The article below is not specifically describing the actual situation in one or more African countries. The article is brief and superficial. The reason why I decided to post it here is that it illustrates the fact that ritualistic killings, human sacrifices, and the belief that sacrificing a human being in a ritual with the objective to please the gods or the ancestors are as old as mankind and have occurred or are still occurring all over the world.
It goes without saying that although these age-old practices occur world-wide, they have no place in the 3rd millennium of mankind. (webmaster FVDK)
SOME OF THE DEADLIEST HUMAN SACRIFICES IN HISTORY
Published: December 12, 2022 By: Oluwatomiwa Ogunniyi – Guardian, Nigeria
In the past, human sacrifices were prevalent all over the world. The manner in which they were carried out was dreadful and not for the faint-hearted. We have compiled a list of some of the deadliest human sacrifices in history; you wouldn’t believe some of them!
Persecution of People with albinism
Albinism is a genetically inherited condition that is very rare and it affects approximately one in every 20,000 people worldwide. Though rare in the western world, albinism is fairly common in sub-Saharan Africa, most likely, as a result of consanguineous alliances. Even though albinism occurs in both males and females and is not specific to any race or ethnic group, many still believe that it is a punishment from God or a result of hard luck.
Some Africans still believe that certain parts of an albino’s body have magical powers. This belief has led to many witch doctors and those seeking ingredients for their rituals to kill them. As a result, thousands of people with albinism have been killed and dismembered, and their graves of dug up and desecrated. The scary thing is that this practice is still common in Africa today.
The Lafkenches Tribe Sacrifice
In the year 1960, the strongest earthquake and tsunami ever recorded on the moment magnitude scale hit Chile, thereby, killing thousands of people and destroying many homes and properties in the process. This earthquake became known as the great Chilean earthquake and it led to widespread fear of the possible cause. The people came to the conclusion that the god of the sea was angry with them and so they decided to offer a sacrifice.
They chose a five-year-old child and sacrificed him in a horrifying manner: he had his legs and arms and was stuck into the sand of the beach like a stake and the beach carried him away so that the waters would be calmed. The culprits were arrested and charged but they were released after two years.
The Mayan Sinkhole Sacrifices
During the pre-Columbian era, the Mayans are known to have carried out all manner of ritual sacrifices, as they believed that human sacrifice was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. And one manner of sacrifice practised was the sinkhole, where they deposited valuables and human bodies into the cenote as a form of sacrifice to the rain god Chaac.
They also believed that the sinkholes and cenotes were portals to the underworld and they would appease dead spirits by offering human sacrifices to them. Explorers have discovered many sinkholes including the Sacred Cenote, a water-filled sinkhole at the pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site on Peninsula. Archaeological investigations have removed thousands of objects from the bottom of the cenote, including artefacts made from gold, jadeite, copal, wood, rubber and cloth, as well as thousands of human skeletons.
The Child Sacrifice in Carthage
Child sacrifices were very common in ancient cultures maybe because they believed that children possessed innocent souls and therefore were acceptable as forms of sacrifices to gods.
The Carthaginians would have a sacrificial fire pit where children would be thrown into by their parents. The practice became very repulsive to the Carthaginian parents who became tired of killing their own children. In response, they decided to buy children from neighbouring poor tribes, or care for their servant’s children who would then be offered as sacrifices. And during calamities like war, drought or famine, the priests demanded that even the youth be offered as a sacrifice. The sacrifices were carried out on a moonlit night, the children would be killed generously and their bodies would be tossed into the fiery pit amidst singing and dancing.
The Killing of Twins in Nigeria
This is another form of child sacrifice as the killing of twins was a cultural practice among some ethnic groups in Nigeria. Back then, multiple births were seen as an abomination against the earth deity and giving birth to twins was considered a bad omen that could bring devastation or calamity upon society. Twin babies were believed not to be humans but evil.
In 1876, Mary Slessor, a Scottish missionary assigned to Calabar, gradually worked towards changing the cultural belief that twins were evil. However, by 1915, following intervention by the British government, twins and their mothers were fully integrated into their communities.
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.
Perpetrators of human sacrifices in Uganda face severe punishments including the death penalty when found guilty of ritual murder. This does not scare certain individuals to engage in this cruel, gruesome and criminal practice, as the article below demonstrates. (webmaster FVDK).
The Daily Monitor and Daily Monitor Yahudu Kitunzi are to be commended for paying attention to this news.
Two witchdoctors arrested over child sacrifice in Mbale
Published: September 1, 2022 By: Yahudu Kitunzi, reporter Daily Monitor
What you need to know:
A detained suspect who led police to the crime scene on Thursday morning told detectives that “they killed the child for sacrifice.”
Police in Mbale City have arrested two witchdoctors who confessed involvement in the sacrifice of a five-year old boy who disappeared three weeks ago.
With some parts missing, the body of Rajibu Nasamba was Wednesday evening found buried in a sugarcane plantation along Kabwagasi Road in Namatala Ward, Northern Mbale City Division.
“The deceased disappeared and his parents reported the case of disappearance to police. We have arrested two suspects to help with investigations,” Elgon region Police Spokesperson, Mr Rogers Taitika confirmed.
He identified the suspects as Jamadah Isiko and Ibrahim Isiko, who are brothers and residents of Kiduda Cell in Namatala Ward in Mbale Industrial City Division.
Detained Isiko who led police to the crime scene on Thursday morning told detectives that “they killed the child for sacrifice.”
“It’s my brother who beheaded the boy and brought the body in the sugar cane for traditional rituals,” he said.
Preliminary police investigations indicate that the duo are also connected to the alleged sacrifice of a son to Mr Lukman Musamba.
Namatala ward resident Musamba said his son disappeared from home under unclear circumstances.
“I reported the disappearance of my son at Namatala police stations and I also placed radio announcements but in vain,” Mr Musamba, said.
Ms Mariam Mwiza, the Anti Human trafficking Activist, asked police to take the cases serious.
“The suspects shouldn’t be given a bond and thorough investigations should be conducted by police,” Ms Mwiza emphasized.
Mr Taitika disclosed that the suspects currently detained at Mbale central police station will be prosecuted but also cautioned parents to protect their children.
Human sacrifice in Uganda attracts severe punishments that may include life in jail or death.
Ritual murders, human sacrifices, money rituals, they recently resulted in the enactment of a law by the Ugandan parliament introducing the capital punishment for convicted perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Meanwhile reports on these atrocities continue to dominate the local news. It is again a shocking story.
In Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, a father allegedly killed his two young children (7 and 3 years old) for ‘money ritual’. The police had to intervene to prevent a crowd from attacking the 46-year old man and lynching him.
Kayunga District has a bad reputation for human sacrifice. In 2018, a witchdoctor was arrested with five bodies at his shrine. See for more details the second article below which also contains more child-sacrifice murder cases including one involving businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi who was found guilty of murdering a 12-year-old boy for ritualistic purposes in October 2008.
Warning: some readers may find the following articles disturbing (webmaster FVDK).
Father arrested for allegedly killing his two children for money ritual
Published: May 16, 2021 By: The Street Journal – Jenny Ese Obukohwo
A 46-year-old man, Musilumu Mbwire, has been arrested for allegedly killing his two children for money ritual at Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, Uganda, Daily Monitor reports. (See below – webmaster FVDK)
The body of one of the two children, Latif Kamulasi, 7, was exhumed by police pathologists on Tuesday, May 13, but that of his sibling, 3-year-old Sahum Baizambona, could not be located after a long search.
The police say the father confessed to having slit his children’s throats after his employer asked for their blood promising to pay him Shs4 million and a commercial building at Bbaale trading centre.
“My boss promised me Shs4m and a house if I sacrificed my children and gave him the blood, but he has so far paid me Shs100,000,” the police quoted Mr Mbwire to have said.
His employer, however, has denied any involvement in the shocking killing. Both men are in custody at Kayunga Central Police Station to assist police with investigations into the outrageous deed.
The police say producing the suspects in court to be charged, has been delayed by public holidays for President Museveni’s swearing-in on Wednesday and Idd-ul-Fitr on Thursday.
Spokesperson of the Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson, Mr. Charles Twine, said during a media briefing two weeks ago, the suspect’s brother, Mr. Simon Kibubu, who lives in the same area, said he got concerned when he discovered that two of Mbwire’s children were missing.
“When Mr Kibubu asked his brother where the children were, he claimed he had taken them to their sister, Mary Kantono, who lives in the same parish,” Mr Twine said.
But when Mr. Kabubu asked Ms. Kantono about the children’s whereabouts, she said she was unaware. This prompted Mr. Kibubu to notify the area defense secretary, Mr. Asuman Bagala, and lodge a complaint with the police at Bbaale. The police then promptly arrested Mbwire.
Mr Twine and his team combed the bushes in Jjiira Village as the children’s father walked them from one spot to another to locate his children’s remains.
Three locations that Mr Mbwire had pointed out as burial spots turned out false, enraging more the charged crowd and police investigators. The crowd, among whom were relatives and residents, hurled insults and curses at the father.
Mr Mbwire then led the group to a site where they had burnt charcoal several months ago. There he was given a hoe and dug out lumps of damp and loosened soil with the help of some area residents.
More scoops yielded the decomposed body as tears rolled down the cheeks of some of the bystanders, who demanded the police surrender the suspect to them.
But the police quickly stepped in to shield Mr Mbwire from attack, but handed him gloves which he wore to scoop out the body of his son. Mr Twine said the suspect told them he buried Kamulasi in late March.
After exhuming the first body, the suspect led them to a forest where he said he had buried the second child, Baizambona. But the police failed to locate the body after digging up at several sites he had led them to. At 7pm, the police called off the search and promised to return later.
Mr Twine said they would resume the search this week and castigated people who look for wealth through human sacrifice.
“Wealth is gotten through hard work, not human sacrifice,” he warned.
The body of Kamulasi was taken to Mulago national referral hospital for a post-mortem as scene-of-crime officers and other detectives continue to gather more evidence.
Police said they plan to submit the case file to the resident state attorney soon for a decision on whether the preferred charge of murder against the suspects is sustainable.
Published: May 15, 2021 By: Daily Monitor, Uganda – Fred Muzaale
Jiira Village in Bbaale Sub-county, Kayunga District, was on Tuesday engulfed in grief as police dug up the body of one of two children allegedly killed by their father in a suspected ritual sacrifice.
The residents, especially women, yelled and wailed as police pathologists exhumed the decomposed body of Latif Kamulasi, 7. The body of his sibling, 3-year-old Sahum Baizambona, could not be located, even after a long search.
The police say the children’s father, Musilumu Mbwire, 46, confessed to have slit the throats of his two children after his employer asked for their blood on promise for Shs4 million payment.
A police detective knowledgeable about the inquiries said the suspect, during investigations, said he was promised a commercial building at Bbaale Trading Centre. But his employer has denied any involvement in the shocking killing.
By press time, both men were in custody at Kayunga Central Police Station to assist police with investigations into the outrageous deed. The police say producing the suspects in court to be charged has been delayed by public holidays for President Museveni’s swearing-in on Wednesday and Idd-ul-Fitr on Thursday.
The grim incident comes only days after Parliament passed a law that criminalises human sacrifice. The Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice legislation, introduced by Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku, was enacted by Parliament last week and only awaits President Museveni’s approval to provide a death sentence as the highest penalty for any person convicted of the offence.
Amid a downpour, a team of police doctors led by Mr Charles Twine, the Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson, combed the bushes in Jjiira Village as the children’s father walked them from one spot to another to locate his children’s remains.
Three locations that Mr Mbwire had pointed out as burial spots turned out false, enraging more the charged crowd and police investigators. The crowd, among whom were relatives and residents, hurled insults and curses at the father. Mr Mbwire then led the group to a site where they had burnt charcoal several months ago.
Here, he was given a hoe and dug out lumps of damp and loosened soil with the help of some area residents. Soon, a blanket in which he wrapped Kamulasi’s body popped out, driving up emotions as the crowd surged forward, threatening to lynch Mr Mbwire. More scoops yielded the decomposed body as tears rolled down the cheeks of some of the bystanders, who demanded the police surrender the suspect to them.
But the police quickly stepped in to shield Mr Mbwire from attack, but handed him gloves which he wore to scoop out the body of his 7-year-old son, whom the police said he had confessed to killing and secretly burying in March.
As he pulled out the remains from the shallow grave, some of the body parts dropped off as a horrid stench blew over the area. The residents went wild as they surged to grab Mr Mbwire, but others were overwhelmed and broke down, crying uncontrollably. Mr Twine said the suspect told them he buried Kamulasi late March. After exhuming the first body, the suspect led them to a forest where he said he had buried the second child, Baizambona. But the police failed to locate the body after digging up at several sites he had led them to.
As darkness fell at 7pm, the police called off the search and promised to return later this week.
Discovery During a media briefing two weeks ago, Mr Twine said Mr Mbwire’s brother, Mr Simon Kibubu, who lives in the same area, got concerned when he discovered that two of Mbwire’s children were missing.
“When Mr Kibubu asked his brother where the children were, he claimed he had taken them to their sister, Mary Kantono, who lives in the same parish,” Mr Twine said.
But when Mr Kabubu asked Ms Kantono about the children’s whereabouts, she said she was unaware. This prompted Mr Kibubu to notify the area defence secretary, Mr Asuman Bagala, and lodge a complaint with the police at Bbaale.
The police then promptly arrested Mbwire, who they said told detectives that he had sacrificed his children for self-enrichment. “My boss promised me Shs4m and a house if I sacrificed my children and gave him the blood, but he has so far paid me Shs100,000,” the police quoted Mr Mbwire to have said.
Mr Twine said they would resume the search this week and castigated people who look for wealth through human sacrifice. “Wealth is gotten through hard work, not human sacrifice,” he warned.
The retrieved body of Kamulasi was taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital for a post-mortem as scene-of-crime officers and other detectives continue to gather more evidence.
Police said they plan to submit the case file to the resident state attorney soon for a decision on whether the preferred charge of murder against the suspects is sustainable.
Kayunga District has a notorious reputation for human sacrifice. In 2018, a witchdoctor was arrested with five bodies at his shrine.
Background- Police report The recent police crime report for 2020 shows that 4.7 per cent of the cases reported in 2020 were a result of child-related offences, with 9,225 cases of children/juveniles as direct targets/victims of crime, compared to 10,596 cases reported in 2019
Other cases In 2016, Times Ssemakula was arrested by police at Old Kampala Police Station on charges of sacrificing his own two children. A case vide SD38/23/10/2016 was entered in the police station book.
In 2008, Businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi was convicted for the murder and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Masaka High Court Judge Justice Mike Chibita found Kajubi guilty of murdering 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye in October 2008.
Prosecution told court that Kajubi committed the crime on October 27, 2008 when he hired witchdoctors Umar Kateregga and his wife Mariam Nabukeera to kill Kasirye, a pupil of Kayugi Primary School in Mukungwe Sub-county in Masaka District, for ritual purposes. According to the prosecution, Kajubi cut off Kasirye’s head and genitals and disappeared with them to be used in his real estate businesses in Kampala, Jinja and Masaka.
In April, police in Kiboga arrested parents of a three-year-old child following the killing of the juvenile in a suspected child-sacrifice ritual. Preliminary investigations indicated that the child had left home to play with the neighbours’ children.
The police sniffer dog led detectives to the first scene where the clothes of the missing child were recovered soaked in blood. Also recovered at the same place was a body part suspected to be a lower lip chin of the victim.
The sniffer dog further led the detectives to another scene at Kanoga swamp where a mutilated body of the victim was recovered. Other body parts of the child had been cut off from the deceased’s body by the assailants and were visibly missing.
It is unprecedented what recently happened in northern Malawi, in the Chitipa district, which is the country’s most northern district, near the Malawian-Zambian border. The police have asked witchdoctors and traditional herbalists to help in the protection of people with albinism (PWA).
Malawi has a relatively large number of people with albinism, an estimated 10,000. Attacks on them are frequent, people with albinism fear for their lives every second of the day. Reportedly, more than 200 attacks, kidnappings, mutilations and murders of persons with albinism have occurred since 2014. However, it must be feared that the real number is higher since not all incidents have been reported.
Witchdoctors are allowed to practice in Malawi though – of course – officially the Malawian law does not recognize witchcraft. Superstition, however, is widespread in the country, hence also the use of the services of witchdoctors, an unknown number of them being somehow associated – to say the least – to the attacks on persons with albinism.
The cry for assistance from the Malawian police directed to witchdoctors and traditional herbalists is therefore remarkable. Is it comparable to asking mafia leaders help fighting murderers, kidnappers and other bandits? I don’t know whether this comparison is justified or whether it holds. In any case, the police asking witchdoctors to help against attacks on persons with albinism is a sign of incapacity, read: disqualification. If the police is unable to uphold the rule of law, Malawians have a serious problem and it is high time to have a serious debate on the organization and funding of the police force.
Recently, Amnesty International concluded that the trial of suspects of ritual murders is slow in Malawi. The question seems warranted: Is there a lack of political will? After all, it is common knowledge that in the past political forces and people have been implicated in the attacks on persons with albinism for ritual purposes. I have reported on these links on more than one occasion (e.g. see a recent posting dated April 30, 2021, and my postings of February 26, May 12, and August 28, 2019). If this lack of political will is indeed the case, turning to witchdoctors for help is close to hypocrisy and useless, ineffective, and the problem will not be solved, the human rights of persons with albinism will continue to be under threat. (webmaster FVDFK)
Malawi: Police Ask ‘Witch-Doctors’ for Help Against Attacks On ‘Albinos’
Published: May 4, 2021 By: Nyasa Times – Gladys Chingaipe
“This would help to provide more protection to people with albinism.”
In an unprecedented manner, police in the northern tip of Malawi have gone on their bended knees and asked traditional herbalists and witchdoctors to help them in the fight against the incessant attacks on people with albinism.
Chitipa Police Station Officer, Dan Sowden in a desperate attempt to end the ongoing ritual killings and egregious human rights violations of the worst kind instigated specifically against people with albinism in the district and the country as a whole has asked traditional healers to work hand in hand with the police.
Snowden made the call last week during a meeting with herbalists and witchdoctors at Chitipa Boma where he expressed a growing concern and explained that there is a general outcry that herbalists and witchdoctors are suspected to be involved in attacks on people with albinism, hence the need to include them in efforts to end the vice.
He said: “We have established that it could be that those who are involved in the vice are not perhaps the real herbalists or genuine witchdoctors but may be some unscrupulous people with evil motives just posing and impersonating as herbalists and witchdoctors.”
“We know for a fact that both herbalists and witchdoctors exists to help people in a traditional way to solve traditional related problems and not to harm anyone and for that reason, we have therefore resolved that the herbalists and witchdoctors should be ambassadors and in the forefront to provide protection to people with albinism by reporting anyone who approaches them on issues to do with people with albinism.”
The police officer in-charge who is responsible for all security in the district called upon herbalists (and witchdoctors) in the district to be more organised and get licenses so that people could easily identify and report anyone falsely pretending to be a traditional healer.
President for Northern Region Traditional Healers, Edward Kayange said: “As herbalists, we are ready to work with the police in order to completely eradicate violence and discrimination against people with albinism.
“We will make sure that all traditional healers have certificates from one body to avoid confusion amongst ourselves. We will form committees which will be working hand in hand with the police and chiefs to report anyone involved in the malpractice,” he pointed out.
Chairperson for Chitipa District Association of People with Albinism, Mabvuto Lwinga said it was a step in the right direction for herbalists and witchdoctors alike to be working with the police.
“This is a good development. I am very optimistic that this would help to provide more protection to people with albinism,” said Lwinga.
The law in Malawi, however, does not recognise witchcraft although traditional healers and witchdoctors are allowed to practice their trade
People with albinism are born with lighter than normal skin, hair and eye colour, making them sensitive to the sun and bright light and in some communities, especially among the African people they are attacked or even killed for their body parts which is erroneously believed to posses magical powers.
Since 2014 more than 200 cases of killings, attacks and other human rights violations against persons with albinism have been reported in the Southern African landlocked nation.
According to United Nations (UN) human rights experts despite various moves to support people with albinism, the continued attacks demonstrate that the Government needs to redouble its efforts to end the ongoing atrocities.
UN’s Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero said: “We call on the Government of Malawi to urgently address the root causes of these attacks and to strengthen nationwide campaigns to raise awareness, conduct robust investigations and prosecutions in all cases, increase protection for victims, and finance and implement all necessary measures.”
Ero is on record having said that some witchcraft practices result in “serious human violations” such as torture, murder, discrimination and exclusion, including banishment from communities.
Maria Jose Torres, UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi says that the UN remains concerned about continued attacks against persons with albinism.
“We call on the government of Malawi to engage an extra gear in the fight against attacks on persons with albinism. We need to do more to ensure that this comes to a complete end.
Habiba Osman, Executive Secretary for Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) said in an interview with Nyasa Times that the ongoing attacks on persons with albinism is a chilling reminder that Malawi as a country needs to do more to protect people with albinism because they are not safe.
“These attacks on persons with albinism is largely fuelled by a culture of impunity. The government must tighten the noose on anyone suspected to have committed this heinous crime. Persons with albinism like anyone else are protected by the law,” said Osman.
Before being elected president, Malawi leader, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera rode on a wave that if elected, he would make sure that attacks on people with albinism will be put to an end.
“When I become president, anyone found killing, abducting or discriminating against any person with albinism will be dealt severely and face the long arm of the law.”
A recent Amnesty International (AI) report observes that the rate at which cases are concluded in Malawi is slow compared to other crime investigations.
There are approximately about 10,000 persons with albinism in Malawi.
Nigeria’s security problems have many faces. In the northeast of the country Boko Haram terrorizes the population and has disrupted ordinary, daily life. The exact number of victims of the jihadist terrorist organization which also operates in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, can no longer be counted. It is estimated that since the beginning of the uprising, in 2002, between 25,000 and 30,000 people have been killed, over two million people have been displaced, and a countless number of children have been kidnapped – girls for sexual motives, boys to be forcibly recruited as soldier in the terrorist organization which originally started as a campaign against corrupt officials.
The seemingly perennial violent conflicts between herders and farmers in several states also have cost thousands of people their lives. Furthermore, a countless number of people have been abducted by kidnappers, bandits and cultists. Moreover, superstition and the greed for (more) power, prestige or success are at the origin of the notorious ‘money-rituals’ for which Nigeria is known and which is feared by virtually the entire population, not only in the southeastern states as my posting of January 30 could suggest. Last but not least, ‘ordinary’ criminal killings, manslaughter, murder and extrajudicial killings by security personnel add to the many security challenges which Nigeria is facing.
In the coming days and weeks I will elaborate on the ‘money-rituals’ and the criminal activities of cultists, herbalists, witchdoctors, and other perpetrators of heinous, criminal ritualistic acts. If a government wants to effectively fight and eradicate this ugly, partly traditional phenomenon it will have to take the overall (in)security situation of the country into consideration.
The author of the article reproduced here, Femi Falana, SAN, is a Human Rights Lawyer and a recipient of the prestigious Bernard Simmons Award of the International Bar Association. In his article he explains the violent clashes between herders and farmers, and provides a possible solution to their conflict which basically is a dispute over land. Although the topic of his article is beyond the main focus of the present website, the article is reproduced here in its entirety, not only for a well-deserved respect for the author but also for information reasons as well as to illustrate that for every problems there exists a solution (webmaster FVDK).
Violent Clashes Between Herders and Farmers: A Legal Panacea
Published: February 2, 2021 By: This Day, Nigeria – Femi Falana SAN
From 1999 to 2021, thousands of people have been brutally killed in herders/farmers’ clashes in several States of the Federation. The mindless killings have continued, due to official impunity and negligence which have led to the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neocolonial State. Hundreds of other citizens have been abducted by gangs of kidnappers and bandits. While some of the abducted people were killed in gruesome circumstances, others were released after the payment of ransoms running into hundreds of millions of Naira by their family members. The hardened criminal elements, have subjected abducted women to sexual abuse. Over 100 school girls in captivity, have been forced to marry their abductors. In spite of the routine assurance of the security of life and property of every citizen, the Federal Government appears to have lost the monopoly of violence to the criminal gangs.
As a result of desert encroachment, the Fulani herders have been forced to seek fertile land for grazing of their cattle in the middle belt and southern parts of the country. Since the State has failed to address the challenge of desertification, the herders have continued to graze their cattle in the bush. In the process, they graze their cattle without regard to State laws and the rights of the farm owners. In struggling to survive on fertile land, the herders attack farmers who resist the invasion of their land. They attack farmers with AK 47 rifles, which have been acquired to protect cattle from rustlers. The violent clashes between herders and farmers have continued, due to the failure of successive governments to revive the ranches inherited from the regional governments of the First Republic, but which collapsed during years of the locusts under successive military regimes.
History of Ranching in Nigeria
The point that I am struggling to make is that, ranching is not a new phenomenon in the country. It is on record that the regimes of Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe established ranches in the Northern, Western and Eastern regions respectively. The Obudu Cattle Ranch which was the oldest in the country, was established in 1951 by a Scot, but was later taken over by the Eastern Regional Government. The Northern Regional Government established a ranch in Mokwa (Niger State). In the West, there were ranches in Iseyin (Oyo State), Oke Ako (Ekiti State) and Akunu (Ondo State).
Under the Yakubu Gowon regime (1966-1975) , the Kano State Government headed by Police Commissioner Audu Bako, established ranches in the State. All the ranches collapsed during the years of the locusts, under successive military juntas. The famous Obudu Cattle Ranch has since been turned to Obudu holiday resort.
In 2014, the Jonathan regime decided to establish ranches in the country. A team of young people were sponsored to learn animal husbandry in Botswana, while the sum of N100 billion was released to some State Governments to establish the ranches. In a recent probe, the House of Representatives confirmed that the money was diverted, as not a single ranch was established.
In 2016, the Buhari regime also opted for the establishment of ranches, in order to end the perennial violent conflicts between farmers and herders. About 55,000 hectares were acquired in 11 States, for the project. The Federal Government also announced its plan to disarm the herders, and other armed bandits. But, instead of establishing the ranches and disarming the herders, the Federal Government has handled the violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen rather lackadaisically. The sudden embrace of cattle colony or RUGA policy by the Federal Government, was suspected by many citizens as a design to take over and turn over land seized from farmers to herders.
Clashes and Kidnapping
Even though the dangerous policy has been dropped, the plan to establish ranches has equally been abandoned. In recent times, the clashes between herders and farmers has been compounded by many incidents of kidnapping that have been traced to some herders. Owing to the failure of the Federal Government to bring the situation under control, some people have reported to self help and jungle justice. The various State Governments have come up with policies such as enactment of anti-grazing laws, and compulsory registration of all herders and farmers operating in forest reserves. The Umar Ganduje administration, once invited displaced herders in Benue and Taraba States to Kano state.
Instead of adopting knee jerk reactions to the crisis, the Federal Government and State Governments should encourage the immediate establishment of ranches. Apart from ending clashes between herders and farmers, the policy will lead to large scale production of meat which will be distributed throughout the country, and possibly exported. Ranching is working in Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa. It has worked before in Nigeria. It can work again. Let the Authorities move speedily to end the violent clashes between herders and farmers, without any further delay. Let the Authorities adopt proactive measures to end kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery and ritual murder, as well as extrajudicial killing by security agencies.
State Governments and Security Challenges
A few years ago, armed robbers launched violent attacks on banks in Lagos State. The criminals killed many bankers, customers and security personnel, and carted away millions of Naira. The then Babatunde Fashola administration, sought the permission of the Federal Government to purchase and import some modern security equipment and gadgets. As soon as the licence was granted by President Umaru Yar’adua, the Lagos State Government brought in the equipment and gave them to the State Police Command. Armed with such equipment, the Police succeeded in securing the banks and other commercial institutions in the State. Shortly thereafter, about 20 well armed members of the Boko Haram sect sneaked into the State and concluded plans to launch bombing attacks on people, religious centres and schools. The terrorists were arrested and detained under the Terrorism Act, a Federal offence. The State Government requested the Federal Government, to try the dangerous suspects.
When it became clear that the Federal Government was foot dragging over the matter, the Attorney-General of Lagos State applied for the fiat of the Attorney-General of the Federation to enable him to prosecute the terror suspects. As soon as the fiat was granted, the suspects were tried, convicted and jailed.
In another development, the State Government faced fresh security challenges when another set of criminal elements embarked on kidnapping school children and other innocent people. Again, with the acquisition of more sophisticated equipment by the Lagos State Government, the Police Command has frontally attacked the crisis and brought the situation under control. About three years ago, the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit recently arrested a billionaire kidnap suspect, Mr. Chukwudimene Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans). The suspect was alleged to have specialised in extorting millions of dollars and other foreign currencies, from victims of his criminal enterprise. At the end of the Police investigation, the Lagos State Government took over the matter and has since charged the suspect and his cohorts with armed robbery and kidnapping, before the Lagos high court.
Before then, the Ondo State Government had invoked its sovereign powers to deal with the challenge of insecurity. On September 21, 2015, Chief Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Federal Government was kidnapped by a gang of kidnappers on his farm at Ago Abo in the outskirts of Akure, Ondo State. The criminals demanded a ransom of N100 million, for his release. President Muhammadu Buhari who was embarrassed by the report of the incident, directed the Inspector-General of Police to rescue Chief Falae without further delay. The Chief regained his freedom three days later, after the payment of an undisclosed ransom. The seven kidnap suspects (Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibrahim, Masahudu Mohammed, Idris Lawal, Abdulkadir Umar and Babawo Kato) were arrested and paraded by the Police at Abuja, in the Federal Capital Territory.
As soon as the investigation was concluded by the Police Headquarters, the then Ondo State Government decided to take over the case in exercise its constitutional powers. Since the case had disclosed that the offence of kidnapping was committed in Ondo State, the then State Attorney-General, Mr. Tayo Jegede, SAN requested the Police to transfer the suspects to Akure, together with the case file and the exhibits recovered during the investigation of the case. As soon as the suspects were brought to Akure, they were charged with conspiracy and kidnapping before the Ondo State High Court. At the end of the marathon trial, the presiding Judge, the Honourable Justice Williams Olamide found the Defendants guilty as charged, convicted and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
No doubt, by prosecuting the dangerous kidnappers and armed robbers, both Attorneys-General of Lagos and Ondo States have demonstrated that State Governments are not encumbered from maintaining law and order in their areas of jurisdiction. It is my strong belief that it is the failure of other Attorneys-General to enforce relevant criminal and penal codes, that has led to a breakdown of law in several States of the Federation. Even though hundreds of suspects have been arrested in several parts of the country by the combined teams of Police and Army personnel for abducting several people including children, they have not been brought to book by the Attorneys-General of the affected States. Majority of critics who are not aware that it is the exclusive constitutional responsibility of State Attorneys-General to prosecute suspects indicted for the offences of kidnapping, armed robbery and culpable homicide, have continued to blame the Federal Government for not prosecuting herders who have been arrested by security agencies.
Welfare of the People
Since a country cannot be secured by a Government that is not prepared to attend to the welfare of the people, the Constitution has outlined the socioeconomic rights of the people and embodied them in Chapter two of the Constitution. The said socioeconomic rights are otherwise called, the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. Even though the ruling class has made them not justiciable, the workers in alliance with other progressive civil society organisations have compelled the Government to enact a number of laws to promote the welfare of the people. But, the welfare laws have not been implemented due to alleged lack of ,funds in spite of the nation’s enormous wealth. On account of the failure of the Government to fund welfare programmes, Nigeria is said to have the largest number of poor people in the world.
The economic paradox has been fuelled by large scale looting of public funds, by the ruling class. Most of the problems at the root of insecurity in Nigeria, are traceable to the implementation of neoliberal policies imposed on the nation by imperialism. Over 25 million young people including university graduates, are in the unemployment market. In addition to that figure, there are over 10 million children of school age who are roaming the streets, which is said to be the highest figure in the world. Not unexpectedly, such street kids are easily recruited by terrorists, bandits and other criminal gangs to unleash mayhem on the people. The hijack of the recent #EndSARS protests by hoodlums and other criminal elements, has confirmed that the nation is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.
Since armed robbery, kidnapping and murder or culpable homicide are State offences, we have pointed out that State Governments ought to be blamed for failing to end impunity, by prosecuting the herders and other criminal suspects arrested and indicted for kidnapping and killing of innocent people. Instead of engaging in ethnic profiling, concerned citizens should be organised to prevail on the Federal and State Governments to discharge their constitutional duty of protecting the life and property of every citizen. The Governments should also be compelled to put an end to the perennial violent conflicts between farmers and herders, which have needlessly claimed many lives and the destruction of properties worth several billions of Naira in many States of the Federation. As a matter of urgency, herders and bandits should be disarmed by the Federal Government. Having embraced ranching as a permanent solution to the clashes between herders and farmers, the Federal Government and State Governments should proceed to establish ranches in a number of States.
Femi Falana, SAN, Human Rights Lawyer, recipient of the prestigious Bernard Simmons Award of the International Bar Association
The news of the ritual murder of a 7-year old boy, Tapiwa Makore – also see my previous, most recent postings – has shocked the nation. Zimbabwe griefs. The following article ‘Ritual murder unites nation’ is somewhat comforting but the parents’ pain after the mutilated body of their son had been found can never be removed. A gruesome crime has been committed. Unfortunately not the first muti murder in Zimbabwe – let’s hope it’s the last one.
Warning: The articles describing the discovery of the victim’s mutilated body and subsequent developments including the arrest of several suspects contain graphic details of the muthi murder (webmaster FVDK).
Ritual murder unites nation
Published: October 10, 2020 By: The Herald
The ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore (7) of Nyamutumbu Village in Murehwa has united the nation as people from all walks of life have joined hands in consoling the family, with some from the Diaspora contributing towards funeral expenses.
The boy’s uncle, Tapiwa Makore (Senior) (57), is accused of murdering his brother’s child with the help of his herdsman, Tafadzwa Shamba.
Both have since been arrested and remanded in custody on murder charges as police continue their hunt for the witchdoctor accused of processing body parts.
The witchdoctor’s name has not been revealed.
The child had his head, arms and legs cut off in the ritual killing after being kidnapped and drugged.
A lot of the reaction has been directed at witchdoctors who instigate ritual murders and process body parts, with most wanting them hunted down and punished as severely as the actual killers
Yesterday, the Zanu PF Women’s League led by secretary for Women’s Affairs Cde Mabel Chinomona and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa paid condolences to the Makore family and donated groceries and cash.
Church members, the local leadership, relatives and members of the community have since the death of Tapiwa been visiting the Makore homestead for prayers and to comfort the family.
The Zanu PF Women’s League expressed dismay that instead of working hard to be successful, some people were turning to ritual murders in a superstitious attempt to get rich.
Cde Chinomona said the Women’s League and the whole nation had been traumatised by the incident and would not rest until justice was served.
She said the boy’s death was no longer a Makore issue as it had affected the whole nation, including President Mnangagwa.
“The death of Tapiwa is an eye-opener. We now know there were murderers in the community and this will put an end to the rituals. The nation is in pain. Everywhere people are affected and waiting for justice to be served. The death of Tapiwa has shown that some people are engaging in evil acts to get rich.
“Let us work hard to be successful. We cannot destroy the nation because of greed. As women, we are going to pray for justice to prevail. I am grateful that women have come in large numbers including members of different churches to console Tapiwa’s mother,” she said.
Cde Chinomona said they would unite as the Women’s League and march against ritual killings to ensure justice is delivered.
“Witchdoctors who are promoting murder should be arrested, shamed and exposed,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said as a mother, she knew how it felt to lose a child and that experience was not easy to get over.
“As a mother I know how it feels. After all the nine-month pregnancy experience, labour pains, the sacrifice one does for the upkeep of the child only to the lose the son to murder. What has happened to our community. What has happened to our culture? Where is humanity? We need to respect life. Let us work hard than rely on rituals to succeed,” she said.
She commended churches that have been comforting the family, saying such emotional support was vital during these difficult times.
Minister Mutsvangwa urged people to value the sanctity of human life.
Chief Mangwende said they were waiting for justice to prevail.
“In Murehwa we have declared that we do not want to see murderers walking freely. Justice should prevail,” he said.
A relative, Mrs Rufaro Musupayi, said the family was overwhelmed by the support it was receiving from many people including those in the diaspora.
“We have received messages and money from people in the diaspora, some of whom we are not related to. Some have also pledged to send Tapiwa’s siblings to school. The emotional and financial support has gone a long way in helping us as family,” she said.
Tapiwa’s father Mr Munyaradzi Makore said the support from the nation had strengthened the family.
“Churches, individuals, politicians and members of this community have really helped us. We feel we are not alone. We are however still waiting for the head so we can proceed with the burial. We will wait until the head is found,” he said.
Apostolic Faith Mission, Pastor Mollete Machese Gunda said although fear and anger had gripped the community, churches were there for emotional support.
“We have to remember that God is with us and he will guide us through this difficult time just as he did to Stephan when he was stoned to death,” she said.
Published: October 5, 2020 By: Pindula News, Zimbabwe
Tafadzwa Shamba who confessed to killing Tapiwa Makore, a 7-year-old Murewa boy has led police to the recovery of the boy’s legs in a pit latrine.
Tapiwa was murdered two weeks ago in a suspected ritual case and police have so far arrested Mashamba and Tapiwa’s uncle Tapiwa Makore senior.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is still searching for other body parts including the head which is believed to have been given to an alleged sangoma who is still at large. Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi told the Daily News on Sunday:
The ZRP confirms that in the on-going investigations in connection with the gruesome murder of…Makore, two legs were recovered in a pit toilet near a village football pitch in Murewa on October 2. Police are yet to recover the skull and hands.
The suspect, Tafadzwa, led to the recovery of the legs. He indicated that he dumped the legs in the toilet, which led to it being dug up.
Cases of child murder which are allegedly for ritual purposes have been on the rise in the country prompting President Mnangagwa to raise concern over the murders.
Herdsman Reveals Gruesome Details Of Murehwa Boy Ritual Murder
Published: September 30, 2020 By: Pindula News, Zimbabwe
Tafadzwa Shamba, a Murehwa herdsman who was recently arrested over the ritual murder of Tapiwa Makore (7) at Makore Village in Murehwa, on Tuesday told detectives what happened from the time they kidnapped the boy to the day after the murder.
Shamba was taken by detectives to the garden where he kidnapped the boy allegedly under the instructions of the boy’s uncle, Tapiwa Makore (Senior).
He also led police to the uncle’s homestead where he said he fed the boy, drugged him with kachasu (an illicit beer brew) and locked him up in a room for hours. He said:
I went to the kitchen hut and brought the boy sadza and dried fish. I washed his hands before giving him the food. After eating, I went to Mrs Katsande’s homestead where I bought five litres of illicit brew (kachasu).
I drank the beer to gather courage. I also put a bit of sugar into the brew and offered it to the boy who took it until he got drunk and slept. I then locked him up in the room before going back to Mrs Katsande’s homestead for more beer.
Around midnight, we opened the door and I carried the boy, who was still in deep slumber to a mountain in the village.
Mr Makore carried the knives and plastic bags. While here (in the mountain), I pressed the boy to the ground and cut off his head with a sharp knife, while his uncle was holding a torch for lighting.
I also cut off the hands and legs, but we packed the parts in different plastic bags.
I carried the one with the torso and the head while Mr Makore carried another one containing the legs and hands.
… The bag was now heavier and dogs were barking. I had to quickly drop the torso and proceeded with the head.
Shamba said Makore instructed him to put the head in one of the rooms, but the following day, he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave.
Tapiwa Makore (Senior), the murdered boy’s uncle was also arrested over Tapiwa Makore (Junior)’s murder.
Published: September 25, 2020 By: Pindula News, Zimbabwe
Police on Wednesday arrested a Murehwa herdboy, Tafadzwa Shamba, on kidnap and murder charges following the discovery of a mutilated body of a seven-year-old boy in the area last week.
Shamba and two suspects who are still at large allegedly kidnapped and murdered Tapiwah and harvested his body parts which they sold for US$ 1 500 for ritual purposes (see article below, dated September 21, 2020 – webmaster FVDK).
In a statement on Wednesday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi gave details of the progress of investigations. He said:
It is alleged that Tafadzwa Shamba, a herd boy in the same village with the victim, worked with the other suspects to waylay the victim at a garden. They took him to a mountain where they kept him for the whole day.
They then killed him at night and one of the other suspects, who is from Juru Growth Point, took away the head leaving the herd boy with the other body parts after promising to give him US$1 500 on coming back.
Tapiwa was abducted while on his way to a garden last week where he had been sent by his mother.
His mutilated body was found being eaten by dogs a few days after his enforced disappearance.
Ritual Killings Blamed For The Death Of A 7 Year Old Murehwa Boy Whose Body Was Found With Body Parts Missing
Published: September 21, 2020 By: Pindula News, Zimbabwe
In an unfortunate incident that occurred in Makore Village under Chief Mangwende in Murewa, a 7-year-old boy’s body was discovered with his head, neck, both legs and arms hacked off, The Herald reports.
The body was discovered when a neighbour woke up to find his dogs eating the remains of a human being which turned out to be the body of the missing 7 year old boy who had gone missing the previous day.
ZRP National Spokesperson Assistant Commisioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident and said:
Police in Murewa are looking for perpetrators behind the gruesome murder of a 7-year-old boy who went missing on September 17, 2020 after he had been sent to the garden by his mother.
The body of the boy was later discovered on September18 2020 being eaten by dogs with the head, arms and legs chopped off for suspected ritual purposes. We urge parents and guardians to always be on the look out of their minors and prioritise their safety, at all times. Investigations into this matter are in progress.
According to sources privy to the developments, The minor had been sent to look after the garden by his parents with a lunchbox of food and a bottle of water, when the parents went to the garden later to water the garden they saw the lunchbox and the bottle of water but the boy was missing.
They asked his friends about his whereabouts and they said he had been swimming in a nearby pool. The parents searched for him and they could not find him and called for a search party that could not locate the boy. His body was discovered the next day when their neighbour woke up and discovered his dogs eating the remains of a human being.
Published: September 21, 2020 By: The Herald, Zimbabwe – Victor Maphosa
A 7-year-old boy from Makore Village under Chief Mangwende in Murewa was allegedly murdered last week in a suspected case of ritual killing.
Reports are that the boy was sent by his parents to look after the garden on the morning of September 17.
His parents went to the garden later to do some watering and found that their son was missing.
The parents enquired on the whereabouts of their son from other children who were also looking after their gardens nearby.
They were told that their son has been seen swimming in a nearby pond.
The boy’s parents went to the pond but could not find their son.
They then alerted some villagers and a search was conducted until midnight but they could not find him.
On September 18, in the morning, a day after the boy went missing, it is reported that a neighbour woke up and discovered his dog and its puppies feasting on human body parts in his yard.
He then alerted the boy’s parents and a report was made to the police.
The body had its head, neck, both legs and arms hacked off.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations into the matter are in progress.
“Police in Murewa are looking for perpetrators behind the gruesome murder of a 7-year-old boy who went missing on September 17, 2020 after he had been sent to the garden by his mother.
“The body of the boy was later discovered on September18 2020 being eaten by dogs with the head, arms and legs chopped off for suspected ritual purposes. We urge parents and guardians to always be on the look out of their minors and prioritise their safety, at all times. Investigations into this matter are in progress.”
Published: May 11, 2019 By: The Economist – Lilongwe
His fists clenched on the tabletop, Bon Kalindo, an opposition mp, leans forward conspiratorially to list the magical properties of albino body parts. Place the fibula of one under a bottle of Coke and it will fizz manically, until the top pops off. Pass it in front of a torch and the light will go out. Most handily of all, a bone correctly inserted into a machine made by a reputable witch doctor will cause large amounts of cash to fly out; it’s the magnetic liquid albinos have in their bones, you understand. Sensing scepticism, Mr Kalindo brushes it aside. You are not from here, he says.
For some in Malawi, a belief in the numinous runs deep. Medicine men post flyers boasting of potions and charms to neuter rivals, punish the unfaithful or rekindle lost ardour. Such superstition is not uncommon in much of the world. But in Malawi, it can carry dark undertones. The most potent spells require ritual human sacrifice, according to a local journalist who has approached witch doctors under cover. Murders are not uncommon. Women and children are killed for their breasts and genitals. Albinos, who number no more than 10,000 in Malawi, are said to carry the most powerful magic and are thus most at risk.
You have to register to read this article in full (The Economist)