Witch-trials in Angola: mass ritual killing as 50 are poisoned to death

It’s a tradition based on superstition and probably as old as humankind: to blame misfortune, an accident, bad harvest or a disease on a weaker person in society who then has to prove not being guilty of the accusation by drinking a poison. When surviving the ordeal the accused proves to be innocent. However, death confirms his or her assumed guilt.

It’s likely that this ugly practice exists all over the African continent. On previous occasions I have posted articles on ‘trial by ordeal’ in Liberia. This West African country is located 3,600 kilometers (or 2,236 miles) from Angola – as the crow flies – but the practice of trial by ordeal, locally called ‘sasswood (or sassywood) trial or ordeal’, is notorious in Africa’s oldest republic despite being banned by the government. See my posts of July and August 2020:
Liberia: Picnicess citizens say herbalist Tamba Bundo is doing well by exposing wizards, witches and ritualistic killers (August 30, 2020)
Liberia: woman dies after reportedly taking ‘sassywood’ to clear her innocence from witchcraft allegations (August 29, 2020)
Liberia: adolescent girl tortured, accused of witchcraft (July 5, 2020)

The ‘crazy’ practice – proving one is not guilty of an accusation is the opposite of the accepted rule of law when authorities have to prove a person is guilty of an alleged crime – makes victims on an unknown but unacceptable scale, not only in Liberia, but also in other African countries (as well as elsewhere on Planet Earth). In 2009 seven people, who were accused of witchcraft in Liberia – in River Gee County – died of whom two died after drinking the sasswood poison.

In Angola the reported deadly ‘trial by ordeall’ in Angola caused the death of more than 50 innocent people accused of being sorcerers.
These practices must be stopped!
(FVDK)

Children accused of being witches. Source: Child-witches of Nigeria seek refuge
(illustration not related to the story below)

The witch-trials of Angola: Mass ritual killing as 50 are poisoned to death after being forced to drink mysterious herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers

  • Around 50 people died after being made to drink a herbal poison 
  • They were forced to prove they weren’t sorcerers
  • Politicians accused traditional healers of making the deadly herbal drink 

Published: March 14, 2024
By: Perkin Amalaraj – Daily Mail, UK

About 50 people have died in Angola after being forced to drink an herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers, police and local officials said on Thursday.

The deaths occurred between January and February near the central town of Camacupa, according to Luzia Filemone, a local councillor.

Speaking to the national radio broadcaster, she accused traditional healers of administering the deadly concoction.

‘More than 50 victims were forced to drink this mysterious liquid which, according to traditional healers, proves whether or not a person practices witchcraft,’ said Filemone.

Belief in witchcraft is still common in some rural communities, despite a strong opposition from the church in the predominantly Catholic former Portuguese colony.

About 50 people have died in Angola after being forced to drink an herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers (File image)

About 50 people have died in Angola after being forced to drink an herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers (File image)

Angola does not have laws against witchcraft, leaving communities to deal with the issue as they see fit

Angola does not have laws against witchcraft, leaving communities to deal with the issue as they see fit

The deaths were confirmed by police that said 50 people were killed.

‘It’s a widespread practice to make people drink the supposed poison because of the belief in witchcraft,’ provincial police spokesman Antonio Hossi told the broadcaster, warning cases were on the rise.

Angola does not have laws against witchcraft, leaving communities to deal with the issue as they see fit.

Allegations of sorcery are often settled by traditional healers, or ‘marabouts’, by having the accused ingest a toxic herbal drink called ‘Mbulungo’. Death is thought to prove guilt.

Source: The witch-trials of Angola: mass ritual killing as 50 are poisoned to death after being forced to drink mysterious herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers

Uganda: witchdoctor arrested over murder of two siblings in ritual sacrifice

Due to time constraints I haven’t posted much recently. The ritual murder reported below dates from early April. A witchdoctor killed two childen for ritual purposes in Kiboga District, approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The headless bodies of the victims were discovered the day after the two children, siblings, got missing. 

The police and authorities in Uganda are to be commended for their swift action. The witchdoctor, Sulaiman Ssentongo, and an accomplice, Maureen Namuleme, were arrested. More arrests are not excluded.
(FVDK)

Witchdoctor arrested over murder of two siblings in ritual sacrifice

Published: April 9, 2024
By: The Observer, Uganda

The directorate of crime intelligence (DCI) has arrested a witch doctor, Sulaiman Ssentongo, suspected of having killed two children in Kiboga on Wednesday last week for ritual sacrifice.

After committing the crime, Ssentongo reportedly fled to Kireka, Kira Municipality, in Wakiso district. Shock engulfed residents of Kasega parish, Kapeke sub-county, when the siblings; Sylvia Nantongo aged five and Esther Nakasumba aged two mysteriously went missing. Locals launched a search for the siblings on Wednesday night and their headless bodies were discovered the next day. 

Upon finding the bodies, police in Kiboga launched investigations using sniffer dogs which ended up at Ssentongo’s shrine. It was later established that Ssentongo aged 32 had fled the area with the help of his accomplice Maureen Namuleme, aged 41.

Kiboga police quickly alerted DCI and the police’s cyber unit which started tracking the duo’s movement using a mobile phone until they were found hiding in Kireka township, one of the busiest suburbs of Kampala. 

Detectives have revealed that Ssentongo has confessed that he was given transport money to run to safety after committing the crime by Namuleme – something which he later denied. The duo has been transported back to Kiboga where they allegedly committed the crime. SP Racheal Kawala, Wamala regional police spokesperson, has confirmed Ssentongo and Namuleme’s arrest.

“Our crime intelligence operatives have apprehended two suspects in connection with the double murders that occurred in Kasega parish, Kapeke sub-county, Kiboga district. The suspects have been identified as Sulaiman Ssentongo, 32 years old Namuleme Maureen, 41 years old,” said Kawala. 

Ssentongo is a resident of Kirinda village, Kasega parish, Kapeke sub-county, in Kiboga district while Namuleme is a resident of Kisingiri cell, Namiremebe Bakuli ward, Rubaga division, Kampala. 

Kawala said Ssentongo was tracked using his mobile phone. She also said that Ssentongo alleges that Namuleme is the person who helped him with money to flee the scene. 

“The suspects are currently detained at Kiboga CPS for interrogation, bringing the total number of arrests to three. Preliminary findings suggest that on April 3, 2024, at 10:00 pm, two children, were reported missing. Unfortunately, their torsos were discovered on April 4, 2024, in Kirinda village, Kasega parish, Kapeke sub-county,” Kawala explained.

However, it is not yet clear whether the children were alone at the time they were abducted by the witch doctor or whether there was assistance from a close relative since they went missing in the night hours.

Source: Witchdoctor arrested over murder of two siblings in ritual sacfrice

Kiboga District, Uganda

Burkina Faso: Three-year old child murdered in Ouagadougou – Mob justice leads to death of two suspected ritual murderers

Reports on ritual murders in Burkina Faso are scarce but this does not imply that this West African country is spared these gruesome crimes. In the past I’ve posted a few articles on the grim fate of persons with albinism in this country and on the belief in witchcraft and superstition in this landlocked country in the Sahel zone of the African continent.

On April 1 a gruesome crime took place in the capital Ouagadougou, in the neighborhood of Rayongo. A three-year old boy, David Ouédraogo, was unscrupulously murdered; it all looked like a ritual murder. The angry crowd attacked and killed two suspects, allegedly foreigners, a third suspect had more luck and was handed over to the police.

The mother of David, Sarata Ouédraogo, a woman in her thirties, is devastated and beyond consolation. She shares her ordeal with a reporter of Omega Medias – clicking the following link will give access to her sad story.
(FVDK)

Screenshot – Sarata Ouédraogo, mother of David, tells her story – to listen to her click here (in French)

Meurtre d’un enfant de 3 ans à Rayongo : Sur la piste d’un crime rituel

Three-year old child murdered in Rayongo-Ouagadougou – mob justice leads to death of two of three suspected ritual murderers

Published: April 4, 2024
By: Charles Dah – Omega Medias, Burkina Faso

Les habitants de rayongo, quartier de la ville de Ouagadougou ont été frappés de stupeur ce lundi 1er avril 2024. La cause, un enfant de 3 ans a été violemment tué. Ses bourreaux seraient trois hommes de nationalité étrangère dont le comportement suspect a attiré l’attention des habitants du quartier. Courroucés, ces derniers finiront par lyncher à mort deux des trois suspects, le troisième quant à lui a été remis aux forces de l’ordre. L’émotion était toujours vive à notre passage, trois jours après le drame et la mère demeure inconsolable.

72 heures après la survenue de l’indicible fait macabre, nous voici sur les lieux du drame. Assis sous un dattier, un groupuscule d’hommes devise à deux pas du domicile familial des Ouedraogo. Touchée par la perte d’un des leurs, un enfant de 3 ans, la famille reçoit les condoléances des habitants du quartier et de ceux venus d’ailleurs. Sur place, l’émotion est vive.

Un peu plus loin, à l’intérieur de la cour, des femmes sont installées. Sur leurs visages se lisent stupeur et désarroi. Par moments, des sanglots montent du groupe, des pleurs dûs à la douleur de la perte brutale et violente du petit David, égorgé par ses bourreaux.

Après échange avec la famille, l’on nous conduit sur la scène du crime située à deux cents mètres du domicile des Ouédraogo.

Sur place, une odeur fétide flotte dans l’air. A l’intérieur de la maison où l’enfant a été tué, du sang, depuis coagulé, recueilli dans des calebasses et des Canaris.
C’est un décor macabre qui a tout d’un crime rituel digne des films d’horreur les plus glaçants. Tout porte à croire que ce sang contenu dans les calebasses est celui de la victime, l’enfant de 3 ans.

Encore effondrée, Sarata Ouédraogo, mère du petit David, la trentaine révolue, yeux rouges, est assise au milieu d’un groupe de dames sur une natte. Visiblement affaiblie par la triste nouvelle, elle s’appuie contre un mur de la maison pour se tenir debout afin de nous expliquer son calvaire. C’est une mère abattue, que nous avons rencontrée ce mercredi 3 avril.
Elle n’arrive toujours pas à croire comment des personnes qui vivaient dans la même cour qu’elle aient pu commettre un acte aussi ignoble, égorger son enfant.
<< Est-ce qu’ils peuvent me faire ça ? On est dans la même maison, c’est moi-même qui prépare et puis vous mangez. Tout ce qu’ils veulent, ils viennent me demander et je leur donne. Jusqu’à ce qu’ils m’appellent maman.>> nous relate la jeune mère entre deux sanglots.

Dame Ouédraogo a été séparée de son fils à jamais. De terribles adieux que la famille Ouédraogo et les habitants du quartier Rayongo digèrent difficilement.

Les faits remontent au lundi 1er avril. En partance au marché la mère de David le laisse à la maison sous la surveillance de la grande sœur de ce dernier. A son retour du marché, plus de David. Malgré de rapides recherches dans le voisinage, pas de nouvelles. Sarata Ouedraogo va questionner un de ses voisins de nationalité étrangère pour savoir s’il a aperçu l’enfant, l’homme lui répond que l’enfant était avec lui il y a à peine 3 minutes. Une réponse qui va semer un doute profond.

Comble de la malice, ledit voisin va même rejoindre un groupe d’habitants, pour poursuivre les recherches, avec probablement pour objectif de donner du temps à ses acolytes pour se débarrasser du corps de l’enfant.
Mais, l’instinct maternel de dame Ouedraogo fini par prendre le dessus. Elle lance au voisin<< Mon enfant est ici (dans la maison du voisin, NDLR). Mon enfant n’est pas ailleurs. Mon enfant est ici. (…) Moi-même je sens que l’enfant est ici.(…) Ce que je sais seulement, c’est que mon enfant est toujours dans cette maison >>. Sarata Ouedraogo nous explique avoir insisté et persisté. Puis elle décide de faire le pied de grue devant la porte de ceux qu’elle soupçonne être à l’origine de la disparition du petit David.

Pendant ce temps, la mobilisation des habitants pour retrouver l’enfant prend de l’ampleur.
Il faudra attendre vers 22h, pour enfin savoir ce qui s’est passé et cela grâce à la contribution d’un homme de tenue arrivé sur place.

<< Quand ils (les habitants du quartier, NDLR) sont partis maintenant, il (le voisin présumé coupable, NDLR) voulait fuir. Le gars (l’homme de tenue, Ndlr) est tourné derrière (à l’arrière de la maison, Ndlr). Il voit quelque chose qui est attaché déposé. Il a voulu soulever, c’est lourd. Djahh c’est mon enfant qui est dedans.>> Ajoute Sarata qui s’effondre en larmes avant de poursuivre <<C’est déjà gâté. Ils ont déjà tué l’enfant.>>.

Les présumés auteurs du crime rituel seront lynchés sur le champ par une foule en colère seul l’un des trois sera remis aux forces de l’ordre arrivées plus tard sur les lieux.

<< C’est une grande tristesse pour nous les membres de la famille. Même si tu es étranger à l’enfant, être témoin de ce drame et tu n’es attristé, tu auras menti.(…) Moi quand j’étais arrivé sur les lieux du drame, j’étais dépassé, car tu mets au monde un enfant et l’élève jusqu’à cet âge et quelqu’un l’egorge comme un poulet, vraiment c’est une perte, une énorme perte>> lâche Sambo Ouedraogo, oncle de la victime.

Le corps sans vie du petit David, ceux de deux des présumés auteurs du meurtre et leur complice rescapé ont été amenés par les forces de l’ordre après les constatations d’usage.

La mère du petit David, en état de choc reste inconsolable. A Rayongo, les habitants sont eux, toujours plongés dans la stupeur.

Ibrahim Niaoné & Abdoul Aziz Zoulabou

Source: Meurtre d’un enfant de 3 ans à Rayongo : Sur la piste d’un crime rituel

The plight of persons with albinism in Africa

Albinism is an inherited condition leading to a very light skin, hair and eyes. The question: ‘What is albinism?’ is treated in detail elsewhere on the present site (click here to access the information).

There’s a persistent superstition that organs and other body parts of a person with albinism contain magical or supernatural powers. Hence persons with albinism are often targeted by criminals who attack and/or murder them. In their social environment people with albinism are often discriminated, insulted or otherwise maltreated.

On multiple occasions I have drawn attention here on the plight of persons with albinism in countries in west, central, eastern and southern Africa including Mali, Nigeria, Burundi, the DRC, Tanzania, Mozambique, Eswatini (former Swaziland), Zambia, Malawi, the Republic of South Africa), Namibia and Madagascar. You may access the relevant posts and articles by using the dropdown menu under ‘African countries’ and/or the search button.

Moreover, those interested inn previous posts may click the following three links with access to reports on violence against persons with albinism in nearly 30 African countries:
Africa’s shameful acts of racism: the plight of persons with albinism (PLWA) in Africa
Devastating 2019 report on attacks of persons with albinism in 28 African countries
Shocking report on rural infanticide, violence against children accused of witchcraft, and ritual attacks against children with albinism in 19 SSA countries

The article presented below focuses on the situation of persons with albinisme in Angola and elaborates further on the plight of people living with albinism in various SSA countries.
(FVDK).

The plight of persons with albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa

Edna Cedrick holds her surviving albino son after his twin brother who had albinism was snatched from her arms in a violent struggle in 2016. Cedrick says she is haunted daily by images of the decapitated head of her 9 year old son. At least 18 Albino people have been killed in Malawi in a “steep upsurge in killings” since November 2014, and five others have been abducted and remain missing, according to Amnesty International. Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / AP Photo

Published: April 1, 2024
By: Atlas News

What You Need to Know:

81 families with Albinism in Angola’s Bié Province have received assistance totalling nearly $12,000 dollars (10 million kwanzas) in the first phase of a social protection program aimed at providing support to Angola’s most vulnerable. 

This current program operates under the ‘Kwenda Program’ – a government program focused on creating policies to support the country’s poorest and most vulnerable residents. 

The program has received 320 million USD from the World Bank as well as 100 million USD from Angola’s National Treasury.

Alongside the financial support, sunscreen and other sun protection materials have been distributed to albinos across the country. Lack of sun protection poses a major health risk for albinos in Africa, with up to 90% dying before the age of 40. 

There are an estimated 6,818 people living with albinism in Angola who often face social exclusion, which contributes to their continued impoverishment as a large part of the stigma around albinism has to do with the fact that witchcraft is heavily prevalent in Southern Africa. 

The Details:

Across Southern Africa, particularly Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and Burundi, people with albinism are thought to hold supernatural powers. As a result, the killing of albinos in order to use their body parts in various rituals is somewhat common. 

The belief in many rural communities across Southern Africa is that the use of the body part of an albino in a witchcraft ritual may bring wealth, power or protection to the individual the ritual is intended for.

Albinism refers to the inability of the body’s skin cells to produce melanin, melanin is responsible for the colouration of eyes, hair and skin. Thus, those with albinism appear extremely pale. 

In Tanzania, albinos are referred to as ‘zeru zeru’ which translates to ‘ghosts.’ 

Additionally, there is a large trade in the body parts of albinos, with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights claiming an entire albino corpse can be sold for upwards of $75,000, while albino arms or legs can be sold for up to $2,000. 

So, What Now?:

Angola’s social program signals a positive step towards the protection of albinos in the country. However, Angola is still an extremely impoverished country with 32% of the population living under the national poverty line, In rural areas that number jumps to 54%. 

Thus, although this program will bring relief for many affected albino families, a wider effort to combat impoverishment and raise living standards is needed across the country. 

Source: 81 Angolan Albino Families Receive Assistance From Social Protection Program

South African man abducted, hands amputated in suspected muti attack

Unfortunately, ‘muti’ murders and violence related to ‘muti’ – literally: traditional medicine, but in practice closely associated with witchcraft – are no exception in Southern Africa notably in the Republic of South Africa. Numerous cases have been reported on this site (for specific cases: please use the scroll down menu ‘African countries’ to access ‘South Africa’).

The accompanying article presented below also confirms this sad and often cruel realty which is widespread in South Africa and neighboring countries. Reportedly, an academic investigation revealed that in South Africa alone, in 2001 almost 2500 individuals were caught with body parts in their possession, a frightening statistic. Moreover, discovered bodies with parts missing are no exception whereas it is very likely that some bodies are never found and thus, reported cases of ‘muti’ violence and murder constitute in fact the tip of the iceberg.
(FVDK)

South African Man Abducted, Hands Amputated in Suspected Muti Attack

Published: March 24, 2024
By: Atlas News

What You Need to Know:

A 30-year-old walking during the early hours of the morning in Vosman, near Witbank, was attacked by six unidentified assailants on March 20th. The man had his hands and feet bound, and was told by his attackers that they planned to kill him. Instead, the attackers took the victim into a bush, amputated both of the victims hands, and took off with his body parts, leaving him to die. 

Security services arrived at the scene and the man is currently recovering in hospital. Police have opened a case of attempted murder, but have yet made no breakthroughs in locating the attackers. 

Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, Provincial Police Commissioner in Mpumalanga stated, “though the victim was not killed however the acts committed by the suspects are heartless and should be strongly condemned in the strongest possible way.” 

The Details:

Muti, also known as umuthi in Zulu, is an alternative word for medicine in some localities but colloquially refers to witchcraft. Muti is characterized by the use of body parts in rituals to bring protection or strength to an individual or tribe. Oftentimes, victims are healthy young males, or the strongest warrior from a rival tribe. 

‘Muti murders’ involve the ritual killing of an individual for the use of the victims body parts in creating ‘magical medicine.’ As stated by Harriet Ngubane, a South African Anthropologist, “in a definable part of southern African medical practice … ethics permit a practitioner to recommend in certain special cases a ritual killing.”

“Ritual homicide [carries] very high professional fees … The inyanga [expert] who prescribes a muti homicide … arrives at his advice … within the … worldview of African traditional medicine.” 

However, with ritual killing now illegal in South Africa, attacks on individuals which stop short of murder but involve the amputation of limbs has increased. 

An academic investigation into ‘Violent Hand Amputation and Replantation in South Africa’ conducted by Wendy Young, Pragashnie Govender, and Deshini Naidoo, claims that in 2001, almost 2500 individuals were caught with body parts in their possession. This highlights just how ingrained the practice of ritual killing is in the nation. 

Analysis:

It is highly likely the man attacked in this case was a victim of a crime with connections to the practice of muti. 

The practice of muti is particularly prevalent in Mpumalanga, with three doctors and a nurse suspended from Bernice Samuel Hospital in 2021 after an infant admitted with diarrhea had her hand amputated. A case of negligence was opened against the nurse and three doctors, and officially a possible muti motive was not investigated, but it is also highly likely the amputation was done so the hand could be used for ritualistic magic. 

Source: South African Man Abducted, Hands Amputated in Suspected Muti Attack

Anambra State, Nigeria: widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

This post is about harmful widowhood practices and belief in witchcraft. It’s not about a ritual murder.

It all happened in Umunankwo, a village in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, in south-east Nigeria. The story goes back to April last year, when three brothers chased and banished their widowed sister, a 53-year old mother of two children, from the community accusing her of being a witch. The incident was filmed and went viral. Subsequently, the three men were arrested. For briefness sake I may refer to the second and third articles below.

The incident drew once more attention to existing harmful widowhood practices and the plight of women in Anambra State in general.

Moreover, also in Anambra State the belief in the power of supernatural forces exist, though it is unknown at which scale. Related superstitious practices may go hand-in-hand with ritualistic killings (‘money rituals’) and trafficking in human organs which unfortunately also occur in this state in South-East Nigeria. See my February 19, 2023 post ‘Anambra State Police Officers in alleged ritual killing, organ harvesting ring arrested‘. 

Anambra State is located in the South East geopolitical zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones commonly called zones. 

Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones

Anambra State is an inland state and one of Nigeria’s smallest states with a surface area of only 4,844 km2 (only Lagos State is smaller). Anambra ranks number 14 by population with an estimated population of 8 – 10 million people (2024), most of them christians though traditional beliefs continue to exist. The majority of the population belong to the Igbo ethnic group (in the 1960s, Anambra State was part of the failed secessionist Republic of Biafra). The region nowadays known as Anambra State has a a rich cultural history.

I already mentioned a prime reason to post this item, the existence of harmful widowhood practices, another major reason is the wish to draw attention to local initiatives and organizations to end these outdated and cruel practices which in fact represent human rights violations.

In this context I wish to mention the commendable work of the organization Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an interventionist group leading campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa. The organization’s Director is the well-known Leo Igbe, more than once mentioned on the present site. His work cannot be overrated and I wish to congratulate him once more with his work and achievements.

Last but not least I wish to congratulate Genevieve Osakwe, the Magistrate of the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, in Awka, the state capital, and the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, for their swift actions.

Thanks to them the perpetrators of the crime are being prosecuted and the victim, Nneka Uzor, can now start a new life in a new apartment.
(webmaster FVDK)

Anambra State, Nigeria: widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

The widow, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

Map of Anambra State

Published: February 25, 2024
By: Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

A widow in Anambra State, who recently returned to her community after she was banished for allegedly being a witch, has gotten a new apartment.

The woman, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

PREMIUM TIMES, last year, reported (see below – webmaster FVDK) how the widow was spotted in a video clip being led out of the Umunankwo by the community members who hurled abuses at her while two masquerades flogged her.

The three brothers —- Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa —- were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court in Awka.

The arrest and arraignment of the suspects were facilitated by the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, who promised to ensure that the woman was reunited with the community.

This newspaper also reported that Mrs Uzor, the banished widow, returned to the community in January and reconciled with the villagers, following the commissioner’s intervention and the traditional ruler of the community, Fidelis Nsofor.

New apartment

Mrs Uzor has now gotten a self-contained apartment through the assistance of Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an interventionist group leading campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa.

The Director of the group, Leo Igwe, told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that the group decided to help Mrs Uzor after they learnt that the widow had been staying with a relative after her return to the community.

“We found out that while she returned to the community, she had no money, no apartment; her business had collapsed. Nothing. She was almost displaced,” Mr Igwe said, recalling that the widow also made the request when the group reached out to her.

“So, we raised some money and we sent it to her to rent an apartment,” he said.

The group director commended PREMIUM TIMES, saying it was the paper’s report that made them aware of the widow’s travail.

Joy overflow

Mrs Uzor expressed joy while she shared a video clip of the new apartment with the group director.

“You people have met me in my point of need,” she said in the three-minute video clip, almost shedding tears of joy.

“This is wonderful,” the widow exclaimed as she showed the inner part of the apartment.

“So, at last, I can boast of saying this is my own.”

She asked God to bless members of the group who secured the apartment for her.

Source: Widow initially banished over alleged witchcraft gets new apartment

Related:

Widow banished over alleged witchcraft returns to community

The woman, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Published: January 23, 2024
By: Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

A widow in Anambra State, who was banished for allegedly being a witch, has been reunited with her community.

The woman, Nneka Uzor, a 54-year-old mother of two, was banished by her three brothers from Umunankwo Community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the south-east state on 30 April 2023.

PREMIUM TIMES, last year, reported how the widow was spotted in a video clip being led out of the Umunankwo by the community members who hurled abuses at her while two masquerades flogged her.

In the clip, the people, who were heard accusing Mrs Uzor of poisoning the community’s food and refusing to go for appeasement, led the woman to a road junction where they pronounced her banished from the community.

At the time they pronounced her banished, the widow had collapsed in the middle of a road, apparently due to fatigue.

The three brothers – Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa – were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court in Awka.

The arrest and arraignment of the suspects were facilitated by the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, who promised to ensure that the woman was reunited with the community.

Reunion

Mrs Uzor, the banished widow, has been reconciled to the villagers and brought back to the community, according to a statement on Monday by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, a media aide to the commissioner.

Ms Ikeanyionwu said the reconciliation took place at the palace of the traditional ruler of Umunankwo, Fidelis Nsofor.

She said the commissioner, heads of men and women groups in the community, community leaders and the suspects, among others, attended the event.

The statement indicated that following the traditional ruler’s directive, community members gathered at the junction, where they had earlier banished the widow, to bring her back.

Masquerades also accompanied her back to the community.

Source: Widow banished over alleged witchcraft returns to community

This is how it started:

Brothers label their widowed sister witch, banish her from community

The victim is a mother of two .

Published: May 22, 2023
By; Chinagorom Ugwu – Premium Times Nigeria

Three people have banished their widowed sister from their community for allegedly being a witch.

The incident happened on 30 April in Umunankwo, a community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.

Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, a media aide to the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in the state, Ify Obinabo, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

The widow, Nneka Uzor is a 53-year-old mother of two. She is also a caterer.

Ms Ikeanyionwu gave the names of the suspects as Lazarus Uzor, Anozie Uzor and Valentine Okwuosa.

She said the suspects’ arrest was facilitated by the commissioner, Mrs Obinabo, after a video clip showing the widow being abused and banished from the community went viral on social media.

Viral video

In the clip, seen by PREMIUM TIMES earlier this month, the widow was spotted being led out of the community by members of the community and two masquerades.

As she walked, the community members hurled abuses on her, while the two masquerades flogged her.

“On this day, Nneka (Uzor) committed an atrocity. She poisoned the food of the community, and she refused to go for appeasement. On that purpose, masquerades have arisen to say a final goodbye to Nneka to the boundary of no return,” a voice was in the background of the video was heard saying.

“Nneka, you shall not come back again (to the community). You have been ostracised. Today, marks her last day (in the community). The masquerade has ostracised her,” the voice added.

Apparently exhausted and weak, the widow collapsed in the middle of a road and the people abandoned her there.

Arraignment

Ms Ikeanyionwu said the suspects were later arrested and arraigned before the Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Court, in Awka.

The statement was silent on the details of the charges against the suspects.

When the charges were read and interpreted to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty of the charges, she said.

Ruling on bail application by the suspects, the Magistrate, Genevieve Osakwe, held that the matter was a bailable offence.

Ms Osakwe, consequently, granted them bail in the sum of N700, 000, but demanded that the suspects should provide the traditional ruler of the Umunankwo Community, the parish priest of the community’s Catholic Church or the president-general of the community as sureties.

In her reaction, the commissioner, Mrs Obinabo, expressed satisfaction with the decision of the court, Ms Ikeanyionwu said.

The commissioner assured that she would get justice for the widow and other widows in the state who are going through such ill-treatment.

She warned residents of the state to desist from any form of harmful traditional practices against widows, pointing out that Anambra State Government has zero tolerance for such “inhumane acts.”

Banished widow speaks

Mrs Uzor told the commissioner that she began living in her parents’ house in the community nine years ago after she lost her husband.

The widow regretted that her brothers and other family members had been abusing her since she began living with them in their parents’ house.

On the issue of being banished from the community, she narrated that someone had died in the community and that on the day of the person’s burial, she was invited like others, which made her pass a night there.

She said she was surprised that her brothers and other family members woke her up the next morning at about 5:30 a.m. with the masquerades and subsequently chased her out of the community.

Nkiru Uzor, a sister to the widow, alleged that it was one of the suspects, Lazarus, the immediate past president-general of the community, that instigated the banishment while Nnamdi, another suspect, coordinated the act and also filmed the incident.

Source: Brothers label their widowed sister witch, banish her from community

READ ALSO: Anambra women protest against harmful widowhood practices

Ghana, Central Region: man arrested for killing his 3-week-old baby for rituals

A gruesome murder for ritualistic purposes took place in Ghana’s Central Region on January 22.

A 3-week-old baby was the innocent victim of superstition, greed and a criminal mind. The baby’s father and two accomplices have been arrested in connection with the alleged ritual murder case, a swift action for which the Ghanaian police is to be commended.

One of the three accused persons is the 21-year-old father of the baby victim. How on earth is it possible that the belief in witchcraft or the power which ritualistic murder is supposed to create can make a person the murderer of his or her own child? How can you believe that sacrificing a newborn baby for ‘money ritual’ can create ‘juju’ ultimately resulting in (more) wealth, power or another desired goal for the perpetrator(s)?

More research is needed to reveal the reasons behind ritualistic murders and related criminal acts. The belief in the power of ritualistic murders is widespread in Ghana, but not exclusively in this West African country, as the evidence presented on this site clearly demonstrates.

Warning: one or more of the following articles contain(s) graphic details which may upset readers.
(webmaster FVDK)

District sof the Central Region including Gomoa East District where the alleged ritual sacrifice took place.
Gomoa East District is one of the twenty-two districts of the Central Region.

Man arrested for killing his 3-week-old baby for rituals

Published: January 23, 2024
By: Kofi Adjei – Myjoyonline, Ghana

A 21-year-old father only identified as Bright is in the grips of the Awutu Bereku District Police Command over the murder of his three-week old baby.

Bright according to reports has killed the baby for suspected money rituals at Fetteh Kakraba in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region.

The unfortunate incident occurred on Monday night when he came to visit the baby and mother.

In an interview with Adom News, Bright’s friend narrated that the child’s mother left the sleeping baby inside to run an errand. 

Bright then asked his friend to go and bring the baby from the room which he did, allegedly without knowing he had ulterior motives.

“I met Bright on the school park with the baby and a few minutes later, the mother called that he was missing,” he narrated.

A resident disclosed a search party was launched for the baby immediately after the news about the baby’s disappearance broke out.

Bright’s friend was apprehended after the group had a tip-off that he was the one who took the baby out of the room.

The accomplice led the search party to the school park but Bright had already killed the baby when they got there.

Bright and his friend have been arrested and are assisting with investigations.

Source: Man arrested for killing his 3-week-old baby for rituals

And:

Awutu Bereku: 21year old father apprehended by Police for killing newborn baby for rituals

Click here to listen to the audio

Published: January 23, 2024
By: Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo – Modern Ghana

Source: Awutu Bereku: 21year old father apprehended by Police for killing newborn baby for rituals

More:

Ritual Killing: 21-Year-Old Man Arrested For Killing His 3-Week-Old Baby In Gomoa East

The killing took place at Fetteh Kakraba in the Gomoa East District. Source: Getty Images

Published: January 23, 2024
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa – Yen, Ghana

  • A man has been arrested for the murder of a three-week-old baby at Fetteh Kakraba in the Gomoa East District
  • The suspect is the baby’s father, who is believed to have killed his son for rituals on January 22
  • The suspect’s friend was apprehended, and he revealed the role he had played in the baby’s disappearance.

The Awutu Bereku District Police Command has arrested a 21-year-old father over the murder of his three-week-old baby.

The suspect, identified only as Bright, is believed to have killed his son for rituals on January 22.

The killing took place at Fetteh Kakraba in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region.

Bright’s friend told Adom news that the child’s mother left the baby to run an errand.

Bright then asked his friend to go and bring the baby from the room without revealing his alleged motives.

The community was alerted, and a search party tried to find the missing baby.

Bright’s friend was apprehended, and he revealed the role he had played in the baby’s disappearance.

By the time they had found Bright, he had allegedly already killed the baby. Bright and his friend have been arrested and are assisting with investigations.

Source:
Ritual Killing: 21-Year-Old Man Arrested For Killing His 3-Week-Old Baby In Gomoa East

More:

Father who allegedly beheaded 3-month-old baby, two accomplices remanded

Published: January 25, 2024
By: Seth Kofi Adjei – Adom Online, Ghana

A father who allegedly murdered his 3-months-old baby, his lover and a 17-year-old friend have been remanded by the Awutu Bereku District Court in the Central region.

The suspect, Bright Larvie, was arrested for allegedly beheading his own child for money rituals. 

Investigations led to the arrest of his lover, Linda Asare and their 17-year-old acquaintance, Kingsley Yeboah.

The Awutu Bereku District Police Command arranged the suspects before court presided over by Justice Naomi Kuntor. 

The court, considering the gravity of the charges and the ongoing investigation, decided to remand the suspects into police custody.

The 17-year-old was sent to a special facility due to his age.

They are set to reappear before the court on February 5, 2024.

Residents in Fetteh Kakraba are still grappling with the shock and horror of such a tragic event.

Source: Father who allegedly beheaded 3-month-old baby, two accomplices remanded

Ghana – Regional map – Administrative Division

Limpopo province, South Africa: 18-year-old teenager murdered, body parts missing, sangoma arrested

Limpopo province is notorious for its ritualistic murders and feared disappearances. It is South Africa’s northernmost province and named after the Limpopo River.

The province’s main ethnic groups are the Pedi, the Tsonga and the Venda. Traditional leaders still hold an important position in society. The total population of about 5.5 million people is made up of a large black majority (96.5%) and small minorities of whites (2.5%), Indian or Asia (0.5%) and colored people (0.3%). (Source: Wikipedia.)

Sangomas or witch doctors are both respected and feared, and consulted by a large part of the population. Their role in the traditional treatment of an illness, to deal with evil spirits or to protect against witchcraft is undisputed and often requires as a sacrifice an animal or other forms.

An unknown number of sangomas are involved in criminal ritualistic activities and acts, notably ritual murder. Reportedly, this is the case with the sangoma arrested in Mokomene village in Botlokwa, Limpopo province, earlier this week. Read the gruesome story below. The authorities are to be commended for their swift action. It is not excluded that more arrests will follow.

Warning: The articles’ graphic details may upset readers (FVDK)

Teen’s body parts missing, sangoma bust!

A sangoma has been arrested for the brutal murder of Modjadji Thoka, who was found mutilated.

Published: January 18, 2024
By: Daily Sun – South Africa

LIMPOPO police arrested a sangoma in connection with the brutal murder of Modjadji Thoka (18).

The sangoma (30) was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 17 January at Mokomene Village in Botlokwa, Limpopo.

Modjadji went missing on Friday, 5 January, and her mutilated body was found on Monday, 8 January, at an advanced stage of decomposition with her body parts removed.

She was found with her head, legs, hands, private parts and breasts missing.

This left villagers in shock and fuming as they wanted to know who committed the gruesome act.

Limpopo police spokesman Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said cops in Botlokwa made a breakthrough following the arrest of a 30-year-old man who is linked to the murder of Modjadji, whose body was found in the Botlokwa policing area.

“Through an intensive investigation, the suspect allegedly took the team to the place where he buried the head of Modjadji and was immediately arrested for murder,” he said.

Ledwaba said the arrest comes after police were notified about the discovery of the body of a woman at an abandoned house, and upon arrival at the scene, they found the body of the woman in an advanced state of decomposition.

“Further investigations revealed that the body was dismembered,” he said.

The suspect will appear before the Morebeng Magistrates Court soon while police investigations continue. 

Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Jan Scheepers praised the team for ensuring that the ruthless criminal is put behind bars.

“I also commend the community for providing crucial information. We are relieved that the suspect is arrested and expect more arrests,” said Scheepers.

Source: Teen’s body parts missing, sangoma bust!

More:

Traditional healer leads police to where he buried the head of 18-year-old girl after butchering her

The victim, 18-year-old Modjadji Niccol Thoka

Published: January 18, 2024
By: Linda Ikeji’s Blog

The police in South Africa have made a major breakthrough following the arrest of a 30-year-old Sangoma (traditional healer) who is linked to murder of an 18-year-old girl, Modjadji Niccol Thoka.  

Thoka’s lifeless body was found on the 8 January 2024, at Mokomene, Ga-Thoka village in Botlokwa policing area, Limpopo a few days after she went missing. 

She was found with several body parts missing, including her head, breasts, both hands and legs missing. Only her torso was discovered on the scene.  The incomplete body was only recognised by a family member after residents alerted them.   

According to police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, members of Provincial detectives and Botlokwa detectives activated an operation to trace and arrest the suspect. 

“In the early hours of Wednesday, 17 January 2024, the suspect was arrested at Mokomene village,” he said.  

“Through the intensive investigation the suspect allegedly took the team to the place where he buried the head of the deceased.  “He was immediately arrested for murder.

His arrest comes after Police were notified about the discovery of the lifeless body of a woman at an abandoned house.  

“Upon arrival at the scene, they found a body of the woman in an advanced state of decomposition. Further investigations, revealed that the body was dismembered,” Colonel Ledwaba added.   

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has praised the Police team that ensured that this ruthless criminal is put behind bars.   

He further commended the community and Police collaboration that resulted in the providing of crucial information.  “We are now relieved that the suspect is arrested and expect more arrests,” concluded Major General Scheepers. 

The suspect will appear before Morebeng magistrate’s court soon.  The police investigations are still ongoing.

13 comments

Source: Traditional healer leads police to where he buried the head of 18-year-old girl after butchering her

More:

Teen (18) found with missing body parts

Published: January 11, 2024
By: Daily Sun – South Africa

THE Thoka family from the small community of Mokomene in Botlokwa, Limpopo, could not have foreseen such a terrible start to the year 2024.

Five days into the new year, Modjadji Thoka (18) went missing on Friday, 5 January. 

Panicking, the family set off in search of the teenager.

It didn’t take long for the family to find their loved one, but it wasn’t a pretty find. On Monday, 8 January, Modjadji’s body was found mutilated and dumped in the bushes.

All that was left of her body was her skull. Her breasts, two legs, both hands and genitals had been cut out.

The teenager’s body was discovered by local residents who alerted the police and the family of the deceased.

This horrific discovery, believed to be the first of its kind in the area, has sent shockwaves through the community.

Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe has appealed to the public to provide information that could assist the cops in their investigations after the body of a woman was discovered at Mokomene in Ga-Thoka Village at about 9am on Monday, 8 January.

Hadebe told Daily Sun that the police responded to a report of a woman’s body abandoned in the bushes.

“When they arrived, they realised that the woman’s body was in an advanced stage of decomposition. The identity of the deceased could not be determined as the investigation is still at an early stage,” she said.

Hadebe said the motive for the gruesome crime was yet to be established.

“Anyone with information that can assist in the investigation is asked to contact the investigating officer, Captain Ngwetsana, on 082 718 9781 or the emergency number 08600 10111, the nearest police station or the MySAPS app,” Hadebe said.

Source: Teen (18) found with missing body parts

More:

Suspect linked to murder of an 18-year-old woman in Botlokwa, nabbed following intensive investigation

Published: January 17, 2024
By: Media Statement, South African Police Service, Office of the Provincial Commissioner Limpopo

POLOKWANE – The Police in Botlokwa have made a major breakthrough today following the arrest of a 30-year-old man, also a Traditional Healer, who is linked to murder of an 18-year-old Modjadji Niccol Thoka, whose lifeless body was found on 08 January 2024 , at Mokomene, Ga-Thoka village in Botlokwa policing area.

Members of Provincial Detectives and Botlokwa Detectives activated an operation to trace and arrest the suspect. In the early hours of Wednesday, 17 January 2024, the suspect was arrested at Mokomene village. Through the intensive investigation the suspect allegedly took the team to the place where he buried the head of the deceased. He was immediately arrested for murder.

His arrest comes after Police were notified about the discovery of the lifeless body of a woman at an abandoned house. Upon arrival at the scene, they found a body of the woman in an advanced state of decomposition.

Further investigations, revealed that the body was dismembered.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers, has praised the Police team that ensured that this ruthless criminal is put behind bars. He further commended the community and Police collaboration that resulted in the providing of crucial information. “We are now relieved that the suspect is arrested and expect more arrests,” concluded Major General Scheepers.

The suspect will appear before Morebeng Magistrate’s Court soon.

The Police investigations are still ongoing.

Ends

Enquiries:
Colonel Malesela Ledwaba
082 451 7180

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Website: www.saps.gov.za

Source: Suspect linked to murder of an 18-year-old woman in Botlokwa, nabbed following intensive investigation

More:

Botlokwa police investigate the gruesome discovery of the body of an 18-year-old woman

Published: January 10, 2024
By: Anita Nkonki – IOL, South Africa

The Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe has urged community members to provide valuable information that can assist the police in the investigation following the gruesome discovery of the body of a young woman.

A female was found dead at Mokomene, Ga-Thoka Village under Botlokwa policing precinct, North West, on Monday at about 9 am.

Police received a complaint about the body of a woman at an abandoned house and rushed to the scene.

Upon arrival, they found the body of the woman in an advanced state of decomposition.

“The deceased’s identity will be released in due course as the investigation is still in its preliminary stages. The motive behind this gruesome act is not yet established.”

Source: Botlokwa police investigate the gruesome discovery of the body of an 18-year-old woman

And:

Police in Limpopo are appealing for information after a body of a woman was found at an abandoned house.
Source: Decomposing body of woman found at abandoned house in Limpopo village, January 9, 2024

More:

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Teenager’s murder shocks Limpopo community

Published: January 12, 2024
By: YouTube

Please note, that the following report contains graphic content which may upset some viewers. Some residents at Mokomene village at Botlokwa in Limpopo say they feel unsafe after the discovery of the mutilated body of an 18-year-old girl. Modjadji Thoka’s decomposed remains were found in an abandoned house. Her family reported her missing last week. Angry community members have called on the police to intensify their investigation.

Screenshot. To watch the video click here.
Warning: GRAPHIC CONTENT: Teenager’s murder shocks Limpopo community

Source: YouTube – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Teenager’s murder shocks Limpopo community

Limpopo Province, South Africa

Nigeria, Adamawa State: man who confessed being a witch and turning his neighbour into a chicken almost lynched to death

The following article contains a weird story. It’s not about a ritual murder or ritualistic act, although witchcraft could be included in the category of ritualistic acts. The common base is superstition and the belief in the supernatural impact of one’s occult acts or deeds.

Whatever the explanation may be of the behavior of the man who believes that he is a witch and has turned his neighbor into a chicken, the reason to include this article is the wish to demonstrate that also in Adawama State superstition, witchcraft and other ritualistic acts including murder exist. See my postings of 2018: Ritual Killings – over 20 children missing in Adamawa State, 2019: (Ritual killers on rampage in Adamawa State (a 2014 article, and 2021: Adamawa State: Rev. Dr Kehinde Babarinde: ‘The church must speak out against the ritual killing of women’.

Adamawa State is located in located in the North East geopolitical zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones commonly called zones. 

Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones

Adamawa State is one of Nigeria’s largest states, it is the eight largest in land mass ( with a total land mass of 36,917 km2. It is Nigeria thirteenth least populous state with an estimated population of 6 – 7 million people. Adamawa State is mainly inhabited by Fulani people. Other ethnic groups in Adamawa State are the Mumuye, Higi, Kapsiki, Chamba, Margi (Marghi), Hausa, Kilba, Gude, Wurkum, Jukun, and Bata peoples. An estimated 100 indigenous ethnic groups live in this northeastern state which borders Cameroon.
Adamawa State is also religiously very diverse. About 50% of the population is Muslim and 40% is Christian while the remaining 10% are adherents of traditional ethnic religions.
(Source: Wikipedia.)
(webmaster FVDK)

For the official website of the Adawama State government: click here

Man confesses to being a witch and turning his neighbour into a chicken in Adamawa State

Published: August 15, 2023
By: Azonuchechi Chukwu – Naija247News, Nigeria

Ms Azonuchechi Chukwu has a BSC holder in mass communication Ebonyi State University

A 23-year-old man identified as Tangla Isuwa, was almost lynched to death in Adamawa State after he allegedly confessed to being a witch and turning his neighbour, Danladi Markus, “to a chicken for three weeks.”

Tangla, who hails from Dong community in Demsa Local Government Area of the state, allegedly said he bewitched Markus and made him sick for allegedly killing his father by witchcraft in the community.

It was gathered that some youths in the community descended on Tangla and beat him up in an attempt to kill him for the alleged crime.

Spokesman of the state police command, SP Suleiman Yahaya Nguroje, who confirmed the incident on Monday, August 14, 2023, said about 15 persons have been arrested for allegedly assaulting the suspect.

During interrogation by the PPRO, Tangla said that in 2020, a man known as Mabudi gave him charms to fortify himself, explaining that Mabudi had asked him to mix the charms with white chicken and eat after cooking it.

Tangla said after he had eaten the chicken mixed the charms, he started seeing animals like rats, horses and cattle with 3 legs and sometimes 6 legs without other people seeing them.

Tangla said that it was at this point in time that he knew he had been initiated into occultism, saying that since then, he became a full fledged witch.

He further narrated that his biological father died this year, and alleged that it was Danladi Markus and his step father known as Absalom who killed him by witchcraft.

According to him, after the death of his father, he met Mabudi and informed him about his plan to retaliate by killing Danladi Markus by witchcraft.

He said that he caught Danladi’s spirit by 2:00am and handed him over to other witches where they tied him with ropes on a mango tree, saying that Danladi became critically ill.

He pointed out that a family meeting was summoned, and that at the meeting, Danladi started mentioning his name and that of Mabudi as those responsible for his sickness

He said that Mabudi escaped from the venue of the meeting leaving him behind, and that immediately, some youths in the community stormed the meeting and forced him to “lose” Danladi or be killed.

Tangla explained that he had pleaded with the youths to wait until 12:00am for him to lose Danladi and assured them that he won’t be killed.

According to him, he went into the spirit and untied him, but that he suffered a lot because Mabudi did not want him to “lose Danladi but to slaughter him for meat.”

Tangla Isuwa assured that he had succeeded in releasing Danladi and that he is at the moment sound and healthy.

He insisted that he is a witch but vehemently denied killing anybody.

Source: Man confesses to being a witch and turning his neighbour into a chicken in Adamawa

Map of Nigeria showing Adamawa State among the 36 states of the Federation

A manifesto for a skeptical Africa

The article presented below, written by the famous Nigerian human rights activist and humanist Dr. Leo Igwe, is a must-read. His manifesto is highly recommended to all readers. It is more than a reflection, it is more than a plea, it is more than a cry – for change or for understanding. As Dr. Igwe writes: “Africans must begin to think freely in order to ‘emancipate themselves from mental slavery’ and generate ideas that can ignite the flame of an African enlightenment.” And Dr. Igwe is not alone, he is not the only one who firmly believes this approach is the only way for Africa and Africans to move forward – as can be concluded from the list of African endorsers and other endorsers from around the world, presented at the end of his article.

Enough words written to recommend a piece that you shouldn’t miss! Enjoy the reading, and … spread the word!

PS Unfortunately, a few links in the original article are broken and/or not working properly (webmaster FVDK).

A Manifesto for a Skeptical Africa

What are the prospects for a more secular Africa, more skeptical Africa, more scientific Africa, i.e., a more humanistic Africa?

Published: December 2, 2023
Written By: Dr. Leo Igwe – Publshed By: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

For too long, African societies have been identified as superstitious, consisting of people who cannot question, reason or think critically. Dogma and blind faith in superstition, divinity and tradition are said to be the mainstay of popular thought and culture. African science is often equated with witchcraft and the occult; African philosophy with magical thinking, myth-making and mysticism, African religion with stone-age spiritual abracadabra, African medicine with folk therapies often involving pseudoscientific concoctions inspired by magical thinking. Science, critical thinking and technological intelligence are portrayed as Western — as opposed to universal — values, and as alien to Africa and to the African mindset. An African who thinks critically or seeks evidence and demands proofs for extraordinary claims is accused of taking a “white” or Western approach. An African questioning local superstitions and traditions is portrayed as having abandoned or betrayed the essence of African identity. Skepticism and rationalism are regarded as Western, un-African, philosophies. Although there is a risk of overgeneralizing, there are clear indicators that the continent is still socially, politically and culturally trapped by undue credulity.

Many irrational beliefs exist and hold sway across the region. These are beliefs informed by fear and ignorance, misrepresentations of nature and how nature works. These misconceptions are often instrumental in causing many absurd incidents, harmful traditional practices and atrocious acts. For instance, not too long ago, the police in Nigeria arrested a ‘robber’ goat which they said was a thief who suddenly turned to a goat. A Nigerian woman was reported to have given birth to a horse. In Zambia, a local school closed temporarily due to fears of witchcraft. In Uganda, there are claims of demonic attacks in schools across the country. Persecution and murder of alleged witches continue in many parts of the continent. Many Africans still believe that their suffering and misfortune are caused by witchcraft and magic. In Malawi, belief in witchcraft is widespreadRitual killing and sacrifice of albinos and other persons with disabilities take place in many communities, and are motivated by paranormal belief. Across Africa people still believe in the potency and efficacy of juju and magic charms. Faith-based abuses are perpetrated with impunity. Jihadists, witch-hunters and other militants are killing, maiming and destroying lives and property. Other-worldly visions and dogmatic attitudes about the supernatural continue to corrupt and hamper attempts by Africans to improve their lives. Even with the continent’s ubiquitous religiosity, many African states are to be found at the bottom of the Human Development Index and on the top of the poverty, mortality and morbidity indices.

Recently Africa was polled as the most devout region in the world, and this includes deep devotion to the continent’s various harmful superstitions. Devoutness and underdevelopment, poverty, misery and superstition co-exist and co-relate. It should be said that the dominant religious faiths in the region are faiths alien to the continent. That means African Christians are more devout than Europeans whose missionaries brought Christianity to Africa. African Muslims are more devout than Muslims in the Middle East, whose jihadists and clerics introduced Islam to the region.

Meanwhile, whatever good these foreign belief systems may have brought to or done in Africa can only be unfavorably compared to the damage and darkness they have caused and are still causing in the region. Some paranormal or supernatural claims of the two main religions of Christianity and Islam are part of the factors holding Africans hostage. Most Africans cannot think freely or express their doubts openly because these religions have placed a huge price on freethinking and critical inquiry. Because these belief systems rely on paranormal claims themselves, Africans feel they cannot speak out against superstition as a whole, or they will be ostracized or even killed by religious zealots. Belief in demonic possession, faith healing, and the “restorative” power of holy water can have deadly consequences for believers and whole communities. Africans must reject superstitious indoctrination and dogmatization in public institutions. Africans need to adopt this cultural motto: Dare to think. Dare to doubt. Dare to question everything in spite of what the superstitious around you teach and preach.

Africans must begin to think freely in order to ‘emancipate themselves from mental slavery’ and generate ideas that can ignite the flame of an African enlightenment.

The two dominant religions have fantastic rewards for those who cannot think, the intellectually conforming, unquestioning and obedient, even those who kill or are killed furthering their dogmas. They need to be told that the skeptical goods — the liberating promises of skeptical rationality — are by far more befitting and more beneficent to Africans than imaginary rewards either in the here and now or in the hereafter.  Today the African continent has become the new battleground for the forces of a dark age. And we have to dislodge and defeat these forces if Africa is to emerge, grow, develop and flourish. To some people, the African predicament appears hopeless. The continent seems to be condemned, doomed and damned. Africa appears to be in a fix, showing no signs of change, transformation and progress. An African enlightenment sounds like a pipe dream.

But I do not think this is the case — an African Age of Reason can be on the horizon! The fact is that there are many Africans who reason well and think critically. There are Africans who are skeptics and rationalists1. But active African skeptics are too few and far apart to form the critical mass the continent needs to experience a Skeptical Spring. Nonetheless, the momentum is building slowly and steadily. And one can say that an African skeptical awakening is in sight. As it is said: the darkest part of the night precedes the dawn. So there is no need to despair for humanity in Africa. There is every reason to be optimistic and hopeful. After all, Europe went through a very dark period in its history, in fact, a darker and more horrible phase than that which Africa is currently undergoing. Still the European continent survived to experience Enlightenment and modern civilization. Who ever thought that the Arab Spring would happen in our lifetime? So, African enlightenment can happen sooner than we expected. But it will not happen as a miracle. African enlightenment will not fall like manna from heaven. It requires — and will continue to require — hard work, efforts, sacrifice, courage and struggle by Africans and other friends who are committed to the values of enlightenment. In Europe, skeptics spoke out against harmful superstition, and unfounded dogma and caused the dawn of a new awakening. African skeptics need to speak out against the forces of dogma, irrationalism and superstition ravaging the continent. Skeptics need to organize and mobilize — online and offline — to further the cause of reason, science and critical thinking. They need to speak out in the media and to politicians about the harm resulting from undue credulity and  challenge and confront the charlatans directly to put up or shut up. Skeptics can no longer afford to keep quiet or remain indifferent in the face of a looming dark age.  They need to campaign for a reform of the educational system and encourage the teaching of critical thinking in schools.

Many charlatans operate out there in their communities. They ‘mine’ popular fears and anxietiesexploiting desperate, misinformed folks. We need to expose them and free our people from their bondage. African skeptics cannot remain passive and inactive and expect skeptical rationality to thrive and flourish or expect the forces of dogma and superstition to simply disappear. The situation requires active engagement by committed skeptics. That was how the much-talked-about skeptical tradition in the Western world was established and is sustained. 

That is how we are going to build and leave a skeptical legacy for Africa. 

This is a call to duty to all African skeptics in Africa and in the diaspora. History has thrust on us this critical responsibility which we must fulfill. Let us therefore marshal our will to doubt, to advance skepticism in the interest of Africa. Let us marshall other intellectual resources and cause this new dawn — this skeptical awakening to happen early in this 21st century. 

African skeptics arise.

1  Skeptical and rationalist groups are gaining ground in Africa. Here are a few worth supporting: 


African Endorsers

George Thindwa, Executive Director, Association for Secular Humanism, Malawi
Mandla Ntshakala, Activist, Swaziland
Jacques Rousseau, Lecturer, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Ebou Sohna, Gambia Secular Assembly, Gambia
Graham Knight, Humanist Association of Ghana, Accra Ghana
Olajide Akeredolu MD, Lagos, Nigeria
Jes Petersen, Director, Springboard Humanism, Botswana
Wilfred Makayi, Humanist Activist, Zambia
James Ibor, Attorney, Basic Rights Counsel, Calabar, Nigeria
Robert Bwambale, Founder & Executive Director, Kasese United Humanist Association, 
Uganda
Kato Mukasa, HALEA, Kampala, Uganda

Other Endorsers from Around The World

James Randi, Founder, James Randi Educational Foundation, USA
Michael Shermer, Executive Director, Skeptics Society, USA
Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, USA
D.J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation, USA
Paul Kurtz, Founder, Institute for Science and Human Values, USA
Toni Van Pelt, Policy Director, Institute for Science and Human Values
Hemant Mehta, Blogger, Friendly Atheist
Susan Sackett, Writer and Vice President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, USA
Sonja Eggerickx President, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Belgium 
Josh Kutchinsky, founder and co-moderator Hummay, International Humanists 
Support egroup
Ophelia Benson, Author and Blogger, USA
Guy P. Harrison, Writer, USA
Ike Francis, Human Rights Activist, USA
Lorann Sims-Nsimba, Africa Awake Freethought Alliance, USA
Matt Cherry, International Representative, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
Bob Churchill – International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), UK
Norm Allen, International Outreach Director, Institute for Science and Human Values, USA
Dr Bill Cooke, Director of International Programs for the Center for Inquiry, USA 
Canberra Skeptics Inc, Australia 
Australian Skeptics (Victorian Branch)
John Perkins, The Secular Party of Australia

More signatories to be added in the future.

Source: A Manifesto for a Skeptical Africa