watching spiritualist on TV – Police
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 6, 2021

Kasoa Ritual Killing: Teenagers were lured and deceived by ritualist on TV – Police provide exclusive information in court
Published by: GH Base, Ghana, Journalist Albert – April 5, 2021

The police prosecutor in the Kasoa ritual killing case says the two suspects who allegedly killed 10-year-old Ishmael Mensah were lured and deceived after watching a spiritualist on TV.

According to the facts of the case presented by the prosecutor, Inspector Japhet Agyeman, one of the suspects, Felix Nyarko, was moved by the claims of a spiritualist he watched on television on how he could make people instant millionaires.

He discussed it with his friend, Nicholas Kini, the second suspect, who said he also knows another spiritualist in the Volta Region who could help them.

After contacting the spiritualist, they were instructed to provide a human being and an amount of GH¢ 5,000 for rituals to be performed to make them rich.

APRIL 5, 2021:

Kasoa ritual killing: Poverty is the root cause – Bishop Salifu Amoako
Published by: Ghana Web – April 5, 2021

Manasseh Azure names ‘accomplices’ of Kasoa teenage murderers
Published by: Ghana Web – April 5, 2021

“Protect us, we are living in fear” – Kasoa residents cry to police
Published by: Pulse Ghana, Andreas Kamasah – April 5, 2021 

‘Blame Pastors Too’- Da Hammer On Ritual Killings
Published by: GH Gossip, Gabs – April 5, 2021

Blame social media influence for Kasoa teenagers’ gruesome murder of 10-year-old for money rituals – Da Hammer
Published by: GH Base, Ghana, Nana Yaw – April 5, 2021

Kasoa Sakawa Murder: Father of one of the arrested boys speaks (video)
Published by: GH Page, Ghana, Nazir Hamzah – April 5, 2021

April 4, 2021:

Ritual killing by Kasoa teenagers reflects Ghanaians’ glorification of unexplained wealth – Kwaku Azar
Published by: Ghana Web – April 4, 2021

Source: Police arrest 2 teenagers over an alleged ritual killing at Kasoa
Published by: Pulse Ghana – April 4, 2021

Two Kasoa teenagers arrested for murdering a 10-year-old, severing ear for rituals
Published by: Ghana Web – April 4, 2021

Kasoa: Two teenagers arrested over alleged ritual murder of 10-year-old
Published by: Modern Ghana – April 4, 2021

Kasoa Murder: How Ghana teenagers allegedly kill 11 year old boy wit cement block, bury am for evening rituals
Published by: BBC – April 4, 2021

Ghana Pentecostals come to the defense of accused witches

In Ghana, superstition is widespread, and Ghana is not the only SSA country where people firmly believe in the power of witches, witchdoctors, and witchcraft. The fear which many people have for those perceived to be witches may lead to abnormal reactions, as the case below illustrates. A woman was beaten to death just because she was thought to be a witch and accused of causing irregular rain.

Education is the only effective means to fight superstition. Meanwhile the rule of law must apply. A government and society cannot tolerate the law of the jungle.

The article presented below is only part of the original article. Members only have access to the full article published by the online news site Christianity Today. See the original link below. (Webmaster FVDK)

Ghana Pentecostals Come to the Defense of Accused Witches

Published: November 23, 2020
By: Christianity Today, Ghana – Daniel Silliman and Griffin Paul Jackson  

An old woman was killed when she refused to confess to causing irregular rain. Christians had to speak up. 

Pentecostals everywhere sing about the power of Jesus’ name. But in Ghana, they sing specifically that his name is powerful against witches.

More than 90 percent of Ghanaian Christians believe witchcraft is a problem in the country, and more than half have visited a Pentecostal prayer camp to ask for deliverance from witches and demons, according to a study by Opoku Onyinah, theologian and past president of the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). The Spirit-empowered churches in the West African country don’t take the issue of witches lightly.

But this summer, the GPCC decided to speak up for the women who are accused of witchcraft. The Pentecostal group, an umbrella organization of 200 denominations and parachurches, called for new laws and a national conversation about how to better take care of the more than 2,000 widows who have been exiled over allegations of working with demons.

The churches decided to make a statement after an elderly Muslim woman in a rural village was beaten to death when she refused to confess to witchcraft. Akua Denteh was accused of causing irregular rain, starting fires, and killing children with supernatural powers. A video of her violent death—as a crowd stood watching—was shared widely around the country, and Christian leaders decided they could no longer be silent.

“The elderly, weak and vulnerable must be targeted for the care and protection of our society,” the GPCC statement said. “We must, at all cost, seek justice for this 90-year-old woman and all those who have suffered such atrocities in the past.”

Onyinah, speaking on a popular radio program, called for laws controlling witch hunts and witch identifications. He added a specific ….. the rest of the article is available for ‘members-only’ (follow the link below)

Source: Ghana Pentecostals Come to the Defense of Accused Witches

Ghana: women accused of witchcraft find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Ghana has a fairly good reputation, both on the African continent and beyond. This positive reputation mainly applies to the state of the economy and the country’s political affairs. (This has not always been the case. Notably in the 1970s Ghana offered a very different outlook. It is thanks to flight-lieutenant-turned-president Jerry J. Rawlings – and the two Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), World Bank and the IMF – that Ghana nowadays is what it is).
However, superstition is rampant in the country. I drew attention to it at earlier occasions. See my posting on the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, both fighting infanticide in Ghana as well as Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria (June 4, 2018), and the activities of Seth Kwame Boateng and Jospeh Asakibeem (June 23, 2018), also fighting ritual baby killing in this West African country.

The article below treats the fate of women who are accused of witchcraft, sometimes triggered by jealousy and criminal intentions, sometimes based on superstition and a belief in the supernatural powers which the victims of the repression and mob justice are supposed to possess. Fortunately, the women are being rescued  by a group of benevolent nuns, but shouldn’t it be better if these age-old practices and belief in witchcraft cease to exist? (webmaster FVDK).

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Published: April 13, 2020
By: Global Sisters report – Doreen Ajiambo

GUSHEGU, GHANA — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other’s misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to “witch camps” that serve as havens.

“When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me,” Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. “My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch.”

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

“If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft,” said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. “That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children.”

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu “witch camp,” located in the north of the country.

One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

“I can’t believe I’m alive today,” she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. “I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!”

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

“It’s heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities,” she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. “They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them.”

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands’ wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

“My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused,” she said, adding that her husband’s relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. “They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties.”

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallupsurveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

Though both men and women can be accused of witchcraft, the vast majority are women. Men are considered to have a strong socio-political base and are therefore better able to successfully contest the accusations leveled against them, knowledgeable observers say.

The witch camps are unique to northern Ghana. However, the West African nation shares with other African countries an endemic belief in witchcraft, with drought, death, poor harvest, illness and other natural disasters blamed on black magic.

Screenshot of the GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana (credit: Doreen Ajiambo). Click on the picture in the original article (see source below) to watch the video.

The situation has prompted religious sisters in this part of the country to provide residential shelter for the women and children shunned by relatives. Anosike depends on supporters to build homes at the camp and she pleads for food, clothing, bedding and other necessities from neighbors and passers-by.

“I actually go out every morning to beg for food for these women to ensure they have something to eat,” said Anosike. “The bishop also helps us very much, especially with food and money to run the camp. These women also survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms.”

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

“The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people’s lives,” said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. “Witchcraft is in people’s minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it’s due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned.”

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society’s expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

“For instance, when a woman accumulates wealth and becomes independent, she deviates from local norms that recognize only men to own wealth, and as such she becomes a target,” said Nzioka. “Sometimes women are targeted by relatives of the husbands in order to inherit their son’s wealth.”

Nato Blenjuo, who has lived at Gushegu camp for the last two decades, explained how she escaped death by a whisker after villagers claimed she had used witchcraft to kill her ailing husband. A post-mortem was reportedly held, establishing that her husband died of malaria, she said. Malaria has continued to be the leading cause of death in the country, according to 2018 data of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They really wanted to kill me,” said the 66-year-old widow who lives in one of the huts made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. “My stepson led other irate villagers with machetes to attack me at night. They set my house on fire, but I was lucky to escape with my three children into a nearby bush and I made my way to this camp.”

Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Sr. Monica Yahaya said that women are seen as the most vulnerable members of the population and are therefore often labeled as witches because of their inability to contest the accusations. This explains why there are no men at the camps and women are predominantly the victims, she said.

“The problem here is that relatives cannot allow widows to inherit their husband’s possessions,” said Yahaya, who works with Anosike at Gushegu camp. “They will definitely look for a reason to accuse them and then send them away from their homes in order to take properties left by their dead husbands. Without a husband, these women really have no way to defend themselves after such an accusation.”

Osei Ekow, an elder, denies that greed is the impetus behind calling someone a witch. He says the villagers rely on the traditional slain chicken ritual to determine whether a woman is a witch.

“That’s our culture, and we must respect it,” said Ekow, 75, who says he has witnessed tens of thousands of widows being sent away from their homes. “There’s no way that ritual can be wrong. These women taking refuge at the camps are all witches because it was culturally confirmed.”

The government has on several occasions tried in vain to close down the camps in a bid to discourage attacks on women. Officials contend the very existence of witch camps encourages people to levy allegations of witchcraft knowing that the women they accuse will find refuge at the camps.

“People should stop accusing and harassing innocent women of witchcraft,” said Issah Mahmudu, a government official who oversees the Legal Aid Department in northern Ghana. “We want to encourage suspected witches and wizards who have been harassed to report to the police so that investigations begin. The law protects every citizen.”

Mahmudu said the incidents of witchcraft accusations have recently declined but encouraged local chiefs to dispel outdated cultural practices that are injurious to others.

“These women are vulnerable, that’s the reason they are attacked,” he said. “The chiefs should arrest any person committing offenses that are recognized under the law. The laws of this country condemn dehumanizing the fundamental human rights of all citizens.”

Anosike and other sisters are trying to shape the way people think about witchcraft. They conduct weekly seminars in various villages to campaign against ongoing violence on women, educate the public about the myths that surround witchcraft, rehabilitate and reintegrate women into their homes, and call for an end to the persecution of alleged witches and to superstition.

“Cases of women being chased away from their homes have of late been reduced as a result of the ongoing campaign, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We are going to continue educating people in the villages to ensure women live freely without fear of their rights being abused due to the belief in witchcraft.”

However, victims of the attacks call for more to be done.

“I have never been a witch, I don’t know how witchcraft works,” said Salamatu. “Men should treat us with dignity because we are all human beings created in the image of God.”

A child stands outside her mother’s hut house at Gushegu camp. Her mother was accused of killing her husband. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Source: Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters

Districts in Northern Ghana (in the northeast: Gushiegu District)

Ghana: Sunyani traditional authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers

The recent outcry of the Sunyani traditional authorities leads to mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am glad with their protest against the rituals killings that plague the Brong Ahafo Region and terrorize the people of Sunyani and its environs. However, even though the declaration of war against ritual killers was wrapped in ritual and traditional rites invoking the powers of the gods and ancestors, it is also a token of mistrust in official local and regional security forces who fail to reassure the population by arresting and prosecuting the alleged perpetrators preventing further heinous ritualistic acts, in short, to maintain the rule of law.
On the other hand, it is shameful and painful realizing that ritualistic killings and murders still take place on such a large scale that public demonstration against these criminal practices is warranted. Let’s hope that the traditional authorities thus contribute to tipping the scale and I wish from the bottom of my heart that their demonstration will act as a wake-up call for the official Ghanian authorities to make the region a safe heaven for all of its people, be it children, adults or elderly people (webmaster FVDK).

Sunyani traditional authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers
Published: February 5, 2020
By: Christopher Tetteh – GNA

Source: Sunyani Traditional Authorities declare war on ritual and serial killers

Shocking!…Ritual baby killing in Northern Ghana

On June 4, this year, I drew attention to Spirit Child, a film on infanticide in West Africa, made by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Seamus Mirodan, and I reproduced a related article, published by Al Jazeera. The article, on infanticide in Ghana – and Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria – was a follow-up to a 2013 investigative report of the same journalist and filmmaker, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. The latter and his colleague, Seamus Mirodan, are to be commended for their fight against infanticide.

Fortunately, they are not the only ones who raise there voices against these age-old practices which have no reason to exist in the 21st century. While mentioning the names of others it is not my intention to belittle the activities and achievements of others, who work with them. Recently, I read an article on AfriKids, a non-governmental organization running an orphanage in northern Ghana, in the Upper East Region, in a village called Sirigu, to be more specific. Project manager at AfriKids is Joseph Asakibeem, who was recently awarded the Bond Humanitarian Award 2018 for his work in saving many children who would have been killed due to the gruesome traditional practice of killing disabled children and so-called ‘spirit childs’. More on Afrikids and its work in my next post.

When reading about the village of Sirigu I remembered an article, written by another outstanding Ghanaian journalist, Seth Kwame Boateng. In 2011 he visited Sirigu and made a breath-taking documentary for Ghana’s Joy 99.7 FM’s Hotline. Below the transcript.
Seth Kwame Boateng was named ‘journalist of the month‘ in July 2017 and can boast of an impressive list of awards and documentaries. Read here what he wrote in 2011 on infanticide in Northern Ghana. (webmaster FVDK)

SHOCKING!…Ritual baby killing in Northern Ghana

Originally published on April 1, 2011
by Seth Kwame Boateng

Joy FM reporter Seth Kwame Boateng visits an orphanage in the Upper East Region of Ghana called “Sirigu” to uncover the chilling practice of cultural murder; the killing of babies who are born with deformities, or whose birth coincide with a tragic incident in the family, such as the loss of a parent.

Such babies are called spirit children or siri sirigu, and are thought to be bad omen for the community.

Below is a transcription of his documentary for Joy 99.7 FM’s Hotline.
I have come to the Upper East Region on an assignment, a very different assignment. The job has tight time frames. I’m rushing to meet deadlines.

I hear a stranger chatting with a friend on the streets of Bolgatanga. He mentions a Babies’ Home in the area.

The conversation reminds me of a story somebody once told me about this town and a very strange kind of orphanage.

Most children who end up in an orphanage have lost their parents. But in the Sirigu facility in Bolga, the children’s fate is much more tragic. If the child is born with deformities, the child is killed.

The first time I heard this story, I could hardly believe it. I’ve always lived in a community where great merry-making accompanies childbirth, no matter the condition of the baby or the mother.

So at first I didn’t pay too much attention to the story.

{They put the child on the hill and put plenty rocks on the child.}

Since coming to Bolgatanga I feel this story is following me. I see goose pimples all over my body and my eyes are heavy with tears when people tell me the details.

I have a very busy schedule. I tell myself I won’t have time to go to this place of horror. As I reach for my pillow one night to sleep, I can’t help myself. I make a firm resolution to travel to Sirigu the next morning no matter the consequences. It’s as if I have been possessed, I feel so uncomfortable.

I reach a friend at dawn the next day who agrees to take me on his motor bike to Sirigu. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Bolgatanga to Sirigu and it’s not easy. The road is barely passable.
We have done only 10 minutes of the journey, and I have already regretted embarking on this trip. I don’t have a helmet. In the side mirror, I see my hair color has turned brown as if I’ve applied a dye.
I don’t have any protective cloth, so I’m shivering as if I’ve been beaten by heavy rain as I sit behind my friend on his bike.
But the story of those babies and a drive to understand the dark side of cultural practice keeps me going.

After 45 minutes of a bone-shaking journey, we finally reach Sirigu.

{Some come healthy, some come sick, some almost dying.}

At the Mother of Mercy Babies Home in Sirigu a Catholic Sister, a caretaker and a community leader are in front of the fading, brown iron gate of the home to welcome us. I look at the children and wonder what stories they would tell if they could find the words and exchange it with me. There are 16 babies in this 26-year-old home and the youngest is only two months old.

In an orphanage in Sirigu, in Ghana’s Upper East region. This Catholic Sister has dedicated her life to protecting babies and children. Now in 2018 the orphanage is being run by Afrikids.

The caretakers tell me the babies in the home are not considered ‘real’ human beings by their families. They have been cast out as evil spirits… either because they were born physically deformed or their mothers died during childbirth. And, according to an ancient cultural practice that survives in this area the babies must die to save the families from evil.

In some situations there were strange events at the time of their birth. All of the children except one, are motherless.

The caretaker, Sister Innocentia Depor tells me how some of the children are rescued and arrive on their doorstep.

{Because of the education, family members of the babies bring them themselves. The moment they get to know that the child can be termed a spirit child, they rush them here. So come very hefty, sick and weak.}

I decide to go to the nearby town to delve deeper into this story. Perhaps I will find some fathers or family members.

I meet the assemblyman for the area, Azokulgu Azotipelba, and he makes a shocking admission.

{it happened within our house, our family and within our community so I have witnessed it several times. And when that type of child dies, they don’t use a proper thing to carry him for the burial, they will take a rough mat and put the child there and hold it just like anything and go and throw it away. They normally don’t take the baby to the hill alive. They will use something like a stone, stick, or a cutlass to hit the child and kill him}

Once again, my entire body is shaking. My mouth is wide open and I’m close to tears as I visualize the events the Assemblyman is describing.

Trying to understand innocent blood being shed in the name of culture, I talk with an elder in the town, John Ayamaga. He takes time as he explains.

{when you give birth and the mother dies instantly, the myth is that it is the baby that has killed the mother so the child must also go so when there is no intervention, the baby is sent to the hill there for that rituals. If the child is born with some deformities either with some teeth or some of the hair being white, that child is termed a spirit child and that baby is not accepted in that community. We have a very big hill; they take them there and put a stone on that spirit child so that it will not get up again. The family will not fail to do that because they think if that baby has killed the mother, it can kill the rest of the family.}

I listen carefully to the stories of the people who have seen this horror first hand. I try to put myself in their shoes, to understand the fear and ignorance that leads to the slaughter of innocent children.

As I watch the kids of the Sirigu orphanage playing, I think of those who didn’t make here… Lying in shallow graves under a pile of stones on the hills in the distance.

Then a breeze blows through the window and this place of safety feels vulnerable. What if frightened family members hunted down these kids who have found refuge here. The assemblyman Azokulgu Azotipelba says this frightening possibility exists.

{At times the children will grow up to 10 or 15 years and they will still manage and go and kill that particular child. If a baby like this escape, the whole family and the entire community will come out and go and search and kill that baby. Because it is a culture for that community and the whole community believes that whatever the soothsayer says is for all so they have no reason to defy it.}

But despite these dangers the children will be discharged when they are three years old, according to the caretaker, sister Innocentia.

And, the local community has started taking advantage of the facility, bringing children who are not endangered but merely because they cannot afford to raise them.

{It was before that they don’t want the children that they always want to kill. But now with the education, they want their children but how to take care of them, very tiny, they prefer to bring the children here so that after three years when they can eat anything then they come for their child. When they bring the babies we always tell them not to come and throw the babies here like that. They should always visit them. And when they are bringing the babies, here, each child with a caretaker so that when the baby is discharged, he will have somebody he is familiar with. He will not feel like a stranger in somebody’s house.}

Poor people from the surrounding villages, outside Sirigu, have heard about the home and now bring their babies here because they are struggling to make ends meet. One child was recently brought from Bongo, a town in the Upper East Region. Little Marilyn as they’ve named her is only a month old but motherless. She is fortunate to have been spotted and saved by Hajia Mary Issaka, a midwife in-charge of the Anafubisi health center.

{Last week Friday we went to a community to run a clinic then we saw a pregnant woman holding this baby at the outreach point then we ask of the mother and she said the mother died at Bolga hospital. We ask what they were given and they told us that some people came to the funeral and donated some money and bought some lactogen and they are giving to the baby. So when we saw her, we knew that they cannot take care of the baby in the house so I sent this nurse to go the house and meet the community members and speak to the people about this orphanage. If they agree, we will arrange and bring the baby to Sirigu and they agreed.}

But little Marilyn is one of the more fortunate.

Everywhere I go in this town people have stories about baby killing that make my blood run cold.

{there are certain things they don’t even want to mention it. There was a community like that when a woman died after delivery and they gave the baby to another woman who died when there was an outbreak of CSM. And they are saying that it is the baby that has killed both the mother and the caretaker so they brought the baby out and knock the child on the tree and it died. So some of these things they are silent}.

The services of the Sirigu home is made possible by donations from foreign NGO’s like Friends of African Babies (FAB), based in the region.

Mary Kaglan is from Ireland and a member of the NGO. She tells me what motivated her organisation help the home.

{I think it was to see these sisters working so hard looking after so many babies thus the least we could do as we live in the area and that any help we could give them would be a bonus. The sisters of course take very good care of the babies so it is not that the case that the babies are looking after. But I think it is that people would be aware there is a home in Sirigu so people can visit and assist with the little they have}

But even with the assistance of the FAB NGO, sister Innocentia Apor and the staff here struggle to raise these children.

{The NHIS does not cover all the sickness so when you have a child that sickness surpasses the national insurance, it is difficult and to take a child like this, you would have to start the child with artificial food and all these are very costly. They are all the challenges. Right now we have one who has hydrocephalus and if it had not been FAB, it would have been difficult for us to take care of him. So medical wise it is a challenge}

The world is full of orphanages. And, I’ve done my fair share of stories about pain and suffering.

But the faces of the children of this place and the silent cries of the ones buried on the hill will remain with me for a long time to come.

Seth Kwame Boateng; for hotline in Sirigu.

Source: Modern Ghana, April 1, 2011

Upper East Region – Ghana

Spirit Child: Ritual Killings in Ghana

Years ago, I drafted an article on infanticide in Benin for the present website on ritual killings in Africa. I never published it, because I hesitated. Thought it wasn’t ready yet. I may publish it one of these days.

This morning I ran into the article below on infanticide in Ghana – and Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria – and who knows in which other African countries this age-old practice occurs. The article is a follow-up to a 2013 investigative report of the same journalist and filmmaker, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. He fights a honorable battle against these murders, since we’re talking about the murdering of children.

Infanticide is an age-old horrible practice, but we’re living in the 21st c. and it’s absolutely necessary that governments take action in this respect. People are afraid to speak about infanticide, as Anas Aremeyaw Anas writes, since they fear the consequences of revealing a secret: death.

Witchcraft, the fear of witchcraft, superstition and ritual killings are closely related. Education can end this nexus. And economic development: jobs. It’s a fight against poverty and ignorance.

Moreover, people have the right to live without fear. It’s a human right.
(webmaster FVDK)

Spirit Child: Ritual Killings in Ghana

Published: June 3, 2018
Author: Anas Aremeyaw Anas
Published by Aljazeera

WARNING: both original articles (2018; 2013) include a film with graphic images that may be shocking.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas investigates the ritual killings of Ghanaian children deemed to be possessed by evil spirits.

Every year an unknown number of children – most of them disabled in some way – are murdered in northern Ghana because of the belief that they are in some way possessed by evil spirits set on bringing ill fortune to those around them.

The practice is the consequence of ancient traditions and customs and is shaped by poverty and ignorance in remote and often marginalised communities. No one knows the exact number of these ritual deaths across Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and parts of Nigeria, but some believe it could be in the thousands.

For years, NGOs and the Ghanaian authorities have tried advocacy and education in an attempt to eradicate the practice but with only marginal success. Well into the 21st century, Ghana’s so-called spirit children are still being killed because they carry the blame for the misfortunes of everyday life.

In 2013, award-winning Ghanaian investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas set out to track down and expose some of those responsible for the senseless killings – determined to bring them to justice and stop the practice.

Back then, he wrote: “When I first heard about this I could not believe it was happening in my country in the 21st century … The practice originally emerged as a way for poor families to deal with deformed or disabled children that they cannot look after. These families approach village elders known as concoction men and inform them that they suspect their child to be a so-called spirit child.

The concoction man then takes the father of the child to visit a soothsayer who confirms whether or not the child is truly evil, without ever actually laying eyes on them. Once this confirmation has been received, the concoction man brews a poisonous liquid from local roots and herbs and force-feeds it to the child, almost always resulting in death.

Over time, this practice has become a perceived solution to any problems a family might be having at the time of a child’s birth. By blaming the child for sickness in the family, or the father’s inability to find work or provide money to support his dependants, these communities have found an otherworldly explanation for their problems … But infanticide has always been a crime against humanity.”

Now, five years later, Anas, spoke to REWIND about why he doesn’t want to show his identity, the dangers of undercover journalism in Africa, and what has become of the concoction men that killed those children.

“Most African journalists who do investigations have a series of dangers pointing at them. You just have to be yourself and think about how to survive. I came up with the beads that I wear, so people don’t see my face. I’m sure that some of my colleagues, in Nigeria or Malawi have other ways to protect themselves,” Anas told Al Jazeera.

Talking about the threats facing investigative journalists, he said: “Generally, people definitely want to point guns at you or some will try to kidnap you. And most of these things have happened; getting death threats and legal suits is normal, most of my colleagues in the continent suffer that.”

“There is nothing more frustrating than doing a story on someone and then walking on the same streets with that person. It is even more dangerous and that can easily end the life of any journalist.”

“We don’t make stories so that people can just read them and smile in their bedrooms. We make stories that have impact on the society. For me, it is a good story when the bad guy is named, shamed and put in jail … Many people have gone to jail as a result of my work and I’m proud of it.”

Anas also talked about the concoction men that he met during his Spirit Child investigation.

“A legal process was started but they were too old, so at the time that the process could finish, some of them couldn’t even make it to court. But the key thing that happened in that story is that it told the community that whoever you are, when you attempt to do some of these things, you are going behind bars.”

“For the first time, those witch doctors were arrested and put before court. That sends a strong signal to all witch doctors to be careful, that when you are dealing with the life of a child it’s a completely different matter. And we can’t sit down for these children to be killed in the way they are being killed.”

Source: Al Jazeera, June 3, 2018

Related: Spirit Child
By Anas Aremeyaw Anas
Published: January 10, 2013

Every year an unknown number of children – most of them disabled in some way – are murdered in northern Ghana because of the belief that they are in some way possessed by evil spirits set on bringing ill fortune to those around them.

The practice is the consequence of ancient traditions and customs and is shaped by poverty and ignorance in remote and often marginalised communities. But it is still infanticide and no less horrifying than the killing of children anywhere. For years NGOs and the Ghanaian authorities have tried advocacy and education in an attempt to eradicate the practice but with only marginal success. Well into the 21st century, Ghana’s so-called spirit children are still being killed because they carry the blame for the misfortunes of everyday life.

Award-winning Ghanaian investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas is determined to do something to stop this senseless slaughter. In this shocking and remarkable film for People & Power he sets out to track down and identify some of those responsible and to bring them to justice.

Thousands of children have been killed in Ghana because the communities they are born into believe they are evil spirits. When I first heard about this I could not believe it was happening in my country in the 21st century.

The practice originally emerged as a way for poor families to deal with deformed or disabled children that they cannot look after. These families approach village elders known as concoction men and inform them that they suspect their child to be a so-called spirit child. The concoction man then takes the father of the child to visit a soothsayer who confirms whether or not the child is truly evil, without ever actually laying eyes on them.

Once this confirmation has been received, the concoction man brews a poisonous liquid from local roots and herbs and force-feeds it to the child, almost always resulting in death.

Over time, this practice has become a perceived solution to any problems a family might be having at the time of a child’s birth. By blaming the child for sickness in the family, or the father’s inability to find work or provide money to support his dependents, these communities have found an otherworldly explanation for their problems.

In this highly patriarchal society it enables heads of family to pass the blame for their struggles onto someone else. And by branding the child a spirit from outside the family, they can disassociate themselves and feel justified in murdering their own offspring, while telling those around them that now all will be well – the evil presence is gone.

But infanticide has always been a crime against humanity. I believe there is plenty of evidence of infanticide in the history of all human societies and its continued and widespread practice makes a mockery of the democratic credentials of the countries, including mine, where this crime still takes place. Many forms of civic engagement and advocacy have been used in a bid to eradicate this practice in Ghana and other West African nations. Sadly though, the limited efficacy of such techniques is illustrated by the fact that today children are still being killed in this way.

Ready to spill blood in the name of tradition

And sometimes a strong focus on understanding and education when dealing with traditional practices can distance us from the reality of a situation; it can place us in an ivory tower where we fail to engage with the true manner in which those involved are behaving. Far from acting like a man fulfilling a sad but necessary duty, the concoction man I hired to kill my fictitious child for the purposes of this film was excited; his eyes pinned wide with zeal as he went about preparing for the task at hand.

He laughed and joked about his previous experience, telling me about how he had recently killed a 12-year-old girl by tricking her into drinking his concoction and boasting about how effective his methods are. Without knowing the context, any casual observer would surely consider his disposition nothing short of murderous.

While I understand that he was misguided – ready to spill innocent blood in the name of tradition – I also strongly believe that, no matter what the circumstances, where children are being murdered the state must step in to punish those responsible in the same way that the citizens of any developed democracy would expect it to.

That is not to say that some understanding cannot be afforded to the concoction men and the communities that continue to practice these rituals. Unlike those with the benefit of technology who can see a badly developed fetus and terminate it before birth, the mothers whose babies are killed in northern Ghana have no such options.

They may find themselves giving birth to a child only to discover that it is not normal: it will never be accepted and will always be a burden on those around it. In the absence of technology or a refuge for mother and child to escape to, the concoction man is the only solution. As a result, the parents perceive him as a saviour; the only one who can deliver them from enduring further hardship. And the concoction men in turn thrive on the standing and power this affords them in the community.

When we think of slavery or the burning of alleged witches, these crimes against humanity were only eradicated when key actors in government decided to take a stand. By declaring these practices as unacceptable and threatening those who continue to perpetrate them with prosecution, governments have brought about the abolition of centuries-old traditions in a relatively short space of time.

Permitting evil to triumph over good

From northern Ghana, where the spirit child story is set, through Burkina Faso, Benin and parts of Nigeria, countless babies are killed based on age-old cultural beliefs. But despite this, we were unable to find any evidence of previous arrests for these crimes.

During the three weeks that I worked on this story, I came across 10 men who were willing to kill a baby for spiritual reasons. They were easy to find. Yet when I asked a senior police officer why no arrests have been made, his response was: “It is a very difficult thing to do. It’s unfortunate, we have no idea why this is happening, who is behind this and why they have not been arrested.”

My intention is not to suggest that one investigation or police arrest can stop this trend. But in many ways, the practice’s continued existence is a result of the impunity enjoyed by those involved. The fact that the police have never acted in any way to prevent these children being killed is surely a strong incentive for the concoction men to continue their business as usual. Invariably, this type of laisser-faire attitude is what permits evil to triumph over good.

Democracy has no value if it is only limited to occasional ceremonies for power holders. It is worthless if the voiceless are crushed and the perpetrators of atrocities are allowed to continue living their life without suffering any consequences. It certainly cannot exist where freedom and justice, selectively applied, mean that children are killed with impunity.