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: ritual killing by Kasoa teenagers (cont’d)

The article posted yesterday was about an alleged ritual murder case in Kasoa (formerly knows as Odupongkpehe), in Ghana’s Central Region. Since then, more details have emerged about the crime committed. Warning: some readers may find the following articles and videos disturbing (webmaster FVDK).

Two Kasoa teenagers arrested for murdering a 10-year-old, severing ear for rituals

Picture shows screen shot from the video. To watch video, click here. Viewers discretion is advised.

Published: April 4, 2021
By: GhanaWeb

Two teenagers have been arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command in connection with the murder of a 10-year-old boy in what seems to be a ritual murder. 

Reports available to GhanaWeb indicates the police received a distress call on Saturday at about 10:15 am about a homecode incident at Coca-Cola near Lamptey Mills, a suburb of Kasoa in the Central Region. 

According to preliminary police investigations, the victim identified as Ishmael was killed by 16-year-old Felix Nyarko and Nicholas Kini, 17.

The teenage suspects are reported to have invited the deceased into an uncompleted building where they hit him with a club and cement blocks, killing him at about 9:30am the same morning. 

Police sources say the boys then buried the deceased in the uncompleted building with the hope of coming back for his body in the night for ritual purpose. 

Some neighbors however caught wind of their actions and raised an alarm leading to the arrest of the two. 

The deceased’s body has since been deposited at the Police Hospital awaiting post-mortem whilst the suspects have been taken into custody. 

Some reports claim that the suspects were told by a fetish priest to bring human parts for money rituals hence their actions. 

The mother of the victim, Hajia Maame has spoken to Citi News and expressed shock over their son’s demise.

Source: Two Kasoa teenagers arrested for murdering a 10-year-old, severing ear for rituals

Related article:

Kasoa Ritual Murder: Father Of One Of Arrested ‘Sakawa’ Boys Speaks (Video) 

To watch the video, click here

Published: April 4, 2021
By: Yen, Ghana – Jeffrey Mensah

  • The father of one of the two boys arrested in the Kasoa ‘Sakawa’ murder case has spoken 
  • In a video, the man narrated how he got to know of the incident and arrested one of the suspects 
  • The man’s son and the boy he helped to arrest, both teens, have beenarrested over the murder of a 10-year-old 

The father of one of the two boys arrested over the murder of a 10-year-old boy at Kasoa has spoken on the incident. In a video sighted by YEN.com.gh, the boy’s father has narrated how he got to know of the incident and helped to apprehend the other suspect. Two teenagers were arrested on Saturday, April 3, 2021, for the murder of a 10-year-old boy identified as Ishmael. 

According to reports in the media, the suspects Felix Nyarko, 18, Nicholas Kini, 19, had killed the boy for money rituals. 

They were apprehended by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command following a distress call about a homicide incident in Lamptey Mills.

Speaking to the press about the incident, the father said he was in the house when his son came to tell him that they had buried the boy nearby. He went to dig up up the body and chase after the other suspect because his son had told him he did not partake in the killing.

After apprehending the other boy, he informed other people around and they took the boy to the police station. He explained that his son had told him he only called the victim for the other guy and as a father he wanted to ensure that the truth of the matter came out.

Meanwhile, Hajia Maame, the mother of the 10-year-old boy has recounted how she got to know about her son’s murder. 

The bereaved mother disclosed that the elder sister of murdered 10-year-old Ishmael came to break the heart-rending news to her. Speaking in an interview, Hajia Maame told Citi News amid tears that she was shocked by her son’s demise. 

Source: Kasoa Ritual Murder: Father Of One Of Arrested ‘Sakawa’ Boys Speaks (Video) 

And:

Hajia Maame: Mother of 11-year-old boy killed for alleged rituals speaks for the first time 

Published: April 5, 2021
By: Yen, Ghana – Nathaniel Crabbe 

  • The mother of slain 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah, Hajia Maame Sahadatu, has given a narration about how she was informed about her son’s murder 
  • She disclosed that she was taking a nap when her son’s elder sister came to break the news about her brother’s demise 
  • The bereaved mother spoke to Citi News 

Hajia Maame Sahadatu, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who was gruesomely killed by two teenagers for rituals in Kasoa in the Central Region, has recounted how she got to know about her son’s murder. The bereaved mother disclosed that the elder sister of slain 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah came to break the heart-rending news to her. Speaking in an interview, Sahadatu told Citi News amid tears that she was shocked by her son’s demise. 

”They (Ismael and his sister) go to Islamic school on Saturdays, but he was home because his father had returned from a trip. He was playing a game outside on his laptop while I was taking a nap,” she said.

‘His sister came running to me to tell me his brother had been killed. The police were informed and they came to the scene. My son has wrong no one,” she added. The two suspects behind the killing of the 11-year-old boy at Lamptey Mills in Kasoa, Central Region have been arrested by the Kasoa Divisional Police Command. The teenage boys, 16 and 17 years old respectively, are assisting the police with investigations. Meanwhile, the Kasoa Divisional Police Command are yet to confirm details about the incident and arrests. 

Screenshot from video. To watch video, click here 

Source: Hajia Maame: Mother of 11-year-old boy killed for alleged rituals speaks for the first time 

Kasoa, Ghana: two teenagers arrested over alleged ritual murder of 10-year-old

Kasoa, formerly known as Odupongkpehe, is a coastal town in the Awutu Senya East Municipal District of the Central Region in Ghana.  Reportedly, Odupongkpehe/Kasoa is one of the fastest growing communities in West Africa. In 1970, Odupongkpehe/Kasoa was a rural community. Since then, its population has multiplied nearly hundred times.

The clash between tradition and modernization may – partly – explain what recently happened in this fast growing urban community. Two teenagers were apprehended and accused of murdering a ten-year old child for ritualistic purposes after being requested by a fetish priest in the Volta Region who told the two suspects to bring human parts for rituals. It is not known what has happened with the fetish priest.

The law must take its course. However, society must reflect upon this heinous crime committed by two adolescents who, very likely, did not grow up in the tradition of a rural or village community. How could this happen? What is the role and responsibility of the parents? Have the two suspects been to school, what have the teachers taught them? 

Maybe too many questions for the moment, but urgent reflection and action is required to avoid a repetition of this gruesome ritualistic act (webmaster FVDK).

Kasoa: Two teenagers arrested over alleged ritual murder of 10-year-old

Published: April 4, 2021
By: Modern Ghana

Two persons, an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old are in the custody of the Kasoa Divisional Police Command for allegedly killing a 10-year-old boy for money rituals at Lamptey Mills, a suburb of Kasoa. 

According to sources the suspects lured the deceased, only known as Ishmael by his peers, into an uncompleted building and hit him with an object, killing him instantly. 

There are claims that a fetish priest in the Volta Region told the two suspects to bring human parts for rituals, hence the action of the pair. 

The mother of the boy, Hajia Maame told Citi News that she is shocked by the news of her son’s demise. 

The suspects are currently assisting in investigations. 

Meanwhile, the Kasoa Divisional Police Command has so far not commented officially on the incident or the arrests.

Source: Kasoa: Two teenagers arrested over alleged ritual murder of 10-year-old

Kasoa, formerly known as Odupongkpehe, a coastal town in the Awutu Senya East Municipal District of the Central Region. 

South Africa: staggering number of children murdered each year

The story presented below is not about ritual killing, or muti murders, as these crimes based on superstition and witchcraft are called in Southern Africa. It’s about the violent death of children including muti murder, however. 

As stated in the article below, “According to official figures, around 1,000 children are murdered every year in South Africa, nearly three a day. But that statistic, horrific as it may be, may be an undercount.”.

The same applies for muti murders. The muti cases known are just the top of the iceberg.

For this reason I have decided to include the following article which was originally published by Associated Press (webmaster FVDK).

In South Africa, child homicides show violence ‘entrenched’

Mourners look at the body of 5-year-old Wandi Zitho at his funeral in Orange Farm, South Africa, on April 28, 2020. The boy was murdered in a suspected witchcraft ritual and his body was found in his neighbor’s tavern. (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)

Published: December 22, 2020
By: KSAT.com / Associated Press – Gerald Imray And Bram Janssen

CAPE TOWN – At night, Amanda Zitho worries her little boy is shivering and cold in his coffin and yearns to take him a blanket. She knows Wandi’s dead and gone and it’s senseless, but that doesn’t stop the ache. 

Wandi was 5 when he was killed in April, allegedly strangled with a rope by a Johannesburg neighbor — another dead child in a land where there are too many. 

According to official figures, around 1,000 children are murdered every year in South Africa, nearly three a day. But that statistic, horrific as it is, may be an undercount.

Shanaaz Mathews thinks many more children are victims of homicides that are not investigated properly, not prosecuted or completely missed by authorities. The official figures are “just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mathews, the director of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town and probably the country’s leading expert on child homicides. 

In a country where more than 50 people are murdered every day, children are not special and are not spared.

“Violence has become entrenched” in the psyche of South Africa, Mathews said.

“How do we break that cycle?” she asked.

In 2014, she embarked on a research project to uncover the real extent of those child deaths. She did it by getting forensic pathologists to put the dead bodies of hundreds of newborn babies, infants, toddlers and teenagers on examination tables to determine exactly how they died.

Child death reviews are common in developed countries but had never been done in South Africa before Mathews’ project. As she feared, the findings were grim. 

Over a year, the pathologists examined the corpses of 711 children at two mortuaries in Cape Town and Durban and concluded that more than 15% of them died as a result of homicides. For context, Britain’s official child death review last year found 1% of its child deaths were homicides. Mathews’ research showed homicide was the second most common cause of death for children in those two precincts.

“And the numbers are not going down,” she said. “If anything, they are going up.”

There are two patterns in South Africa. Teenagers are being swallowed up in the country’s desperately high rate of violent street crime. But also, large numbers of young children aged 5 and under are victims of deadly violence meted out not by an offender with a gun or a knife on a street corner, but by mothers and fathers, relatives and friends, in kitchens and living rooms, around dinner tables and in front of TVs.

Fatal child abuse is where the justice system often fails and cases are “falling through the cracks,” Mathews said.

There was, she says, the case of a 9-month-old child who had seizures after being dropped off at day care. Though rushed to the hospital, the child died. 

Doctors found severe head injuries and told the mother to go to the police, but no one followed up. The mother never reported the death. When investigators tried to revive the case nearly two years later, the baby had long been buried and the evidence was cold.

Joan van Niekerk, a child protection expert, recounts numerous cases tainted by police ineptitude and corruption.

“I sometimes go through stages when I am more angry with the system than I am with the perpetrators and that’s not good,” she said. She said justice for children in South Africa is unacceptably “hard to achieve.”

And failures of justice sometimes lead to more deaths.

The neighbor originally charged with killing Wandi Zitho was released and the case provisionally dropped because the police didn’t deliver enough evidence, possibly because of a backlog in analyzing forensic evidence, according to one policeman working the case. Months later, the woman was arrested again and charged with murdering two other children.

Then there was the case of Tazne van Wyk.

Tazne was 8 when her body was found in February dumped in a drain near a highway nearly two weeks after she disappeared. She had been abducted, raped and murdered, police said.

Tazne’s parents blame the correctional system for paroling the man charged with their daughter’s murder despite a history of violent offenses against children. He’d already violated his parole once. They also fault police for failing to act on a tip that might have saved Tazne in the hours after her disappearance. 

The case was high profile. The Minister of Police spoke at Tazne’s funeral and admitted errors. “We have failed this child,” he conceded, pointing at Tazne’s small white coffin, trimmed in gold. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the van Wyk home and promised meaningful action. 

Nine months later, Tazne’s parents feel it was all lip service.

“How many children after Tazne have already passed away? Have been kidnapped? Have been murdered? Still nothing is happening,” said her mother, Carmen van Wyk.

She sheds no tears. Instead, anger bubbles inside her and her community. Houses connected with the suspect and members of his family were set on fire in the wake of Tazne’s killing.

It’s not just on the police to stop the abuse, said Marc Hardwick, who was a policeman for 15 years, 10 of them as a detective in a child protection unit.

He recalls one case, from 20 years ago. A 6-year-old girl was beaten to death by her father because she was watching cartoons and, distracted as any 6-year-old would be, wasn’t listening to him.

When they arrested the father and took him away — he was later sentenced to life in prison — the victim’s 9-year-old cousin approached Hardwick and said: “I think you stopped my bad dreams today.” 

Clearly, children in that household had been living a nightmare, and the other adults had remained silent, said Hardwick: “The reality is that child abuse is not a topic people want to talk about.” 

Source: In South Africa, child homicides show violence ‘entrenched’