This life! See Scary Ways Witches Are Caught In Edo State

This life! See Scary Ways Witches Are Caught In Edo State

In Nigeria it is a popular saying that most witches can be found in Edo state, how then are these witches hunted? However, prior to arriving at the witch doctor’s place, he or she will be flogged, and the devil beans poured on their hair. These are a special kind of African beans known to cause intense itching. The suspect will undergo all kinds of untold torture in order to force the truth out of them, usually ending up confessing.
The witch doctor further enforces such confessions, and if the suspect is eventually found guilty of practicing witchcraft, he or she is excommunicated from the community.
This Day, one of Nigeria’s national daily newspapers, reported that 77-year old Ukabi Njoku from Asaga Ohafia, Abia State, was beaten to death on suspicion of being a wizard (18 Mar. 2004). 
A former member of the Asaga People’s Assembly (APA), Njoku was allegedly killed by six members of Ndi Ibeahi, a local vigilante group (This Day 18 Mar. 2004). Members of Njoku’s family were apparently threatened with death if they reported the killing to the police (ibid.).
In another incident, Vanguard, a national daily newspaper, reported that local youths killed four people in the village of Eyuma, Cross River State because they suspected them of being witches and wizards responsible for the deaths of two local clergymen (Vanguard 18 Nov. 2004). A mass killing of suspected witches and wizards in Ozalla, Edo State, captured the attention of a number of media sources (Daily Champion 3 Dec. 2004; Vanguard 30 Nov. 2004; The News 29 Nov. 2004). 
According to the reports, between 25 and 27 people died after they consumed a tonic that was prepared by a native doctor to determine whether or not they were witches or wizards (ibid.; Daily Champion 3 Dec. 2004; Vanguard 30 Nov. 2004). Prominent members of the community believed that a series of unfortunate events spanning several years was the result of occult forces and that a community-wide purging of witches and wizards would remedy the problem (ibid., Daily Champion 3 Dec. 2004; The News 29 Nov. 2004).
The community leaders believed that those involved in witchcraft would die after drinking the potion, while those who were not involved would merely vomit (ibid.; Daily Champion 3 Dec. 2004; Vanguard 30 Nov. 2004). Paul Ochonu, the state Police Commissioner, apparently ordered an inquiry and the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the killings (The News 29 Nov. 2004). 
According to The News, a weekly newspaper published in Lagos, killing those suspected of witchcraft is not new to the town of Ozalla-alleged witches and wizards were lynched and their houses burned in 2002 (29 Nov. 2004).
Auntie B is a widow from Idumoza, Irrua in Esan Central in Edo state. She was accused of being responsible for the death of a child. According to local sources, the woman was twice
alleged to have harmed children through occult means. In the first instance, a child said before his death that the auntie gave him some food to eat. 
People suspected that some magical substance in the food led to the death of the child. The case was reported to the elders of the community. But the elders dismissed the case on the ground that the matter was not brought to them to consider when the child was alive.
Not too long after this child passed away, another child took ill in the community and also claimed that the same auntie gave him something to eat and the matter was reported to the elders. 
This time, the elders ruled that the woman should be taken to drink some concoction to ascertain her guilt. Local sources said that the magic potion contained toxic substances. Incidentally, those who wanted to administer the substance asked the accusers to pay 50,000 Naira (150 dollars) but the accusers could not afford the fee. Auntie B, therefore, did not take the concoction, and she is temporarily out of danger.
An Edo resident, Auntie B continues to live in fear because she could, at any time, be attacked or killed by her accusers. Killing an alleged witch is considered a form of community service, a way to revenge and neutralize the source of harm and danger to the community.  
Auntie B’s village, Irrua, is near the Ozalla community, where, at least 20 accused persons died after drinking concoctions under a similar circumstance in 2004. 
Those who perpetrated the crime have not been brought to justice because powerful persons including an ex-military officer were said to be behind the accusation and death of the alleged witches.
In Ghana and Burkina Faso, there are makeshift shelters where alleged witches take refuge. Hundred of alleged witches, mainly women, who fled their homes and communities after being accused of perpetrating occult harm, reside in these places. In Ghana, these shelters, popularly known as witch camps, predate colonialism.
In fact, in recent years the government of Ghana has, instead of tackling witchcraft allegations that force people to flee their homes and communities, threatened to close down these witch sanctuaries. Suspected witches are treated as underserving state protection in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Meanwhile, it is not only in Africa that states have failed in their responsibility to protect citizens who are accused of witchcraft. In the Indian subcontinent and Oceania, alleged witches suffer a similar fate. Suspected witches are targets of mob violence and extrajudicial killings.
In India, it has been reported that four persons, who were suspected of practicing witchcraft or black magic, have been murdered in the village of Jharkhand in the district of Gumla. 
Their killers stormed their homes in the early hours of the morning, dragged the alleged witches to the village square and lynched them. Suspected witches are subjected to similar horrific abuses in Nepal and Papua New Guinea.
In many cases, these atrocious crimes happen near police stations or offices of provincial or municipal authorities. In fact suspicions of witchcraft frequently begin among police officers and other state security agents. So, no arrests are made and in situations where some persons are arrested, they are seldom successfully prosecuted.
Witnesses fear to come forward to testify against witch killers. People are usually afraid of witch hunters. This is because witch hunters are often persons in stronger socio-cultural and political positions with the means to victimize persons who testify against them. In many countries, witchcraft allegation trumps the state’s responsibility to protect its citizens.
Witch-hunts may have ‘ended’ in Europe centuries ago, but vicious crimes linked to witchcraft beliefs have continued in many parts of the world. Witchcraft’s allegation presents a global challenge. It constitutes a religious, health care, environmental, human (women, children) rights and development issue. 

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