Okay, the possession of a human head is no proof that a ritual murder has been committed or that the carrier of the head was somehow involved in a ritual murder. Even with blood oozing from the head… well, in that case, it certainly becomes more complicated to deny that an ugly crime has been committed.
Be that as it may, having a human head in its possession clearly indicates that the owner or carrier of the head has something to do with ‘juju’, superstition, and the blief that body parts can help in increasing one’s wealth, health or prestige.
The following plea to end ritual killings focuses on children who are targeted in numerous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Vulnerable, innocent children are mutilated and murdered by ruthless and criminal people who want to increase their wealth, health, power or reputation – by all means. The Nigerian author of this article, which dates from 2016 but could have been written yesterday, OmoTola Omolaya, specifically mentions a number of countries notably Botswana, Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
I don’t know the author’s reasons to limit himself to aforementioned countries. In each and every African country where ritual murders are committed, also children die at the hands of unscrupulous murderers who very often get away with their ugly crimes.
However, I fully agree with his conclusion: African governments need to act!
Warning: the following article contains graphic details which may shock the reader (webmaster FVDK).
It’s time for Africa to protect its children from the web of ritual killings
In 2011, BBC did a documentary on witch craft and ritual killings in Uganda and one of the gory stories was about a three-year old boy found in the outskirts of Uganda lying in a pool of blood. His penis had been cut off by ritualists and he was rushed to the hospital to save his life. While speaking with a BBC correspondent, even though the parents are advocating for the ban of witchcraft in the country, the mother is more concerned about her son’s future. She said, “every time I look at him, I ask myself how his future is going to be as a man without a penis. Also I wonder what the rest of the community is going to look at him with a private part that looks like that of a female.”
Like the little boy, a lot of children have fallen victim to kidnappers and ritual killers. Due to their vulnerability, they are easily abducted on their way to school or heading to fetch water. These children, considered pure, are sacrificed by witch doctors to appease ‘the gods’ and bring a myriad of solutions which include wealth, good health, and fertility among others. Hearts, ears, livers and genitals are considered as key ingredients of the rituals.
Although the BBC documentary was released in 2011, not much has changed in Uganda. Very recently, six cases of mutilation and murder of children were reported by a charity organization during the recent Ugandan elections. The Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a charity that cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice, reported that children were used as good luck sacrifices during this period in order to bring wealth and power. Though Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, did not confirm KCM’s report, he agreed that children had been reported missing in the election period.
This shocking revelations show that it is now unsafe to be a child in Africa. Ritual killings is not peculiar to Uganda, it takes place in other African countries such as Liberia, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. The repeated occurrences of these killings without a penalty is a blatant violation for the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. According to this charter, an individual is entitled to respect for his life and integrity of his person. However, disrespect for a person (children) life thrives in several African country.
Why ritual killings are still prevalent in Africa:
Ritualists are often patronized by the rich and wealthy
In Tanzania, children with albinism are targeted for sacrifices by witch doctors who gets paid by politicians to be successful in their election bids. Also, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law reports that in Swaziland and Liberia, politicians allegedly commission ritual killings to improve their odds in elections. The same pattern obtains in Uganda as well, where the wealthy pay witch doctors in a bid to expand their fortunes. In Ivory Coast, (where the rate of child abduction is so high that the UNICEF had to intervene) there are speculations that ritual killings by corrupt businessmen and politicians used body parts in ceremonies to confer supernatural powers.
Superstitions, culture and religion.
Africa is still entrenched in dogmas, myth and belief in magic. There is still a prevalence of confidence in charms and witch craft which has been handed down since time immemorial. Ritual killings are culturally acceptable in some parts of South Africa, therefore, the practice is not usually reported by community members. Occultism and other forms of religion permit ritual acts to appease the gods, abate misfortune and seek supernatural help. Many also perform these rituals out of fear of unpleasant spiritual consequences if they falter.
The web of culture, religion and superstition often results in an ethical conflict between protection of human rights and respect for the beliefs and practices of other cultures.
Not many have been convicted of crimes associated with ritual killings in Africa. Due to the coat of secrecy surrounding ritual killings, it makes it difficult to hold the responsible parties accountable and liable for their unlawful actions.
A part of the Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations says that the countries should:
Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children
Children are the most vulnerable in any society and it is the duty of leaders all around the world to provide a safe haven for its young. Africa needs to stop neglecting the safety of these innocent children. Its leaders should enact laws that protect them from gruesome murders that cut their lives short even before their prime.
It is time to enforce the African Charter, because although it permits religious practices, it does not favor jeopardizing a human life (under which ritual killings fall). African governments need to hold those responsible for taking human lives accountable. It is time for Africa to protect its children.
Allegedly, another case of ritual murder in Zimbabwe. A 6-year-old girl brutally murdered in Mwenezi, for apparent superstitious reasons. Zimbabwe has not yet recovered from one of its most notorious ritual murder cases in its recent history – the murder of 7-year-old Tapiwa Makore, in Murehwa village, in September 2020, extensively covered on this site – and of the cruel murder of a juvenile in Gokomere, Masvingo last month.
It is difficult to say whether there is in increase in ritualistic activities and murders in Zimbabwe or – also a likely explanation – there is an increased attention of local and regional authorities as well as the press – for this type of crimes and to report actual or suspected incidents. (Webmaster FVDK)
Mwenezi girl (6) killed in suspected ritual murder
In a yet another case of ritual murder, two men from Mwenezi allegedly murdered a six-year-old girl and burnt her body after removing her private parts.
This comes after the dust has hardly settled following the murder of a 7-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore, which was followed by another gruesome murder of a juvenile in Gokomere, Masvingo last month, yet another murder case of a minor has been recorded in Mwenezi.
The suspects, Taruziva Sithole (37) and Shackmore Dube (26), have since appeared in court to answer to murder charges following an incident which happened on the 29th of December, 2020.
The deceased, Irene Sithole, allegedly died after being assaulted by her uncle, Taruziva Sithole, who is said to have carried the body to a nearby bush where Shackmore Dube allegedly cut off the deceased’s private parts.
The two accused allegedly burnt the deceased’s body using firewood and were arrested after villagers reported the matter to Mwenezi police.
Police officers found the deceased’s burnt skull, teeth and ribs at the crime scene.
The two accused persons were remanded in custody to the 14th of January 2021.
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)
Is it possible to something positive in the area of ritualistic killings? Maybe yes, read the following case, reproduced below. In Limpopo province, South Africa, where ritualistic murders aka muti (muthi) murders are rampant, a court has found four people accused of ritual murder guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the barbaric, gruesome ritual murder of their-in-law, Hlayisani Hlungwani (26), at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago. A fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
I must commend the police department, the investigators, and the court judges for their work and I am happy with the outcome of their work. I will not give my opinion on the sentences, in this case life imprisonment. Judges must work independently and objectively, one must be very prudent to comment or to interfere with their work. However, I am very positive about the fact that the rule of law has been upheld. in South Africa, notably in Limpopo Province, muti murderers terrorize the population and violate people’s human rights, notably the right to live without fear and the right to live. To prosecute and sanction perpetrators of these cruel crimes is a sacred duty of the state which has an obligation to protect its citizens. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is essential to educate people telling them that killing other people motivated by superstition as a means to become rich or famous is outrageous and not acceptable.
Warning: the article below contains graphic details (FVDK).
Relatives senctenced to life for ritual murder
Published: November 18, 2020 By: Letaba Herald
Four relatives were last Thursday each sentenced to life imprisonment for the ritual murder of their in-law at Hlomela village in Giyani three years ago.
Thohoyandou High Court found guilty and convicted Christinah Mhlongo (56), Solomon Mqengeni Mahumani (67) and Amos Mafemani Chuma (51) for the murder of Hlayisani Hlungwani (26) in Nsavula village.
The fourth convict, Daniel Dzambukeri was sentenced to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial.
The judge found that the four accused intentionally killed Hlungwani by cutting off her lips, breasts and private parts.
The heinous crime which sent shock waves in the Hlomela and Nsavula villages was found to have been motivated by greed and the love of money. All accused pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse, the judge found.
The court heard that on 17 April 2017, Daniel Dzambukeri lured his sister-in-law to get into Chuma’s Honda Ballade in order to fetch her child from her grandmother. Dzambukeri testified that when the vehicle reached Hlomela village they drove into the bushes where Hlungwani’s legs were tied to a tree.
Later all of the accused went to the scene to perform their rituals before removing some body parts.
During the ritual, the victim’s mother-in-law, Mhlongo, burned herbs naked while calling Hlungwani ancestors to accept her spirit. Dzambukeri told the court that he had committed the crime with all three accused.
He told the court that he and Mahumani held the victim down while Chuma cut the body parts with a knife. Chuma handed the parts to Mhlongo who wrapped it in a red cloth.
The killing angered villagers who vented their anger by burning down three houses and other properties belonging to the convicts.
Other family member fled the area to other provinces. In mitigation of sentence Mhlongo asked the court not to sentence her for a murder she didn’t commit.
“There was no way I could have joined men to commit such crime,” said Mhlongo.
Mahumani and Chuma also asked the court not to sentence them, they accept no responsibility for their action.
In aggravation of sentence the state advocate, Absah Madzhuta, called the elder brother of the deceased, Richard Hlongwani who testified about the impact the killing had on her child and her grandmother.
Hlungwani further said that the family was shocked, in pain and living in fear.
The death of the deceased has affected the child of the deceased in that she failed her grade.
He said that she knows that her mother was killed by a woman and men and she is now afraid of her father and visitors.
The court remarked that the crime was barbaric, where the victim fought for her life with all her energy, screaming and kicking.
She suffered a painful death, with her body parts removed whilst still alive (italics added by the webmaster).
The body parts were destined for sale.
“Although every case is decided according to its merits, this crime is very serious. The family had to bury their loved one with some of her body parts missing. The aggravating circumstances outweigh by far the mitigating factors of the accused. This type of murder is a classical barbaric one without respecting the deceased and her right to life in terms of Section 11 of the Constitution,” remarked Justice Khami Makhafola before sentencing the convicts to life imprisonment.
The director of public prosecutions, Adv Ivy Thenga welcomed the sentence and commended the investigation team together with the state Adv Absa Madzhuta for the work well done.
Below follows the link to another article related to the same barbaric crime. The graphic details of the crime committed being so shocking I have decided not to reproduce the full text here. If readers are still interested, they may click the link below but they are warned that the contents of the article are shocking and repulsive. The article describes in full detail how the victim’s body parts were cut off while she was still alive (webmaster FVDK).
The faces of evil Published: November 20, 2020 By: Zoutnet, South Africa – Andries van Zyl