Witchdoctors

TheQuixote

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Messages
3,301
Likes
15
Points
69
#1
Witchdoctors help Borneo search

By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Malaysia

Officials in east Malaysia have called in witch doctors to help them locate a helicopter and its seven passengers and crew missing in the jungles of Borneo.
The search operation has come under intense criticism for its failure to find the aircraft a week and a half after it disappeared.

Two senior politicians from the state of Sarawak were onboard, as well as the head of the local electricity company.

After 11 days of fruitless searching, desperation seems to have set in.

Officials have summoned the witch doctors, or bomoh as they are called in Malaysia.

A spokesman said that each had given a different description of where the helicopter had crashed, but all agreed that it was in a valley.

The rescuers say that does not help much as the area where they now believe the aircraft went down is made up of lots of valleys and they have no way of identifying which.

However all the bomoh agreed that some or all of the passengers are still alive.

One who appears to be a better businessman than clairvoyant demanded payment in advance, saying that he would definitely locate the seven missing people.

An earlier suggestion that bomoh be brought in to help deal with evil spirits and genies in the forest had been turned down by the passengers' families, who are mostly Christian.

Rescue row

Those co-ordinating the rescue initially seemed sure that the helicopter had crashed in the Bario highlands - a remote area near Malaysia's border with Indonesia.

But the focus of the hunt has now shifted.

There have been allegations that politicians have hampered the search by insisting that they, not the emergency services, co-ordinate the operation.

The missing include a deputy minister from the state of Sarawak, the head of a local council and the chief executive of the Sarawak electricity supply corporation.
BBCi News 23/07/04
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,437
Likes
54
Points
129
#2
Sunday July 25, 2004

Mediums lend ‘supernatural powers’ to mission

MIRI: Authorities handling the search and rescue of seven people who went missing on board a Bell helicopter have given the go-ahead to use the services of those who claim to have “supernatural powers” as the mission enters its 13th day.

Several mediums and bomoh who offered their services were granted access to Bario and the highland areas to give their “interpretations and readings” on the possible whereabouts of the missing aircraft and the seven people.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam, who is also director of the search and rescue mission, said the authorities handling the mission had agreed to respect those who claimed they had such supernatural powers and not to simply dismiss them.

“We have allowed them to contribute and to play their role in whatever way they can,” he said.

“Some of them who said they have supernatural powers have pointed out certain locations where the missing people could be found.

“We do not dismiss their claims. We will use all available resources and explore all possibilities,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

He said ground troops and aerial teams scouting the region had been asked to check out locations where the bomoh and mediums claimed they “sensed” the presence of the missing people.

Earlier in the day, Dr Chan flew to Miri from Bario for a dialogue with state Cabinet ministers, head of government departments, army and police and other agencies to discuss new plans for the next phase of the search and rescue mission.

Over the past week, several people, including natives and a few bomohs from the peninsula, converged at the Miri operations centre to offer “clues” on the missing passengers and aircraft.

Some of the natives here, particularly those living in the interior jungles, believe that spirits of the dead inhabited the jungles, trees, swamps, valleys, gorges and mountains.

One of the beliefs is that these spirits can help locate those missing.

Another belief is that these spirits have the ability to conceal things from the living, and through rituals, they can reveal them to the world of the living.

Dr Chan, however, stressed that while the “supernatural” aspects were being investigated, ground troops and aerial teams were still combing the areas surrounding Bario and Bakelalan and other possible sites.

Bernama reported that two commando units of the General Operations Force, VAT 69, had arrived in Bario from Ulu Kinta, Perak, to help clear all possible obstacles once the search and rescue party found the spot where the helicopter went down.

He said the search and rescue teams depended on the VAT 69 just in case the helicopter was in a deep ravine, which would be extremely dangerous for other uniformed personnel.
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/7/25/nation/8517708&sec=nation
 

mynah

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
70
Likes
5
Points
24
#3
They called in the witchdoctors...

This is the main topic of conversation in my area of the world:

-----------
23 July 2004
Witchdoctors help Borneo search
By Jonathan Kent BBC correspondent in Malaysia


Officials in east Malaysia have called in witch doctors to help them locate a helicopter and its seven passengers and crew missing in the jungles of Borneo.
The search operation has come under intense criticism for its failure to find the aircraft a week and a half after it disappeared.
Two senior politicians from the state of Sarawak were onboard, as well as the head of the local electricity company.
After 11 days of fruitless searching, desperation seems to have set in.
Officials have summoned the witch doctors, or bomoh as they are called in Malaysia.
A spokesman said that each had given a different description of where the helicopter had crashed, but all agreed that it was in a valley.
The rescuers say that does not help much as the area where they now believe the aircraft went down is made up of lots of valleys and they have no way of identifying which.
However all the bomoh agreed that some or all of the passengers are still alive.
One who appears to be a better businessman than clairvoyant demanded payment in advance, saying that he would definitely locate the seven missing people.
An earlier suggestion that bomoh be brought in to help deal with evil spirits and genies in the forest had been turned down by the passengers' families, who are mostly Christian.
Rescue row
Those co-ordinating the rescue initially seemed sure that the helicopter had crashed in the Bario highlands - a remote area near Malaysia's border with Indonesia.
But the focus of the hunt has now shifted.
There have been allegations that politicians have hampered the search by insisting that they, not the emergency services, co-ordinate the operation.
The missing include a deputy minister from the state of Sarawak, the head of a local council and the chief executive of the Sarawak electricity supply corporation.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/3919509.stm

Published: 2004/07/23 08:59:17 GMT
------------------
29 July 2004
Search for Borneo crash survivors
By Jonathan Kent BBC correspondent in Malaysia


Malaysian rescue teams are searching for two possible survivors from a helicopter crash in Borneo more than two weeks ago.
Commandoes found the remains of five of the seven passengers when they reached the aircraft's wreckage on Thursday.
The helicopter was eventually found on a steep hillside in a remote region in the state of Sarawak.
The mission to find survivors has been dubbed the longest, most costly search operation in Malaysian history.
The helicopter set off from the town of Bario on 12 July, carrying a minister in the Sarawak state government, the chief executive of an electricity company and five others.
The terrain where the aircraft crashed is so remote that commandoes had to be winched down from a military helicopter.
They found the badly decomposed bodies of four passengers inside the wrecked aircraft, and one outside.
The search is continuing in the faint hope that the two people unaccounted for may have survived 17 days in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth.
The operation to find the missing helicopter has been hampered by bad weather and dense jungle.
But there have also been allegations of political interference.
After days of fruitless searching, witch doctors known as bomoh were called in, along with two infrared technology experts from Australia.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/3935271.stm

Published: 2004/07/29 06:14:45 GMT

So much for witchdoctors! As for the two infrared techies, they located a logging camp garbage dump, one broken down log excavator and one rotting deer carcass.

Questions will be raised in Parliament!!
:mad:
 

TheQuixote

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Messages
3,301
Likes
15
Points
69
#4
No mention of the bomoh this time but the bodies have been found:

Bodies found at Borneo crash site

Malaysian rescue teams have found the last two bodies of people missing after a helicopter crash in Borneo more than two weeks ago.

Malaysian commandoes located the bodies about 100m from the crash site, in a remote region of the state of Sarawak
[...]

BBCi News 29/07/04
 

mynah

Junior Acolyte
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
70
Likes
5
Points
24
#5
An interesting sideline to the story:

The staff of one of the missing men knew he and the others had died in the crash because 7 days after the chopper went missing, they saw his ghost walked along the corridor to his office. His deputy then sadly proceeded to take over all the outstanding important work in the office. They kept very quiet about this out of consideration for the families of the other men.

BTW, 7 days in Chinese belief is traditionally the time to see a dead person's ghost (i.e.when the soul is allowed back for the last time!)
 

TheQuixote

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Messages
3,301
Likes
15
Points
69
#6
Bewitching the pitch in Tanzania
Emmanuel Muga
BBC correspondent in Dar es Salaam

After a spate of recent scandals, Tanzania's football authorities are trying to clamp down on the use of witchcraft.

The two top teams - Simba and Yanga - were both fined after their players performed juju rituals in a recent clash.

There have even been allegations that the national team used money earmarked for players to pay a witchdoctor.

Simba players cast strange powder and broke eggs on the pitch before the game, which two Yanga players attempted to counteract by urinating on the field.

Most of the footballers then entered the stadium with their backs to the pitch.

In the end, their powers were evenly matched in a 2-2 draw, but both sides were fined by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) for their efforts.

Influential fans

Such antics, however, are common in Tanzanian football and witchdoctors receive sizeable payments for their services.

The custom has a tendency to confuse professional players, including Somali Issa Abshir Aden, who plays for Simba.

A clique of people opposed me all the way because I didn't believe in that witchcraft of theirs
Kassim Dewji
Former Simba secretary general
He says on occasions he has been told not to enter the dressing rooms because some juju is being performed.

"In Tanzanian football they believe many things... it's strange for me," he said.

Despite attempts to crack down on witchcraft, club leaders say that they are always under pressure from influential fans to accept the services of witchdoctors.

Those who refuse risk losing their jobs. Kassim Dewji - Simba's secretary general until June - resigned, he says, after unsuccessfully trying to resist the use of witchcraft.

"If you look at my record... I have won eight trophies - it is because I believed in coaches. I used to spend a lot of money to buy good players for the team - that's why the team did well.

"But there was a clique of people who opposed me all the way because I didn't believe in that witchcraft of theirs."

Mr Dewji also claims club leaders encourage the view that match victories are a result of witchcraft, as they use it as a way of making money.

Funds allocated to witchcraft are not officially accounted for in club records, so as much as ,000 - for big matches - can be pocketed by club officials on supposed witchcraft services, he says.

Fruitless

In September, Mwina Kaduguda, former TFF secretary-general, caused controversy by claiming the use of witchcraft was not limited to club matches.

He said the federation paid for a witchdoctor to come to Nairobi for the national team's World Cup preliminary qualifier against Kenya, instead of paying the team's match allowances.

[Witchcraft] doesn't help anything
Charles Mkwasa
Former national coach
The outlay proved fruitless with the Taifa Stars losing 3-0 to Kenya.

Their dismal performance, Mr Kaduguda said, was a result of disgruntled players who had not received their pay.

TFF has now made it clear that their policy is to accept the service of volunteer witchdoctors only.

"If someone [a witchdoctor] comes with an offer to help, we simply say go and do your things because you like your national team, it is your team but no one will pay you," Charles Masanja, the federation's assistant secretary general said.

It may be a wise move, as Tanzanian footballers are finding it difficult to match the standards of even their East African neighbours.

Former national team coach Charles Mkwasa says witchcraft often hinders good performances by giving the players a false sense of security

He says footballers would do better to concentrate on training, rather than relying on juju to get results.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/3756910.stm
Published: 2004/10/20 08:17:18 GMT

© BBC MMIV
 

Mighty_Emperor

Beloved of Ra
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,437
Likes
54
Points
129
#7
With Zimbabwe's health sector in ruins, witchdoctors are busy

By Basildon Peta, Southern Africa Correspondent

03 February 2005

The collapsing health sector in Zimbabwe, once among the best in Africa, is forcing thousands of the sick and elderly to seek out traditional healers or "witchdoctors" for treatment, human rights groups say.

Zimbabwe's National Medical Association says 40 per cent of doctors in Harare, the capital, have left the country, and many medical graduates are heading abroad to better-paid jobs and better conditions. There are said to be fewer than 900 doctors serving a population of 11.5 million.

"Healers", usually with no formal training, have become an option of last resort for many sufferers. The cures are concocted from roots, barks, leaves, animal parts and, occasionally, human organs. Some witchdoctors also claim an ability to diagnose illness through divine powers.

The boom in business for Julius Churi, a traditional healer near Harare, is typical. Mr Churi performs diagnoses using four animal bones, throwing them the air then analysing the pattern in which they fall.

His remedies are drawn from traditional juices drawn from boiled roots, grass and leaves. Mr Churi says, his increasing number of clients have a revived faith in the supernatural. "People are discovering that traditional medicines work more effectively than modern medicines," he says.

"Our methods are more effective because they are informed by supernatural powers. I am unlike these doctors who went to school to learn to treat patients. I communicate directly with the Gods and spirits and they are the ultimate owners of humanity". Martin Mutero, a Harare resident who has resorted to healers, is sceptical. But he said that for many Zimbabweans there was little alternative to taking a gamble on unqualified advice.

"What can you take when there are no drugs in state hospitals, no doctors to give any advice, no equipment to even examine your blood pressure and basically nothing to do anything for you when you enter state hospitals and clinics? You have to try whatever is at your disposal, including traditional healing."

President Robert Mugabe's government has blocked the release of United Nations health surveys. Until then, Mr Mutero will reluctantly take the only help on offer.
Source
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#8
Tanzania's witch-doctors cast spells for votes

Tanzania's witch-doctors cast spells for votes
By Helen Nyambura
Wed Oct 19,10:22 PM ET

The witch-doctors in the former slave port of Bagamoyo on Tanzania's coast are busy concocting spells to help the east African country's politicians win votes in this month's elections.

"Some (politicians) started making regular visits five months ago. Others come at the last minute and expect me to help them win," said Pandu, an almost toothless witch-doctor who boasts that he is one of the best in town.

Usually Pandu sees around 10 patients a day, mostly people looking for help with illnesses they believe are caused by demons. The politicians come at night or send a representative.

"One comes and asks, 'Will I win or lose?' If I say he will lose, he asks me to make his opponent fail," Pandu said.

"I can't say their names, why do you think they come at night?" he said, declining also to give his own last name.

Tanzania holds presidential and parliamentary elections on October 30, with fears running high of violence in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, an opposition stronghold that has already been shaken by bloody clashes between rival supporters.

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa will step down after the poll and most analysts expect Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete, 55, of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to win the vote and replace him. It's a prediction Pandu supports.

"Kikwete has already been chosen. I saw that a young person would win this election," he said.

A majority of Tanzania's 35 million people are either Christian or Muslim, but most also respect the animist beliefs of their ancestors and often consult witch-doctors for help with money problems, affairs of the heart and illnesses.

The coastal region of Bagamoyo northeast of the capital Dar es Salaam is renowned for the quality of its witch-doctors.

DON'T LEAVE IT TOO LATE

Pandu's spells usually involve sewing a few verses written with a sharp stick dipped in red ink into the clothes of an aspiring legislator. The floor of his tiny consulting room is littered with unused pens and white paper strips.

But seeking other-worldly help to secure political victory should not be left to the last minute.

"You have to come even before the party nominations begin and make frequent visits after that if you have any hope of winning," he said.

Other witch-doctors backed his prediction of victory for Kikwete, who is from the Bagamoyo district.

"(The age) 55 is a good number as he has crossed from 4 which is a negative number," witch-doctor and astrologer Sheikh Yahya Hussein said in a weekly television programme.

Hussein said the number 55 signified that Kikwete would help develop Tanzania, a poor country that has nurtured its image as one of Africa's most stable countries despite what critics call a record of brutality and electoral dirty tricks in Zanzibar.

Others were less optimistic, echoing the gloom of analysts who say the elections could trigger more violence in Zanzibar, where dozens of opposition supporters were killed in clashes with police in 2001.

"Where we are going is not good," said Rajab Kibuna. "I have predicted that there will be fighting after the elections up to June next year. What I see is that this election doesn't offer peace. I don't know how many of us will survive."

Already, two people have been killed and scores more have been injured in pre-poll clashes between supporters of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) and the ruling CCM in Zanzibar, which will elect its own president and parliament.

The CUF has promised Ukraine-style protests if it deems the October 30 election to be unfair.

WISDOM

A majority of Tanzania's witch-doctors are Muslim. Their magic includes recited verses from the Koran -- a practice that Muslim leaders say is acceptable if carried out respectfully.

"There are some verses in the Holy Koran that should be read out when praying," Mzee Ruga Mwinyikai, a leader of the Council of Imams in the Dar es Salaam suburb of Kinondoni, said.

"But it is forbidden that they should write down any of these verses in blood, whether of animal or human beings."

In poor Tanzania, witch-doctors can enjoy a good living thanks to their popularity. Hussein said he got clients from as far away as Washington and London.

Kibuna, who is the leader of a local branch of the CUF and says he has 12 clients in positions of power, does not ask for payment. Instead, his clients give him what they think is a appropriate amount for his services.

They seem to be quite generous: the witch-doctor lives in a stone-brick building with a corrugated iron roof in his dry and dusty Mlingotini village with his two wives and 14 children. A CUF flag sways in the wind outside.

His neighbours live in mud huts covered with palm fronds.

But with the relative wealth comes responsibility, especially when dealing with requests from politicians.

"You have to evaluate whether the candidate is right for the people," Kibuna said. "You can help the wrong person go up and earn money for yourself but create problems for everyone else."

Vote
 

MrRING

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
4,935
Likes
988
Points
144
#9
Bonethrower, an online witchdoctor

The Rise of the Tele-Witchdoctor
The Irresistible Rise Of The Tele-witchdoctor
From The East African, May 24-30, 1999
By Charles Onyango-Obbo
Ritual killers in the lower east and southern part of Uganda are running riot. There are daily reports and pictures in the papers of abducted children who are found abandoned in the bush either with their heads chopped off, or tongues cut out. Panicked parents are ordering new locks for their doors - and are up in arms.

Ritual killings are not new in Uganda. Witchdoctors have always asked their "customers" to bring them human beings whom they "sacrifice" to the gods. These "customers" could be businessmen looking to protect their wealth, wives trying to "bewitch" the mistresses of their cheating husbands, ministers eager to immunise themselves against reshuffles, and presidents in search of a long rule. However, these ritual killings were always few and far in between.

The recent escalation is unusual and has everyone puzzled. They shouldn't be. The epidemic of ritual killings is, ironically, partly the fall-out from progress.

Witch doctors were always a despised lot. In the towns their "offices" and "clinics" were located in the slums, or the outlying poor suburbs.

Then several developments changed their fortunes. About five years ago, the first independent FM stations came on the scene. However, they mostly went after the young, middle class, and educated market. Then three years ago there was an FM explosion. Some of the stations discovered that there was big money downtown and in the villages. Today there 10 FM stations in Kampala alone, and the competition is brutal. With prices of announcements going for a song, and stations broadcasting in local languages witchdoctors began advertising their services.

This marketing earned the witchdoctors a little respectability, and allowed them to radically expand their business opportunities.

By coincidence CelTel, the country's first mobile phone company, began to bring the price of their services down about two years ago. But they remained relatively high, and one couldn't get connected without filling out papers. Then along came the part-South African mobile company, MTN. It brought prices to the floor, and its "Pay As You Go" service allowed people to get hooked without doing any paper work.

Now witchdoctors were not only advertising their services on popular FM radio programmes, but were publicising their mobile phone numbers as well. The age of the tele-witchdoctor had arrived. Customers who were finicky about being seen sitting beside the witchdoctor's ant-hill, could now call up home delivery voodoo.

However, the witchdoctors needed to get around. They needed cars. The used Japanese cars market is big in Uganda. On the upper end of the scale, some of the cars go for as much as $20,000. But at the bottom end, you can drive off one for $2,500. With a rush of new clients, the witchdoctors were making better money. Nevertheless, they still needed to be exempt from certain costs to make enough to buy themselves wheels too. Luckily for them, the voodoo arts are tax exempt, thus giving the practitioners an indirect subsidy. In contrast, for example, in Hoima to the west a man who had a dancing dog and used to charge every spectator between Shs 100 to 200, was asked to pay taxes on his collections by the municipal authorities. To evade the dog-dance tax, he fled the town.

With orders up, the really good witch doctors and medicine men seem to have become over-priced and too few for the new market in their services. A new cadre of what the medicine men's association calls "quacks", moved in to fill the vacuum in market. According to the elite witchdoctors, it is these "quacks" with no ethics who are bringing their trade into disrepute.

It's unlikely that the witchcraft industry will improve its image soon. Already, their pockets overflowing with cash, top medicine men like the renowned "Dr" Maji Moto are moving out of the dark art altogether and investing in more regular business and alternative churches. As the mobile phones and FM radios spread, and government shies away from regulating the grim business, more "quacks" will enter the fray. This is one trade that is set to become worse, before it gets better.
 

byroncac

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Apr 14, 2003
Messages
243
Likes
2
Points
49
#10
SA Healers To Give HIV Help

A small group of traditional healers in South Africa are being trained on how to persuade people in the early stages of HIV/Aids to get tested and to take anti-retroviral drugs, in an effort to combat stigma surrounding the virus.

Four in five South Africans rely on traditional healers who act as both counsellors and suppliers of traditional medicine.

Some healers prescribe herbal treatments which may actually make things worse by speeding up the progress of HIV in the body.

But with the Aids pandemic currently killing almost 1,000 people a day in the country, a number of sangomas, as traditional healers are known, have attended a six-week course at Cape Town's Tygerberg hospital to learn about HIV.

Philip Kubukele, a sangoma from Khayelitsha township who has been practising for more than 30 years, told BBC World Service's Outlook programme that before he worked with the Western doctors, he believed that the drugs they prescribed "were going to kill my people."

"I didn't trust the drugs or the testing," he said.

"They would ask: 'What are you suffering from?' But we don't ask anybody [this question] - we just tell them what is wrong."

Some Sangomas see hundreds of local residents each day.

In some cases they just give out advice, in others they deal in medicines.

Mr Kubukele said that he has told the people who come to him to work with doctors at the hospitals.

One of his patients, David - who did not want to give his surname - told Outlook he was now taking anti-retroviral drugs after being advised to go to the hospital for a test.

"If I hadn't been advised to do this, I would never have gone," he said.
"In the past, I have had very little faith in Western medicine - I preferred to rely on herbal treatments."

He added that if he had remained undiagnosed, he felt it would have been likely he would have contracted an HIV-related illness such as TB or pneumonia.

The doctors behind the training scheme are welcoming the move.

"The stigma [around HIV] is enormous," Monica Essa, a paediatrician at Tygerberg Hospital.

"Most people are still very resistant to being tested - it's very frightening.

"Initially, the testing was based at Western-based medical institutions, which makes it even more foreign to the predominantly black population."

The "big step forward" will be to integrate traditional healers and traditional healing medicine with Western structures, Ms Essa added, saying there is a need to "break down the barriers of distrust" between the two.

The key move will be to facilitate testing by community healers.

"I think the only way forward is for people to know their status, to be tested, to be taught and counselled how to be careful, and not to infect other people.

"Children are still being rapidly infected by mothers who are positive and do not know their status.

"If we know, for example, the mother's status, there's a lot that can be done. With the best intervention - as is happening in Europe - the transmission rate to the child can be reduced to virtually zero."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/4764182.stm
 

byroncac

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Apr 14, 2003
Messages
243
Likes
2
Points
49
#11
Forest Pygmies Heed Spirit World

The spirit of the forest remains an important force for Cameroon's pygmy people, even though traditional ways are changing, reports Naomi Wellings of the BBC World Service Heart and Soul programme.

In the dense forest of southern Cameroon, Chief Arweh Richard is the final arbiter for his extended family of around 70 people.
Every evening he watches affectionately as the young men play football together in front of the camp, and he sometimes joins in, too.

He helps his wife Gabba as she prepares the evening meal of bushmeat and boiled cassava.

Rather than ruling from an obviously elevated position, the chief seems to understand how inter-connected these people are, both with each other, and with their physical surroundings.

Pygmies are among the few remaining hunter-gatherer peoples in Africa.

But whereas some pygmies hunt with a spear or with arrows, Chief Arweh and his fellow men set traps which they regularly inspect.

Much of the religious ceremony which traditionally preceded hunting continues, in spite of the fact that their approach is less dangerous now.

Part of that ceremony involves the rite of a wife praying for her husband's safety, as she smears some ground bark on to his forehead.
The forest is to be respected - it is not simply a resource, it's seen as a force which has sustained generations of pygmies.

The force within the forest is called Agengi, the god of pygmies everywhere.

Whether they are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, or here in Cameroon, Chief Arweh tells me they can come to the forest and call out to Agengi and he will reply to them.

There are different reasons why people might want to do that.

While I was staying in the village, the chief was frustrated that his other role as the settlement's traditional healer was these days being neglected.

"People don't come for healing any more," he said.


"I used to have lots of people coming for medicine and my treatment. I was well known for healing people the doctors couldn't."
But in visiting the forest and calling out to Agengi - making loud whooping noises - Chief Arweh and his father Antoine and son Yamma, believe they connect with their god.

After they have made their call, a startling clapping sound seems to come out of the leaves all around us.

This, I'm told, is Agengi and simply being with him means that some of his power rubs off on you.

Later in the week, when Chief Arweh receives two visitors seeking traditional remedies for their families' illnesses, he tells me Agengi has heard his cry and given him back his role in the community.

Chief Arweh recognises that the forest not only provides for its people physically with creatures and plants for food, but its god determines their health and well-being in every way.

This symbiotic relationship between the forest surroundings and the forest dwellers, is summed up in a popular phrase the chief told me: "You can take the pygmy man out of the forest, but you can't take the forest out of the pygmy man."


Naomi Wellings's research in Cameroon was made possible by a bursary from the Onassis Trust.

You can listen to her programme at the link below:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/4978034.stm
 

OneWingedBird

Beloved of Ra
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Messages
14,997
Likes
5,148
Points
284
#12
With Zimbabwe's health sector in ruins, witchdoctors are busy
A woman i work with lived in Africa for a year (i think Ghana) and said that almost all of the indiginous people there used witchdoctors because they couldn't afford to see a real doctor, and also because of cultural taboos on what was considered 'white mans medicine'.

She also said, interestingly, that at one time the witchdoctors would accept payment in alcohol or tobacco, though most now accept currency.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#13
Albinos in Burundi flee killings

Albinos in Burundi have been taking refuge after three of them were killed by gangs apparently seeking to sell body parts in neighbouring Tanzania.

Four albinos were moved to a provincial centre on Thursday in Ruyigi, Burundi, where police were protecting them, the BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge reports.

Authorities have arrested six people in connection with the murder of an albino teenage girl in August.

The attacks follow the killing of 26 Tanzanian albinos in less than a year.

A BBC correspondent's investigation there revealed that witchdoctors were behind the killings.

They sought albino body parts for potions that they claimed could make people rich.

Two of the albinos killed in Burundi - a man and a teenage girl - were reportedly found dead with their legs and arms missing.

Police said the tip of the girl's tongue was also removed.

Neighbours of another teenage albino girl killed in Ruyigi in August chased away her attackers, six of whom were later apprehended as they came to retrieve her body parts.

They are said to have told police that they were planning to sell the body parts in Tanzania.

Our correspondent says that albinos in Burundi - estimated to number around 200 - are now living in fear for their lives.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/a ... 649420.stm
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#14
Tanzania 'healers' flout ban
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7851287.stm

Tanzania's only albino MP has been trying to fight prejudice
Traditional healers in Tanzania are defying a government ban announced on Friday, intended to stop the killings of people with albinism for ritual medicine.

A BBC correspondent has seen at least 10 healers working openly.

It comes days after the latest murder of an albino man in Tanzania brought the national death toll to at least 40 since mid-2007.

The killers reportedly sell albino body parts - including limbs, hair, skin and genitals - to witchdoctors.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda said on Friday the government was revoking the licences of all traditional healers with immediate effect.

Leg chopped off

"These witchdoctors are big liars," he said at a rally in the northern Shinyanga region.

But the BBC's Vicky Ntetema said it was business as usual for the traditional healers she visited on Monday just outside the biggest city Dar es Salaam.

I believe it would have been better if the PM had consulted us before announcing the ban

Haruna Kifimbo
Traditional healer

A spokesman for a traditional healers' association has criticised the ban.

Arusha-based herbalist Haruna Kifimbo told the Citizen newspaper: "We are legally registered, they should be dealing with some state organs who have not done much to stop the wave of albino killings."

He claimed members of his association were offering services to more than 30% of the country's population.

"We have so many patients and clients who depend on us," he told the Citizen. "I believe it would have been better if the PM had consulted us before announcing the ban."

In the most recent case last Wednesday an albino man - named as Jonas Maduka - was killed in Sogoso village in the north-western Mwanza region.

He was reportedly eating dinner at home when some people called and asked for his help.

When he went outside he was strangled, before his assailants chopped off his leg and made away with the limb.

The Tanzanian authorities have arrested more than 90 people in recent months - including four police officers - on suspicion of killing albinos or of trading in their body parts.

There are thought to be more than 200,000 albinos in the country, which has a total population of 40 million.

The killings have spread to neighbouring states, with at least one albino murder each in Burundi and Kenya last year.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#15
Tanzania illegal healers arrested
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7906645.stm

Three traditional healers in northern Tanzania have been arrested for defying a government ban issued last month.

It was meant to stop killings of people with albinism for ritual medicine.

Their arrest follows charges against a pastor, who was allegedly found in south-western Tanzania in possession of the body parts of an albino.

The BBC's Vicky Ntetema in Dar es Salaam says this case is blow to people with albinism, some of whom have been seeking refugee in churches.

The pastor - Cosmas Mwasenga - was arrested in the Mbeya region and faces the death penalty if found guilty.

The three traditional healers had been travelling around the northern district of Serengeti in a car using a public address system to let their clients know that they were still open for business.

Their arrests come days after the murder of a 14-year-old albino girl in the northern Mwanza region, bringing the national death toll to 45 since mid-2007.

The killers reportedly sell albino body parts - including limbs, hair, skin and genitals - to witchdoctors to make potions that purport to make people wealthy.

Our reporter says more than 200 people - including witchdoctors, their clients, hired killers and some of the victims' relatives - have been arrested in connection with the killings in the last year.

No-one has so far been convicted, she says.

There are thought to be more than 200,000 albinos in the country, which has a total population of 40 million.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#16
Tanzanians to name albino killers
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7918960.stm

Many people with albinism are living in fear in Tanzania
Tanzania is launching a nationwide exercise urging the public to identify those behind dozens of murders of people with albinism.

In the secret "referendum", citizens will be invited to write down on slips of paper the names of those they suspect of involvement.

Legal officials will gather the names and pass them to the police.

President Jakaya Kikwete said the public should not fear retribution for naming the culprits.

The killers reportedly sell albino body parts - including limbs, hair, skin and genitals - to witchdoctors who make potions promising to make people wealthy.

In the past 15 months, 45 albinos have been slaughtered in Tanzania.

'Political ploy'

But there are concerns the process could be flawed and lead to accusations against innocent people.

Edmund Sengondo Mvungi, a law lecturer at Dar es Salaam University, told the BBC News website: "When you invite people to accuse their neighbours of such a serious crime, you give them the opportunity to settle scores.
People should feel free to name those who are behind these barbaric killings and other criminal acts within their localities

President Jakaya Kikwete

"This shouldn't be subjected to a vote-like process. It's a political ploy to please those who say the government is not doing enough to solve these murders."

President Kikwete announced the nationwide exercise during his end of the month speech on Saturday.

It will start within the next fortnight in the Lake Zone regions of Mwanza, Kagera, Mara and Shinyanga - where 44 out of the 45 albino murders have taken place.

Superstitious miners and fishermen in the region hoping to get rich quick have been accused of fuelling the demand for the potions.

The exercise will then continue in phases throughout the southern highlands, central, western, eastern, and northern regions, said the president.

"Our idea is to ensure the problem is eliminated and the country's image to the international community is cleansed," Mr Kikwete said on national TV.

"People should feel free to name those who are behind these barbaric killings and other criminal acts within their localities."

Boasting

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, who recently wept in parliament as he bewailed the albino murders, is to launch the campaign.

The BBC's Vicky Ntetema in Dar es Salaam says it is not clear how effective the exercise will be in a society which believes in witchcraft and whose confidence in the legal system is wearing thin.

A recent BBC investigation found some witchdoctors openly boasting that they were working with the police.

Our reporter says more than 200 people - including alleged witchdoctors, their clients, hired killers and some of the victims' relatives - have been arrested in connection with the killings in the last year.

No-one has so far been convicted, she says.

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week decried the albino killings during his official visit to the country.

Last week, in neighbouring Burundi, assailants reportedly dismembered a six-year-old albino boy in his home in front of his parents, the eighth albino killing in that country.

The government issued a ban on all traditional healers in January in an effort to stop the killings and several have been arrested since then on suspicion of flouting the order.

Last month, a pastor was charged in Tanzania with being found in possession of the body parts of an albino.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#19
Gambians 'taken by witch doctors'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7949173.stm

Witch doctor in Mozambique (file pic)

Traditional healers, often called witch doctors, use ancient treatments

Up to 1,000 Gambian villagers have been abducted by "witch doctors" to secret detention centres and forced to drink potions, a human rights group says.

Amnesty International said some forced to drink the concoctions developed kidney problems, and two had died.

Officials in the police, army and the president's personal protection guard had accompanied the "witch doctors" in the bizarre roundup, said witnesses.

Gambia's government was unavailable to comment on the claims.

The human rights group asserted that many of those abducted were elderly.

The London-based rights group said the witch hunters, said to be from neighbouring Guinea, were invited into Gambia after the death of the president's aunt earlier this year was blamed on witchcraft.

Kate Allen, Amnesty's UK director, said hundreds of Gambians have fled to neighbouring Senegal for safety after seeing their villages attacked.

"The Gambian government has to put a stop to this campaign, investigate these attacks immediately and bring those responsible to justice," she said.

'Diarrhoea and vomiting'

Amnesty spoke to villagers who said they had been held for up to five days and forced to drink unknown substances, which they said caused them to hallucinate and behave erratically.

The paramilitary police armed with guns and shovels surrounded our village and threatened that anyone who tries to escape will be buried six feet under
Eyewitness

Many said they were then forced to confess to being witches. In some cases, they were also allegedly severely beaten, almost to the point of death.

Eyewitnesses and victims told Amnesty the "witch doctors" were from neighbouring Guinea.

As well as police, army and national intelligence agents, they were also reportedly joined by "green boys" - personal protection guards of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Amnesty said the incidents took place in the Foni Kansala district, near to the president's hometown in Kanilai.

In the most recent incident, said to have taken place on 9 March, hundreds of people from Sintet village were allegedly rounded up.

One eyewitness told the rights group: "The paramilitary police armed with guns and shovels surrounded our village and threatened the villagers that anyone who tries to escape will be buried six feet under."

Three hundred men and women were allegedly randomly identified and forced at gunpoint into waiting buses, which ferried them to Kanilai.

Once there, they were stripped and forced to drink dirty herbal water and were bathed with herbs, the eyewitness said.

Many of those who drank the concoctions developed instant diarrhoea and vomiting, the eyewitness added.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#20
Jail over Burundi albino murders
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8166273.stm

Witchdoctors claim potions made from albinos bring luck and love
One person has been sentenced to life in prison and eight others to jail in Burundi over the murder of albinos whose remains were sold for witchcraft.

Three other suspects were acquitted by the court in Ruyigi province over the the killings of at least 12 albinos.

The victims were mutilated and their body parts sold in neighbouring Tanzania for use in potions.

In addition to the killing of albinos in Burundi, more than 40 have been killed in Tanzania.

In addition to the life sentence, those convicted were jailed for between one and 15 years.

The trial is believed to be the first linked to a spate of albino killings in East Africa since 2007.

Witchdoctors in the region claim potions made with albino body parts will bring those who use them luck in love, life and business.

An association campaigning for the rights of albinos in Burundi says the authorities are now taking the killings seriously, but more needs to be done.

At least 200 people have been arrested over the trade in Tanzania, but none has been convicted.
 

jubecrew

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
224
Likes
1
Points
24
#21
Obeahs will always exist. They make up your voodoo, hoodoo practitioners and often times is used for more harm then good.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#22
Death for Tanzania albino killers
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8270446.stm

Albino people live in fear in Tanzania and Burundi
A court in north-western Tanzania has sentenced three men to death by hanging for killing a 14-year-old albino boy.

They were found guilty of attacking Matatizo Dunia and severing his legs in Bukombe district in Shinyanga province.

Albino body parts are used in potions sold by witchdoctors promising wealth. Tanzania has seen an unprecedented rise in the killings in recent years.

Dozens of people have been arrested, but the justice system is notoriously slow and this is the first conviction.

There are 50 other cases of killings of albino people before the courts.

The Tanzanian government has publicly stated its desire to end the killings.

In March, President Jakaya Kikwete called on Tanzanians to come forward with any information they might have.

In July a court in neighbouring Burundi sentenced one person to life in prison and eight others to jail for the murder of albino people whose remains were sold in Tanzania.

There are estimated to be about 17,000 albino people living in Tanzania. They lack pigment in their skin and appear pale.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#23
Albino killers 'should be hanged'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8273139.stm

Albino people live in fear in Tanzania and Burundi
The Tanzania Albino Society (Tas) has called for the men found guilty of killing an albino boy to be hanged publicly as a warning to others.

A court sentenced them to death for attacking the boy and severing his legs for use in witchdoctors' potions.

The BBC's John Ngahyoma in Dar es Salaam says there are more than 100 people on death row, but no-one has been executed in more than 15 years.

But Tas chairman Ernest Kimaya urged the president to endorse the sentence.

"I want other perpetrators to learn - seeing is believing," he told the BBC.

Mr Kimaya told Tanzania's Citizen newspaper that a public execution would also "show that the government is serious in its war on albino killers".

In the past two years, 53 albino people have been murdered in Tanzania.

Albino people, who lack pigment in their skin and appear pale, are killed because potions made from their body parts are believed to bring good luck and wealth.

The Tanzanian government has publicly stated its desire to end the killings.

In March, President Jakaya Kikwete called on Tanzanians to come forward with any information they might have.

Reprisal fears

Officials banned witchdoctors from practising, however many have continued to work.





Living in fear: Tanzania's albinos
In hiding for exposing witchdoctors
Many of Tanzania's estimated 17,000 albino people are now living in fear, especially in villages in the north-west where the majority of the murders have occurred.

The case in Kahama on Wednesday was the first conviction in Tanzania for an albino killing.

Correspondents say there is also a fear of reprisal killings as witchdoctors and their clients wield a lot of power in their communities.

Witchdoctors in Tanzania and other parts of East Africa have made tens of thousands of dollars from selling potions and other items made from the bones, hair, skin and genitals of dead albino people.

They pay a lot of money for body parts.

In July a court in neighbouring Burundi sentenced one person to life in prison and eight others to jail for the murder of albino people whose remains were sold in Tanzania.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#24
Albino killers get death penalty
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8338838.stm

Albino people in a safe haven in Tanzania, 01/09
Albino people live in fear throughout Tanzania

Four Tanzanians have been sentenced to death by hanging for killing an albino man last year - one of a spate of such murders in the country.

The court, in the northern town of Shinyanga, convicted them of murdering the man and removing his head and legs.

In September three men were sentenced to death for murdering an albino boy - the first such ruling in Tanzania.

Witchdoctors sell good-luck potions made from the body parts of albino people for thousands of dollars.

More than 50 albino people are thought to have been murdered in the past two years in Tanzania.

Analysts say thousands of albino people are now living in fear, especially in villages in the north-west where the majority of the murders have occurred.

The killings have also spread to neighbouring Burundi, where at least 12 people have been murdered.

The BBC's Eric Nampesya in Shinyanga says many Tanzanians are happy with the ruling because they believe it is sending a message that such killings will not be tolerated.

But he says some are questioning whether there is a bigger network of criminals behind the killings - and they want those who deal in body parts to be punished.

The four men are expected to appeal against their sentence, our reporter says.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#25
Rise in African children accused of witchcraft
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-10671790

Albino children in Tanzania (file photo)
A wide range of children are at risk

An increasing number of children are being accused of witchcraft in parts of Africa, the UN children's agency says.

Orphans, street children, albinos and the disabled are most at risk.

A new Unicef report warns that children accused of being witches - some as young as eight - have been been burned, beaten and even killed as punishment.

The belief that a child could be a witch is a relatively modern development, researchers say.

Until 10-20 years ago, it was women and the elderly who tended to be accused.

The agency says the rise in vulnerable children being abused in this way is linked to greater urbanisation in the continent and disruption caused by war.

The growing economic burden of raising children is also thought to be a factor.

The agency said there was little it could do about the belief in witchcraft itself, and that it was not trying to eradicate the practice. But it said violence against children was wrong, and that it would do everything it could to stop it.
'Major problem'

Most of those accused of witchcraft are boys aged between eight to 14 - who often end up being attacked, tortured and sometimes killed.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

The children would be forced to admit being witches and then asked to tell the accusers who passed on the witchcraft to them”

End Quote Joquim Theis Unicef officer

Also, children have had petrol poured into their eyes or ears as a way of trying to exorcise "evil spirits" that healers believe have possessed them.

It is reported that some evangelical preachers have added to the problem by charging large sums for exorcisms. One was recently arrested in Nigeria after charging more than $250 for each procedure.

There has been no comprehensive study to suggest how widespread child witchcraft allegations are.

However Unicef's Regional Child Protection officer for West and Central Africa told the BBC more than 20,000 streetchildren had been accused of witchcraft in the DR Congo capital Kinshasa.

Joaquim Theis told the Newshour programme that such children had often been beaten and sent away from their homes.

"The children would be forced to admit being witches and then asked to tell the accusers who passed on the witchcraft to them."

Mr Theis said reintegrating affected children remained a "major problem"
 
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
5,504
Likes
3,240
Points
244
#26
...A new Unicef report warns that children accused of being witches - some as young as eight - have been been burned, beaten and even killed as punishment.

The belief that a child could be a witch is a relatively modern development, researchers say.

Until 10-20 years ago, it was women and the elderly who tended to be accused...
About a year ago I saw a documentary about children being accused of witchcraft in Nigeria which was probably the most upsetting thing I've ever seen.

If I recall correctly one of the theories proposed for the surge in accusations against children was that it was at least partly connected to the huge popularity of a home grown - and, from the segments shown, utterly revolting - horror movie (which I think is called End of the Wicked).

The anxieties this movie created, or, more probably, exploited, (or, even more probably, both) have themselves been exploited by some of Nigeria's enormously popular (and wealthy) evangelical Christian* preachers - a particularly revolting example of one being interviewed in the documentary, whose only defense appeared to be that any criticism of her and her open and undenied accusations of witchcraft against the utterly defenceless was based purely on the racism of the accuser.

Truly awful, awful stuff.

*I'd add that many of those putting their lives at risk to fight this abuse were themselves committed Christians working as individuals or for Christian charities.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#27
Burundi albino boy 'dismembered'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11614957

Albino people in a safe haven in Tanzania, 01/09 Albinos in Tanzania have become targets for body-snatchers seeking to sell them to witch doctors

The dismembered body of a young albino boy has been found in a river on the Burundi-Tanzania border, reports say.

The boy, aged nine, was taken from Makamba province in Burundi by a gang that crossed the border, the head of Burundi's albino association said.

Kassim Kazungu told AFP the remains had been recovered from the Malagarazi river and given a formal burial.

Albino body parts are prized in parts of Africa, with witch-doctors claiming they have special powers.
Continue reading the main story
Related stories

* In hiding for exposing witch-doctors
* Living in fear: Tanzania's albinos
* Kenyan held in albino sale sting

Mr Kazungu told the AFP news agency that Tanzanian police had arrested five people, although there was no official confirmation from Tanzania.

In Tanzania, the body parts of people living with albinism are used by witch-doctors for potions which they tell clients will help make them rich or healthy.

Dozens of albinos have been killed, and the killings have spread to neighbouring Burundi.

In August a court in Tanzania sentenced a Kenyan accused of trying to sell an albino to 17 years in jail and a fine of more than $50,000 (£41,200).

Tanzanian authorities have promised to crack down on albino traffickers, and several people have been sentenced to death in connection with killings.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#28
Man accused of wife's murder 'consulted witch doctor'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-11628516

A man who drugged his children before killing his wife at their Southampton home had consulted a "witch doctor" in the months before, a court has heard.

George Kibuuka is accused of using a sledgehammer and knife to murder his wife Margaret in November 2009.

The jury heard he visited his home country of Uganda to discuss problems in his marriage with family and friends and was "not himself".

Mr Kibuuka, 48, denies murder and drugging three of his children.

He admits the killing but his defence is arguing diminished responsibility, saying he was suffering from an "abnormality of mind".
Sleeping tablets

His friend told Winchester Crown Court he was "surprised" to find out Mr Kibuuka had consulted a witch doctor and not a medic about his problems.

The trial earlier heard that Mr Kibuuka put sleeping tablets into the food and drink of the couple's children so they would not witness the attack.

In the early hours of the next day, on 8 November last year, he went to his wife's bedroom at their Shirley home with the sledgehammer.

After the killing he stabbed himself in the abdomen and took organophosphate pesticide, but was found by paramedics and survived.

Part-time carer Mrs Kibuuka, 40, had filed for divorce, claiming her husband had been violent towards her.

Mr Kibuuka did not accept the marriage was over and did not want to lose his considerable assets, the hearing was told.

The mother-of-four had complained to police about her husband's violence and emotional abuse in the weeks before her death, the court heard.

The trial continues.
 

Cultjunky

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
1,922
Likes
440
Points
89
#29
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
45,420
Likes
15,292
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#30
African children trafficked to UK for blood rituals
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15280776
By Chris Rogers
BBC News, Kampala and London

Some 9,000 children have gone missing in Uganda over the past four years, according to a US report

Related Stories

Where child sacrifice is a business
In pictures: Child sacrifice in Uganda
Uganda profile

Over the last four years, at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities, according to figures obtained by the BBC. It is unclear how they are smuggled into the country but a sinister picture is emerging of why.

Whether it is through leaflets handed out in High Streets or small ads in local newspapers, witch-doctors and traditional African spiritual healers are becoming ever more prominent in Britain.

The work many of them do is harmless enough, but there is evidence that some are involved in the abuse of children who have been abducted from their families in Africa, and trafficked to the UK.

According to Christine Beddoe, director of the anti-trafficking charity Ecpat UK, a cultural belief in the power of human blood in so-called juju rituals is playing a part in the demand for African children.

"Our experience tells us that traffickers can be anybody. They can be people with power, people with money or people involved in witchcraft," she explains.

"Trafficking can involve witch-doctors and other types of professionals in the community who are using those practices."

Violent and degrading
Figures compiled by Ecpat, combined with those of the Metropolitan Police and Ceop, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, show that at least 400 African children have been abducted and trafficked to the UK and rescued by the British authorities.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

I would have no problem to get a child officially or there is a way of doing it secretly, abduct a child”

Yunus Kabul
Testimonies from many of these children have revealed that once they arrive in Britain, they are exposed to violent and degrading treatments, often involving the forced extraction of their blood to be used for clients demanding blood rituals.

Some of these victims agreed to share their experiences on the promise of anonymity because they still fear their abusers.

One boy explained how witch-doctors took his blood to be used in such rituals: "The traffickers or witch-doctors take your hair and cut your arms, legs, heads and genitals and collect the blood. They say if you speak out I can kill you."

Another victim feared for her life, saying the "witch-doctor told me that one day he would need my head.


Unaware he was being recorded, Mr Kabul described to the BBC's Chris Rogers how he got hold of children for his customers.
"Sometimes I would wake up and he would be standing over me with a knife, every night I was terrified that he would do it."

Meanwhile, a girl from Nigeria remains convinced the spell performed on her means she can never identify her traffickers, for fear her family will die.

"They told me I was evil and made bad things happen. I believed it and that this was my punishment and what my life would be."

Human blood ritual
Witch-doctors, or traditional spiritual healers as they prefer to be known, are becoming more prominent in Britain.

Many offer "life changing rituals", involving prayer and herbs. A price tag of £350 ($547) would not be uncommon.

But there are some who engage in more sinister practices.

Posing as a couple with financial problems, I visited 10 witch-doctors. All offered herbal potions to end our money worries, but two also made the offer of a ritual involving human blood.


The US says Uganda is one of the main source countries for children to be smuggled to the UK
Although, there is no evidence that they themselves were involved in the trafficking and abuse of children, it contributes to a disturbing picture of abduction and abuse.

According to a US State Department report, Uganda has become one of the main source countries for children to be bought and smuggled to Britain. Some 9,000 children have gone missing in the country over the past four years.

The ease with which a child could be procured was apparent when, posing as a British trafficker, I went looking for help in the cafes and bars in the underworld of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

For $250 (£160) a reformed criminal introduced us to Yunus Kabul, who boasted he had been abducting children for witch-doctors in Africa and abroad, for years.

During our conversation he offered as many children as we required.

"I have enough, a hundred, no problem. I have so many communications. I have a network across whole of Uganda."

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

People think even talking about juju might lead to something bad happening to them”

Det Ch Supt Richard Martin
Metropolitan Police
Mr Kabul arranged a meeting at an isolated hotel. Unaware he was being recorded, he described how he got hold of children for his customers.

"It all depends how they want it done? I can take you to a family home, I would have no problem to get a child officially or there is a way of doing it secretly, abduct a child."

I asked Mr Kabul if the police would cause a problem.

"I have to find a house where we can take the supply, the children, in a remote area. So the police cannot find them," he explained.

Mr Kabul demanded a fee of £10,000 ($15,600) per child. I withdrew from the negotiations.

The head of Uganda's Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, Commissioner Bignoa Moses, admits there is a problem: "We cannot rule out that children end up abroad because as of now we don't have the capacity to monitor each individual and many simply disappear."

Back in the UK, despite the testimony of so many victims, the cultural belief in the power of juju is a huge challenge for the authorities.

One senior police detective says part of the problem is the silence that surrounds the matter.

"While juju is widely believed, it is rarely spoken about publicly. People think even talking about juju might lead to something bad happening to them," says Det Ch Supt Richard Martin, head of the Metropolitan Police's Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command.

"This presents officers with enormous difficulties when it comes to investigating these crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice."
 
Top