Leo Igwe does not need any introduction. Multiple times I have posted articles on this indefatigable human rights champion. See e.g. my October 25, 2021 posting.
The belief in witchcraft and the weak rule of law in many African countries contribute to mob justice (or ‘jungle justice’ as this popular act is also called) and lynchings of perceived witches. In Kenya e.g., as in many other African countries, mob justice is criminal. Nevertheless, up to five incidents are reported (!) weekly in this East African country. The reader may guess what happens in other African countries… (FVDK).
Witchcraft Persecution and Advocacy without Borders in Africa
Published: March 3, 2023 By: This Day – Nigeria
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges Africans to campaign against abuses linked to witchcraft beliefs everywhere. This call follows the rescue of Nigerian nationals, who were accused of witchcraft in Kenya. As reported, the police rescued these Nigerians in Thika Town in Kiambu County. It was stated that an angry mob beat and almost lynched them while they were performing some rituals. These Nigerians claimed that they were conducting some prayers. It was not stated the kind of prayers that they were conducting. The police intervened, resisted the mob, and took these nationals, who sustained some injuries, to a nearby hospital.
The Advocacy for Alleged Witches commends the Kenya police for intervening and rescuing these foreign nationals. As in many parts of Africa, witchcraft accusation is a killer phenomenon, and a death sentence. These foreign nationals were fortunate. Police rescued them. In many instances, the police arrive late, after the damage has been done.
Recently, Kenya recorded incidents of witch persecution and killing. Last week, two elderly women, accused of witchcraft, were lynched in Murang’a County. There is still no information regarding the arrest and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of this heinous crime. In other African countries, such as Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, accusations of witchcraft and witch persecution take place. Alleged witches have been attacked, killed, or banished. However, in most cases, locals are the target.
People often accuse members of their neighbors, members of their family or community. This incident draws attention to the fact that foreigners are also at risk of being accused. Africans should look beyond their borders in advocating against witchcraft-linked violations. People often demonize strange and unfamiliar prayer and ritual forms. They regard them as evil, as invocations of occult harm. African Christians and Muslims have been indoctrinated to demonize, occultize and witchcraftize religious others, especially traditional religions or any ritual forms that deviate from religion, as they know it.
As this incident has illustrated, those who conduct prayers and rituals that depart from local norms are at risk of being accused of witchcraft and evil magic. Witchcraft accusation is a threat to the lives of Africans everywhere. Africans should not look the other way as alleged witches are attacked and killed in other countries. They should know that everyone is at risk of being accused or killed for witchcraft, whether you are a local or a foreigner. Africans should strive to advocate against witchcraft accusations and witch persecution without borders.
Another suspected ritual murder in Uganda. This time an eight-year old boy was killed apparently for ritual proposes. The boy, Yasin Sserunga, who was a pupil at Destiny Primary School, was found dead with head and toes missing.
A suspect was arrested but his arrest won’t bring back the boy to his parents who are unable to recover from their grief at their son’s death. They pay the price for someone’s belief in witchcraft and superstition. (webmaster FVDK).
Family piles pressure on police to recover head of suspected ritual victim
Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.
Published: March 3, 2023 By: Mazima – Uganda (thanks to URN)
A family in Luwero District has asked the Police to find the head of an eight-year-old boy who was killed in a suspected ritual murder.
Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.
Sserunga was found dead the next day with his head and toes missing. Sserunga’s torso was buried at Kasanga village in Nakasongola District but to date, the Police are yet to recover the head and other parts.
Yasin Sserunga, the father of the deceased says that two weeks ago, residents arrested a key suspect Robert Mawanda, a neighbor, and handed him to Police but investigations have dragged on.
Sserunga says the family is still in pain for burying their child without some body parts. He also fears that the police may release the key suspect because they have detained him for two weeks without appearing in court, which is contrary to the mandatory 48 hours.
Abubaker Sande Ssebwoya, the uncle to the deceased says that the suspect was linked to the murder after residents and relatives found him at the scene of the crime at around 2 am when they were searching for Sserunga.
Ssebwoya adds that the Police also obtained phone printouts that linked the suspect to the scene and other people have recorded statements on the matter.
The child’s family abandoned their home after the murder and are staying with relatives.
Patrick Lule, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson has asked the family to remain calm because the police are determined to ensure they get justice and recover the missing body parts.
Lule says that Police detained Mawanda but he has denied participation in the ritual murder and knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing body parts.
Lule, however, notes that the Police are pursuing scientific investigations to link him to the murder and his file has been sent to the State Attorney to sanction charges against him.
According to the Police report, 58 people were murdered in 2022 in Luwero and the district ranked eighth in the country with the highest number of homicide cases.
Father Cyril Imohiosen, a Nigerian priest who is a SMA Father and a student at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida, followed in the footsteps of his predecessors when speaking at a catholic Mass with Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito marking Black History Month at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Riviera Beach, lashing out against ritual killing and witchcraft practices in Tanzania.
Father Imohiosen is to be commended for raising his voice against these cruel practices in Tanzania. I proves once more that an increasing number of people no longer accept the excrescences of superstition based on ignorance and tolerated – sometimes even encouraged – by powerful people who benefit from it. (webmaster FVDK)
Christians must be ‘light in the darkness’ – speaking out against ritual killing in Tanzania
RIVIERA BEACH | At a Feb. 4, 2023, Mass with Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito marking Black History Month at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Riviera Beach, a visiting priest presented a call to action for those thirsting for rights, justice and peace.
Father Cyril Imohiosen, a Nigerian priest who is a member of the Society of African Missions and a student at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, urged parishioners in his homily to reach out to neighbors and be a positive influence in their communities and workplaces.
Speaking about his challenging experiences as a missionary in Tanzania, Father Imohiosen recalled incidences of ritual killing and elderly women being accused of witchcraft in order to steal their possessions.
“As a missionary, I had to speak out against this,” he said. “I had to shelter and protect these poor women and children from extortion, injustice, … Just as Martin Luther King never remained silent, the prophet invites us to speak out. Dear friends, are you speaking against all these or are you a perpetrator encouraging them? What is your relationship like with the people that live in your neighborhood? How sensitive are you to them? As we celebrate our love, our togetherness and our heritage as a people, let us listen to the voice of the prophet today.”
In the day’s first reading (Is 58:7-10), the prophet Isaiah tells the people of Israel to share their bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, and remove persecution from their midst.
“As he speaks to the Israelites, he speaks to each of us today,” Father Imohiosen said. “He invites us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. He invites us to live a life of justice. He invites us to live a life of love. He invites us to live a life of forgiveness and righteousness in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Regardless of where we come from, our race, our inclination, etc., we are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Connecting the Gospel reading (Mt 5:13-16) to societal needs, he encouraged all to be salt and light in the world.
“The presence of Christians in the world must be like light in the darkness,” Father Imohiosen said. “The light allows others to witness the acts of justice and love that followers of Christ perform. Just as a few grains of salt can make a big difference in food, so also a few faithful Christians can make a big difference in the world with their shining lights.”
For more information on St. Francis of Assisi Parish, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary March 18-19, visit https://stfrancisofassisi1948.org, on Facebook at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church – Riviera Beach, FL or call 561-842-2482.
It’s again a sad (and cruel) story. The reader is warned: the following article contains graphic details of a barbaric crime. This time it occurred in an eastern region of the vast Central African country Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Two tiny Central African countries Rwanda and Burundi are nearby. Is there a relationship with these countries where people with albinism are also often targeted by unscrupulous individuals? Who is responsible for this horrific act which left a young boy dead, a crime which was based on superstition and motived by greed? As soon as more will be known I will share it with you. Meanwhile we hope that the authorities are swift in their reaction, effective in their investigations, and without mercy to bring the perpetrator(s) to court to account for their ruthless and disgusting deed. (webmaster FVDK)
Witchcraft killer decapitates five-year-old albino boy and hacks off his legs in Congo
Published: February 2, 2023 By: Jack Newman – Mail Online, UK
Some believe people with albinism have magical powers in sub-Saharan Africa
Their body parts are often sold for thousands on the black market
A five-year-old albino boy has been decapitated and had his legs cut off by a witchcraft killer in the DR Congo.
Occult believers in sub-Saharan Africa believe the body parts of people with albinism carry magical powers and are regularly sold on the black market.
The young boy’s body was found in eastern DR Congo’s South Kivu province in the Kalehe area of South Kivu – a province that borders Rwanda and Burundi.
Only the arms and torso remained of the boy when he was discovered on Wednesday, and police are hunting for the killer.
Archimedes Karhebwa, assistant administrator of Kalehe territory said: ‘We condemn and deplore this new case of the murder of a 5-year-old albino, who was kidnapped by armed bandits for ulterior motives.’
Juvenal Lushule, who works for an albino association in South Kivu, said that 18 albinos had been killed in similar circumstances in the province since 2009.
He said: ‘This recent case disgusts us and does not surprise us, because we have always been victims of these barbarisms.’
Ten albino graves had also been profaned during that period, according to Lushule, and there were 22 kidnapping attempts.
As in several other African countries, albinos in the DRC are sometimes targeted due to the belief that their body parts can be used in magic rituals to bring fame and fortune.
Because of the superstition, their body parts can be sold for thousands of dollars and they are often targeted in ritual killings.
Some believe that having sex with an albino woman can also cure AIDS.
Albinism, caused by a lack of melanin, the pigment that colours skin, hair and eyes, is a genetic condition that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, especially in Africa.
Strange murders are happening in Binga District in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe. A 65-year old man of Mutunda village was brutally murdered in an apparent case of ritual murder. And a prominent pastor was shot after being accused of practicing witchcraft. Both cases are under investigation by the local police. (webmaster FVDK)
Prominent pastor shot on suspicion of witchcraft in Binga – strange deaths and murders happening in the district
Published: December 13, 2022 By: Zanele Ndlovu – Zimbabwe Independent
A pastor from Magobo village under Chief Siabuwa in Binga was last week shot by suspects that are yet to be arrested after they accused him of practising witchcraft.
The pastor, only identified as Ndendela was shot on the right hand at the Magangala area of Binga, amid revelations that he might have been shot by his relatives.
Chief Siabuwa who presides over wards 2 and 23 confirmed the incident yesterday saying the pastor’s children might have had a hand in the shooting.
“I suspect that his children hired gunmen from Zambia to shoot him after they had a misunderstanding about cattle and pointed him out as a witch,” chief Siabuwa said.
He blamed prophets for behaving in a wrong manner.
“Prophets are the ones that provoke the situation. They tell people that they are being bewitched without evidence, hence triggering the situation,” he said.
“I am conducting a meeting on December 15 to address these issues.”
Indications are that Ndendela was taken to Binga Hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Bulawayo where he is recovering.
A police officer who attended the scene said as police they are now teaching members of the public to stop using violence when solving issues.
“We are doing campaigns teaching people that eliminating by substitution is not a solution,” the police officer said.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson, Inspector Glory Banda said he was out of office when contacted for comment.
But sources in Binga said there are a lot of strange deaths and murder cases happening in the district.
The sources said another man was found dead last week in the same area.
However, Chief Siabuwa suspects that these could be ritual killings and called on police to intensify patrols in Binga.
Yesterday’s posting inspired me to draw once more attention to the plight of people with albinism in the southern African country of Malawi. The CNN article which I present below dates from June 2016. Aljazeerah published a similar article in 2017 which I posted on June 15, 2022. In a way the CNN and the Aljazeerah articles are about the same though the latter is much more comprehensive and detailed.
Let the CNN article below speak for itself. It describes a horrendous and scandalous situation, a grim reality. I’ve said it too often on this site. All people have a right to live without fear, it’s a fundamental human right, and each state has an obligation to protect its citizens and to uphold the rule of law and hold perpetrators accountable for their misdeeds.
Warning: some people may find the following article shocking because of its graphic contents (webmaster FVDK).
Hunting for humans: Malawian albinos murdered for their bones
Published: June 7, 2016 By: Dominique van Heerden – CNN
CNN — For Agness Jonathan, every day is a gamble with her children’s lives.
Simple questions like whether they should go to school carry an unimaginable risk of death and dismemberment to satisfy a barbaric demand.
This is because her daughters are living with albinism, a genetic condition resulting in little or no pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes. And this makes them a target.
It is children like Agness’ who, according to a newly released Amnesty International report, are being hunted like animals in Malawi where their bones are sold in the belief the body parts bring wealth, happiness and good luck.
The report chronicles the day-to-day lives of those living with the condition, and details the extent of a recent surge in killings of albinos living in the landlocked country in southern Africa.
The bloodiest month was April this year, when Amnesty says four people were murdered, including a baby.
One of the victims was 17-year-old Davis Fletcher Machinjiri, who left his home to watch a soccer game with a friend, but never returned.
The Malawian police say he was abducted by “about four men who trafficked him to Mozambique and killed him.” Describing his gruesome death, they say “the men chopped off both his arms and legs and removed bones. They then buried the rest of his body in a shallow grave.”
Since 2014 at least 18 albinos have been killed, another five have been abducted and are still missing.
And if it weren’t for alert locals, Agness’ youngest daughter Chakuputsa would be one of them.
She was grabbed by three men while her mother was out working the fields. Agness describes how villagers chased after the men who eventually dumped the child in the bushes nearby. It turned out one of the attackers was a relative, someone, Agness tells Amnesty, she had considered like a brother. This, the community says, is all too common.
Attackers are known to sell body parts to witchdoctors in Malawi and neighboring Mozambique, hoping to make quick money.
Amnesty says “thousands of people with albinism are at severe risk of abduction and killing by individuals and criminal gangs,” while the United Nations warns that Malawi’s albinos are at risk of “total extinction.”
Grace Mazzah, a board member of the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi, is always aware of the price on her head.
A former ULIMO commander stands trial in France accused of war crimes, human rights violations, murder and cannibalism.
For shortness sake reference is made to Civitas Maxima’s monitoring of the arrest and trial of Kunti Kamara, a former ULIMO commander who was arrested in France in 2018. Kunti Kamara is accused of war crimes and human rights violations including torture, rape, murder and cannibalism committed during Liberia’s first civil war (1989-1997) in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia. His trial started in Paris/France on October 10.
Kunti Kamara is not the first or only rebel commander who’s being accused of ritual murder and cannibalism. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission mentions in its 2009 Final Report that hundreds of Liberians were murdered for ritual purposes during the two civil wars. In his book The Mask of Anarchy (1999), the late Stephen Ellis accuses the leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) who started Liberia’s first civil war, Charles Taylor, of drinking human blood during a juju ritual. Also Gibril Massaquoi, a RUF commander in neighboring Sierra Leone and a key-witness in the SCSL trial of warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, was accused of murder for ritual purposes, but acquitted in April (2022). (webmaster FVDK).
“I would never eat human heart” – Kunti Kamara denies accusation before a French War Crimes court
Published: October 18, 2022 By: Prue Clarke, Front Page Africa – Monrovia, Liberia
PARIS, France – The former Ulimo commander Kunti Kamara, on trial here for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia’s civil wars, had his first chance to make a substantive response to the allegations made against him in the first five days of this trial.
Under questioning from the judges, civilian lawyers and prosecution lawyers Kamara denied all the accusations that victims have made against him of torture, rape, murder of civilians and “barbarism” in the town of Foya in Lofa County, Liberia between 1993 and 1994.
Kamara told the nine-person jury and four alternates that the accusations of cannibalism – that he roasted and ate the heart of a civilian who had allegedly reported his crimes to international observers – made him sick.
“Since I was arrested nothing bothered me in the trial like what they’re talking about now. Eating human beings,” Kamara said. “Even if I spend 100 years in jail I will not admit to eating a human being’s heart. Each time I hear it I want to vomit.”
“Since I was born until today I never eat pork,” said Kamara a Muslim. “Why should I eat human being heart? I have nothing to say. I am innocent. I don’t know them today. I don’t know them tomorrow.”
Kamara denied that he had ever knew anyone who had said they ate human heart including in rituals of the Poro, a traditional African society.
“Since I was small that is a rumor in the ear,” he said of Poro human sacrifice and consumption of human flesh. “But I never met anyone who said they ate heart.”
Kamara insisted that the Ulimo committed no atrocities against civilians in the four-month period he was with them in Foya though he conceded Ulimo may have committed atrocities elsewhere during the war.
He said Ulimo in Foya was under the ultimate command of Ulimo Commander Dekau. Kamara said his mandate was only as battalion commander in charge of platoons “on the frontlines”. He denied any leadership role in the town over civilians.
Kamara acknowledged Ulimo fighters that victims have identified in this trial “Ugly Boy”, “Fine Boy” and Alieu Kosiah, convicted of war crimes in Switzerland in 2021, were all with him in Foya but Kamara claimed he hardly ever saw them.
Kamara blamed the accusations that have brought him to trial here were part of a “plot” orchestrated by “a clique” led by Fayah Williams, the late deputy director at Global Justice and Research Project, the Liberian justice activists.
Late in the evening Massa Washington, the former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, gave a powerful testimony that could prove decisive in the trial.
It was designed to answer questions that jurors may have had about whether they should be passing judgement on a Liberian for crimes committed 30 years ago in a country a long way away. That was a question French journalists were asking eachother on the sidelines of the trial.
“These trials are important because they give them people of Liberia justice,” an emotional Washington told the jury. “They give us hope that one day we’ll be able to get justice with our own judges, our own prosecutors, on our own soil. In the meantime we are grateful that some of the people who committed these gross violations of human rights who are in this country, in the US, in every country in the world where they find them they can try to bring them to justice. In the absence of our government addressing accountability these trials are the Liberian people have.”
Washington thanked the jury.
“It sends a message that we belong to the universal human race,” Washington said. “It says that the world has not forgotten Liberia. It says that we all share that common human dignity. We have the same needs. We feel the same pain. We thank you for the opportunity to tell some of these stories. I hope this has provided an important clarification for why this trial is important.”
Washington told some of the horrors she had personally witnessed as a journalist in Monrovia during the first civil war. The jury was riveted by her testimony which made clear that the testimony they were hearing from witnesses here was just a fraction of the myriad atrocities that had been committed during the war. She told of rapes of girls as young as five and of elderly women. She said her work with women made it clear to her than many of the elderly women had not come forward to the TRC hearings because of the stigma.
She told the story of an 82-year-old woman who told her she was made a war wife.
“’I was raped all the time by boys who could have been my grandchildren,’” Massa quoted the woman as saying. “Her story is just one story that represents thousands of stories. The rebels were so bad that when people were on checkpoints trying to get away from the fighting the rebels were raping the wives in front of the husbands. They even forced sons to have sex with mothers in front of the family to destroy the men. They took the young girls away.”
Earlier in the day the fifth victim to testify against Kamara detailed the alleged torture, killing and cannibalism of a schoolteacher in Foya that all victims have claimed was directed by the defendant.
He also talked more broadly of the suffering of people in Lofa during Ulimo’s occupation of the town. His telling of the experience of the women he had planned to marry was a harrowing example of the broader suffering of the people.
“M. was my girlfriend and Ugly Boy took her as a sex slave,” the victim told the Paris court talking of the now deceased perpetrator that many victims have alleged was Kamara’s lieutenant who followed his orders to commit many of the crimes. The court has ordered press to withhold victims’ names for their security.
“This was another blow to me,” the victim told the court. ”I really planned to marry her. The first time I saw her after the war, it was painful, but it had happened. She was not at fault. I saw her but the stigma was too heavy. I could no longer take her as a wife. By tradition anyone who takes a wife after that is easily rejected from society. In addition, because of her time as a sex slave, she conceived. I am feeling it for her now because her situation is too deplorable.”
The trial continues Tuesday with more testimonies from victims about the murder of a woman in Lofa.
This story is a collaboration with New Narratives as part of the West Africa Justice Reporting Project.
Liberia: “You are Kundi. You killed my sister” A third victim identifies Kamara as perpetrator in War Crimes Trial
Published: October 19, 2022 By: Anthony Stephens and Prue Clarke with New Narratives, Front Page Africa – Monrovia,
PARIS, France – On Tuesday a third victim identified Kunti Kamara, on trial for torture, cannibalism and crimes against humanity in the Paris Court, as “Co Kundi” the rebel commander who allegedly committed atrocities in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia.
The man was one of four plaintiffs who have brought the case against Kamara here in Paris, France where Kamara was living when he was arrested in 2019 after French investigators built a case against him.
“You are Kundi,” the man said turning to look at Kamara directly, barely containing his obvious emotion and rage. The plaintiff pointed at Kamara who was sitting behind his lawyers in a protective glass case. “I know you very well. You the one that killed my sister.”
The now elderly man told the court Kamara arrived at his house in Foya in late 1993 after the man’s sister’s baby had died. He alleged Kamara gave the family $L100 for their pain.
Soon after that Kamara allegedly ordered the victim’s sick and half naked sister – the mother of the child – dragged from the house. He accused her of witchcraft. The victim said Kamara and his troops had taken over the house for themselves and already had his wife, son and mother in custody at the time. Kamara did not know the man, who was standing with a crowd, was a member of the family.
The victim was overcome with tears as told the court that he had watched as Kamara put three bullets in his sister’s head.
Within months the man’s mother was also dead from illness. The victim blamed Kunti for the grief the murder of his sister had caused her.
“She cried every day,” he said. “So she became sick from not seeing my sister.”
The lawyer for the civil parties asked the victim if he had anything to say to Kamara but he took the opportunity to issue a warning to the judges instead.
“I’m very happy to see all the officers to take care of Kundi,” he said pointing to the court officers who accompany the defendant at all times. “This government should not leave Kundi to come back to Liberia.”
Kamara rejected all the allegations as he has done consistently throughout this trial.
“I’m just shocked,” an agitated Kamara told the president of the court Thierry Fusina. “I don’t know him. These people, it’s my first time to see them in my life. I don’t know them! They are lying on me. I’m not a criminal.”
Earlier in the day another witness to the alleged murder of the sick woman accused of witchcraft gave evidence that appeared to contradict testimony that he gave to an earlier investigating judge in the case.
Reports on ritual killings in Madagascar are rare – which should not be understood as being the same as the absence of ritualistic murders – but the position of people with albinism (PWA) on this large Indian Ocean island is fragile, as I reported earlier this year (see my April 3 and June 16 postings).
A recent attack on a child with albinism in Ikongo, about 50 miles southeast of the capital Antananarivo, angered a mob which subsequently tried to invade a police station where four suspects of the kidnapping were being held in custody. The consequences can be read below.
The rule of law is a good thing, mob justice cannot be tolerated, but questions can be asked about the conditions and reasons which prompted police officers to use their deadly weapons.
Apart from this question, we would like to know the outcome of the interrogations of the four suspects and – above all – which measures the government of President Andry Rajoelina is taking to improve and protect the position of people with albinism on this large island.
Madagascar is an island situated east of the African continent, in the Indian Ocean, separated from mainland Africa by the Mozambique Channel.
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and the world’s second largest island-country (after Indonesia). It has a population of nearly 30 million people (2022). (webmaster FVDK)
Cops shoot dead 14 people and wound 28 in Madagascar as they open fire on crowd trying to break into police station to kill four men accused of kidnapping albino child
A crowd of 500 angry villagers descended on the Ikongo police station
They were demanding officers hand over the four alleged kidnappers
When they refused to back down, police opened fire, killing 14 people
Police in Madagascar have shot dead at least 14 people and wounded 28 others after opening fire on a crowd of protesters angered at the kidnapping of an albino child.
A crowd of around 500 angry villagers armed with machetes and knives descended on the local police station in Ikongo calling for the release of the four suspects arrested yesterday, so they could be dealt with by the mob.The demonstrators then ‘tried to force their way in’ to the station, a police officer told AFP.
‘There were negotiations, the villagers insisted,’ the officer said over the phone, adding police fired smoke grenades and shots in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
‘They continued to force their way through… We had no choice but to defend ourselves,’ the police officer said.
Local doctor Tango Oscar Toky said ‘nine people died on the spot’ and another five died later in hospital.
Nine of those injured were in a critical condition, he said.
‘The gendarmes… fired on the crowd,’ local lawmaker Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa in the southeastern town of Ikongo told AFP.
Some sub-Saharan African countries have suffered a wave of assaults against people with albinism, whose body parts are sought for witchcraft practices in the mistaken belief that they bring luck and wealth.
Because of the superstition, their body parts can be sold for thousands of dollars and they are often targeted in ritual killings.
Some believe that having sex with an albino woman can also cure AIDS.
The kidnapping took place last week, according to Razafintsiandraofa, an MP for the Ikongo district about 50 miles southeast of the capital Antananarivo.
No further details were immediately available.
Madagascar, a large Indian Ocean island country, is ranked among the poorest in the world.
Today’s posting and included article are a follow-up to a previous posting earlier this year, reporting the conviction of a Catholic priest and 11 others who had been on trial accused of murdering a man with albinism, MacDonald Masambuka, in 2018 (see my posting of May 4, 2022). Malawi is one of the unsafest places in Sub-Sahara Africa for people with albinism. Amnesty International has reported that at least 170 crimes targeted people living with albinism in Malawi since 2014. An estimated 20 of them were murders.
Though we welcome the rule of law leading to the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of the murderers of 22-year old MacDonald Masambuka, there is still a long way to go before all perpetrators of heinous crimes targeting people with albinism in Malawi face the full weight of justice. (webmaster FVDK)
Malawi priest sentenced to 30 years for murder of man with albinism
The killing of people with albinism is linked to rituals associated with witchcraft
Published: June 30, 2022 By: Fredrick Nzwili – Catholic News service
The Church will let justice take its course after the High Court in Malawi sentenced a priest to 30 years in prison for the murder of a man with albinism, said Archbishop George Desmond Tambala, president of the Malawian bishops’ conference.
Five other suspects were handed life sentences. One of them was the victim’s brother.
“We were shocked and we stand by the victims of that very terrible crime,” Archbishop Tambala told Catholic News Service June 29. “We have offered all the cooperation to see justice is done. We are shocked and we are at pains.”
“We as a church always preach about justice,” he added. “We have always stood by the people who are victims. We will let justice take its course. We stand by the rule of the law.”
The court handed down the sentence June 27. A judge sitting in the city of Blantyre said Father Thomas Muhosha had planned to sell the body parts of MacDonald Masambuka, 22, violently killed in 2018. Masambuka was lured into a death trap after his killers lied that they had found him a wife.
The victim went missing from his village in southern Malawi in February 2018. Nearly a month later, his burned, limbless body was found buried in a garden at the home of one of his killers.
“There is an issue with our African culture, and I think the whole church in sub-Saharan Africa needs to confront some beliefs, which I think are very dangerous”
Recently, Malawi has experienced violent attacks on people with albinism. Last year, Amnesty International reported the occurrence of at least 170 crimes targeting people living with albinism in Malawi since 2014; 20 of them were murders.
“It’s very unusual and not part of us. The whole issue of killing albinos is very strange in Malawi. We do not know how we ended up in this kind of issue,” said Archbishop Tambala.
The attacks are driven by superstitious beliefs that body parts and bones from albinos bring wealth or good luck to those who possess them. Such cases also have been reported in Tanzania.
Although many hoped the sentencing in Malawi would deter any other future attacks and killings, Archbishop Tambala thinks otherwise.
“I think we need to go beyond that,” he said. “There is an issue with our African culture, and I think the whole church in sub-Saharan Africa needs to confront some beliefs, which I think are very dangerous.”
Also in Ghana, the Volta Region office of the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in collaboration with Plan International, Ghana, celebrated this year’s African Union Day of the African Child.
Mr Seth Kwasi Agbi, the District Chief Executive for South Tongu, in a keynote address, condemned all harmful acts such as child trafficking, child labour, and ritualistic murders which also victimize children. (webmaster FVDK)
NHRC advocates strong mechanisms to fight harmful practices against children
Published: June 17, 2022 By: Michael Olugbode, This Day – Nigeria
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reiterated the need to devise and strengthen national accountability mechanisms that will deter harmful practices against children, so as to enable them to attain all-around development in life.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu, stated this in his welcome remarks at the commemoration of the 2022 Day of the African Child (DAC).
He noted that the celebration was an opportunity to take stock of what has been done with regards to the adoption of policies and practices targeted at eliminating harmful practices affecting children in Nigeria.
Ojukwu, who was represented at the event by the Director of Monitoring Department, Mr. Benedict Agu, said the 2022 theme of the celebration: ‘Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013’, is appropriate as it seeks to address the peculiar human rights challenges affecting children.
He noted that these challenges, are negative harmful practices such as early/forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child trafficking among others.
He stated that against this background, the commission’s role in advancing the campaign to end harmful practices affecting children is hinged on its mandate to promote, protect and enforce the rights of all persons in Nigeria.
According to him, “Notably, the commission was a critical partner in the advocacy for the passage of the Child’s Rights Act 2003, and has been involved in continued advocacy for its adoption into Child Rights Laws of about 26 states of the federation.
“It is also a member of the State Child Rights Implementation Committee of several states in Nigeria and has continued to advocate for the mainstreaming of children’s rights in relevant policies of the government.”
Ojukwu stated that the commission has further prioritised Child Rights in its work through the creation of the Department of Women and Children, and the thematic team on the Rights of the Child, which have enabled it to take action against pervasive child rights abuses such as child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV), infanticide, child trafficking among others.
In her key message, a member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Ms. Aver She said the commemoration of DAC is an opportunity to sensitise duty bearers on the importance of engaging children in their own issues and promoting participation as well as inclusion in line with the principles of child participation.
Gavar, who is also the director of Human Rights Education and Promotion in the commission, said the focus of the DAC 2022 is also to respond to the high prevalence of harmful practices affecting children in different parts of Africa, including rape, FGM, child marriage, infanticide among others.
She urged the government to strengthen its child protection system through increased budgetary lines across sectors dealing with child rights implementation and through the establishment of one-step centres for integrated response to child survivors of rape, child marriage, FGM and all forms of violence against children.
In her remarks, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, disclosed that the ministry has made progress in spearheading a range of policy documents to address harmful cultural practices, like the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act (CRA) 2003, National Guidelines on Establishment of Child Care Institutions, and National Strategy on Elimination of Child Marriage.
The Volta Region office of the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in collaboration with Plan International, Ghana, have celebrated this year’s African Union Day of the African Child with a call to end harmful practices affecting children.
In an address, Mr Israel Akrobortu, the Volta Regional Director of the Department of Children, said some traditional customs and practices conflicted with children’s rights and were harmful to their development.
“Child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation are two of the most discriminatory harmful cultural practices that have been committed regularly over long periods that some communities and societies have come to accept,” he said.
Mr Akrobotu called on duty bearers to take urgent steps to stop such negative practices, which were affecting children, especially female genital cutting, to protect the vulnerable, especially girls from all unnecessary and dangerous practices.
Mr Seth Kwasi Agbi, the District Chief Executive for South Tongu, in a keynote address, said it was important to focus on the vital efforts of communities and child rights activists working on policies and practices to eliminate “these harmful practices affecting children on the continent.”
He explained that the acts, such as child trafficking, child labour, ritual murder, and defilement, if not curbed and eventually eliminated, would be detrimental to the growth and development of the continent.
Mr Alfred Dzikunoo, Programmes Coordinator, and a representative from Plan International, Ghana, said Plan Ghana had made many contributions to end the canker against the Ghanaian Child.
The interventions include empowering girls with life skills, knowledge and networks to become empowered agents of change in their own lives, engagement of duty-bearers such as GHS, DOVVSU, and DSW to improve education on child marriage FGM, and child labour.
Torgbi Atsugah Sogah Il, a Divisional chief from Fieve Traditional Area, implored participating students to be good ambassadors and serve as role models for other children in their communities as well as cultivate the habit of championing the right to education.
The 2022 celebration was on the theme: “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practices since 2013.”
Comboni Senior High Technical School garnered 18 points against 15 by Sogakope Senior High School (SOGASCO) to win the debate on the topic: “Has the policies on harmful socio-cultural practices affecting children since 2013 curbed the menace,?”
The “Day of the African Child” dates back to 1991 when the African Union (AU) initiated a remembrance of the children who lost their lives in a peaceful protest in Soweto, South Africa, in 1976.
The event attracted school children, officials from the South Tongu District Education Directorate, teachers, local government staff, and traditional rulers within the South Tongu District.