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Not only in Liberia
Ritual Killing Ghana (over 30 cases reported here)

Freedom of fear is a human right
Rule of law an obligation of the state


  1. Ritual murder hits Kumasi new

    The article and link below lead to a graphic picture!

    Personnel of the Asokwa Police Station in the Ashanti Region are searching for clues to help them track down the killers of a young woman believed to be in her early 30s. 
    Aniwaa, said to be a native of Kwaso-Deduako, was found dead with her breasts, genitals and other body parts removed in the latest killing linked to ritual murder. She was allegedly killed in the night of Wednesday, January 11, 2012 (....)

    The incident, (....) is the second of its kind in two months in the area (....) residents said the young woman might have been killed for ritual purposes. (...) making people fear for the safety of adult female members of the family (...).

    January 13, 2012

    Woman murdered for suspected spiritual purposes new

    Residents of Adum-Kwanwoma in the Atwima-Kwanwoma District, woke up on Thursday morning only to be greeted with a horrible spectacle of the gruesome murder of a young lady.(...) her breasts, navel and vagina removed, fueling suspicion that she might have been killed for ritual purposes.
    This is the second time in about three months that there had been such brutal murder in the town. The first, involved the killing and removal of the vagina of a pregnant woman. The police are holding some suspects for thet murder.

    January 13, 2012

  2. Ritual baby killing in Northern Ghana new
    Joy FM reporter Seth Kwame Boateng recently visited an orphanage in the Upper East Region of the country called 'Sirigu' to uncover the chilling practice of cultural murder: the killing of babies who are born with deformities, or whose birth coincide with a tragic event in the familily, such as the loss of the birthgiving mother.
    Such children are called spirit children or siri sirigu, and are thought to be bad omen for the community - therefore they are killed.

    Follow the link below for a transcrption of his breath-taking documentary from Bolgatenga and Sirigu:
    April 1, 2011

  3. Hawker Murdered
    A 28-Year-old hawker was on Monday night murdered at Abossey Okai in Accra in the most gruesome way by unknown assailants in what is believed to be a ritual killing. The body of the man lying at the scene of the murder, with his tongue and genitals removed, attracted a large crowd yesterday.

    Superintendent I. A. Yakubu, who is in charge of the Kaneshie District Headquarters, confirmed the incident to the Daily Graphic and said the police had commenced investigations to establish the cause of death.

    The killing of the cocoa drink seller has created panic at Abossey Okai, with some residents accusing 'Sakawa' boys (cyber fraudsters) of orchestrating the killing for ritual purposes to increase their fortunes.
    December 2, 2009

  4. Man kills brother, butchers daughter
    The Techiman Police are holding a 40-year-old farmer for allegedly murdering his 25-year-old brother for ritual purposes. Weah Kontomah Seidu, the suspect, butchered his victim, Tang Dery, decapitated him and kept parts of the body on a farm for rituals.

    The arrest of Seidu, who has been remanded into police custody, was triggered by the discovery of his 15-year-old daughter, Doris Zumori, in one of the waste bins placed by Zoomlion Ghana Ltd at Deasempa, a suburb of Techiman with several machete wounds inflicted on her.
    (...) the deceased's two brothers reported to the police that Dery had not returned from the farm at Aworopata, near Techiman, with his elder brother Seidu the previous day, July 24, 2009.
    (...) Seidu was arrested and, upon interrogation, he allegedly admitted killing Dery.
    Supt Ntim said Seidu then took the police to the farm where (...) the suspect then took the police to a palm tree where he had placed Dery's head on the palm frond, while the decapitated body was lying close by. Seidu claimed he was preserving the head to take to Lawra in the Upper West Region for ritual purposes to seek protection.
    August 1, 2009

  5. Man Beheads Son For Juju
    Residents of Ankaase, a farming community near Derma in the Brong Ahafo Region, were shocked to the marrow last Tuesday July 28, 2009, following the gruesome murder of a 14-year-old boy by his father for money ritual.

    The boy, Paul, was allegedly beheaded by his father, a farmer who was known in the community only as Naa. The suspect, prior to the cold-blooded murder, had boasted that he was going to be rich very soon.
    (...) who asked Naa where his son was. When Naa could not offer any tangible explanation, he was beaten up until he confessed to killing the boy.
    When the body was exhumed, the head was nowhere to be found. The suspect told the police he had hidden the head in his house and that the businessman whose name he could not mention was to take the head to Accra to perform some rituals for him.
    July 30, 2009

  6. Politicians Should Stop Bringing Curses...
    The Accra Daily News article dated May 20 2009, by Sheikh Salawati Imam Rashid Outubu Zaanam, a one time Imam in the Ghana Armed Forces and the spiritual leader of the Salawati Mission of Ghana. Has defiantly stated “during the 2008 elections in Ghana some politicians not only were able to use animals to be slaughtered and sacrificed, but some human beings were buried alive including Albinos, deep in the forests” This statement from these spiritual leaders including some pastors who had previously predicted the same issues should not be treated just as an ordinary story.

    History justified the actions during the 1960s when Kwame Nkrumah of (CPP) fame went on to seek voodoo intervention instead of God’s intervention to rule the country by bringing (Kan Kan Nyame gods) to Osu Castle. Kwame Nkrumah thought these evil gods (Kan Kan Nyame) would give him the hegemonic power he needs to rule the Christian’s country forever. Kwame Nkrumah was able to bury a pregnant woman alive, the same as some of the current politicians are doing. (...) The aforementioned incident has haunted our dear nation for more than thirty years because of Kwame Nkrumah killing innocent souls for his ritual purpose.
    June 1, 2009

    Omanhene calls for more information on albino killings

    Apam (Central Region) - The Omanhene of the Gomoa Akyempim Traditional Area, Obrifo Ahunaku Ahor Ankobea II has called for more information on reported albino killings allegedly by some politicians during the 2008 elections (see below).

    In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Obrifo Ankobeah requested that the office of national security should invite Sheikh Salawati Imam Rashid Qutubu Zaanam, the Spiritual Leader of the Salawati Mission of Ghana who was reported to have made the allegation.

    An Accra Daily on May 20, 2009 quoted Sheikh Zaanam, a one-time Imam in the Ghana Armed Forces as saying "during the elections, not only were animals slaughtered and sacrificed, but some human beings were buried alive, including albinos, deep in the forests."
    "As a spiritual leader of a religion, he knows what he was saying," the Omanhene stated and added that the allegation must be cleared to forestall albinos from living in fears in their own motherland.

    Albinos killed for 2008 elections
    A one-time Imam in the Ghana Armed Forces, Sheikh Salawati Imam Rashid, has made a scary disclosure about how some politicians in the country buried a number of albinos and children alive, in their quest for political power.
    Sheikh Salawati Imam Rashid Qutubu Zamaan is the Spiritual Leader and Head of the Salawati Mission of Ghana, based in Tamale. He was the first trained and commissioned Imam/Officer in the Ghana Armed Forces, which he left as a Captain after about a decade’s service.
    “During the elections, not only were animals slaughtered and sacrificed; but some human beings were buried alive, including albinos, deep in the forests,” Sheikh Rashid said.
    That Imam Rashid has made such a revelation about the extent to which politicians can go, adds credence to the apprehension of the pigment-deficient humans, otherwise called ‘ofli gyato’.
    Ghanaian politicians who sought the spiritual interventions, he said, consulted voodoos, mountain and river gods, as well as marine spirits, both in Ghana and outside it, during which they made pledges to the shrines and deities.
    His revelations appear to tie in with what a number of Christian clergies have already made about the bloody esoteric engagements by politicians before the last elections.
    He expressed surprise that Ghanaian politicians went to the extent of going beyond the extraordinary and making human sacrifices (...).
    May 21, 2009

  7. Albino Killing Craze Stares At Ghana
    Albinos destined for Bukruwa in the Eastern Region risk being killed for ritual purposes, warns Nana Agyare Osei Tutu III, Chief of the town. This is because centuries-old tradition of the small town suggests sacrificing albinos to the gods of the town brings good omen to its indigens.
     “We came to meet it, so we don’t have anything to do about it,” Nana Agyare said. There has not been any recent killing of albinos in the town.

    In a reaction to the chief’s comments however, Mr John Davies, president of the Albino Society of Ghana said the development is rather irrelevant. He said the practise constitutes an infringement on the fundamental human rights of persons living with albinism.
    March 19, 2009
  8. Ritual murder hits Ayamfuri-Besease
    A 45-YEAR old cocoa farmer has been found dead on his farm at Ayamfuri-Besease, near Dunkwa-On-Offin in the Central Region.

    In a typical ritual murder fashion, the body of Kwaku Adu was found with the vital organs removed. Reports indicate that his eyes, tongue, testicles and intestines were missing when he was recovered by a search team three days after he was declared missing.
    Meanwhile, residents who spoke to DAILY GUIDE pointed out that for the past three weeks seven people have been killed in similar fashion but the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.

    The residents, who say fear has gripped them, indicated that they believe human parts buying cartels have pitched camp in the town, hence the mysterious deaths.
    February 23, 2009

    Hunter's dog uncovers ritual murder

    But for the incessant barking of a hunter's dog, the body of a 45-year-old farmer who was allegedly murdered in cold blood for ritual purposes would never have been found.
    According to the police in Dunkwa-On-Offin, they have begun investigations into the circumstances that led to the killing of the farmer, Kwaku Adu, last Thursday.

    Adu's body was found without his left eye and ear; he had a deep cut on the abdomen.
    Some family members who pleaded anonymity told the Spectator that about four people had mysteriously been murdered in the area. They believed that they were killed for rituals.
    February 21, 2009
  9. Bibiani ritual murders: 4 suspects arrested
    The arrest of four persons suspected to be the masterminds behind the recent ritual murders in Bibiani in the Western Region has unleashed a feeling of relief in the town as most residents claim they can now go about their duties without fear.
    A few months ago, fear and insecurity gripped the town.
    The four suspects who are currently standing trial at a Sekondi High Court have pleaded innocent to the charge (...). According to the District Police Commander for Bibiani, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Anane Appiah, the arrest of the four suspects had brought joy to the residents, some of whom had been afraid to expose the suspects, although they knew them.
    The Chief of Bibiani and Krontihene of the Sefwi Anwhiaso Traditional Area, Nana Ngoa Kodom, who corroborated that development, said, “We are not happy about the situation.” For a long time the Sefwi area has earned a rather bad name as a haven for ritual murderers and a ‘market centre’ for the sale of human parts.
    The infamous case in the mid-1980s of a nine-year-old boy, Kofi Kyintoh, who was beheaded by his uncle for ritual purposes, as well as many other ritual murder cases and instances of persons caught in possession of human parts in the area, inundated the media in the past.
    Recently, Bibiani has come under the media spotlight in view of the horrific cases of suspected ritual murders in the town which targeted girls and hunchbacks.
    January 15, 2009
  10. UNHCR 2008 Country Report on Human Rights Practices - Ghana
    According to the Ghanaian Times of July 28, Yakubu Busanga, a hunchback, was killed and his hump removed. The attack may have been motivated by an effort to obtain body parts for use in ritual practices. In September there were reports from Bibiani District of three hunchbacks being murdered for body parts which apparently were to be used in rituals.
    February 25, 2009
  11. GHANA: Police working on a hunch....!
    Police are investigating the cases of five people charged with killing hunchbacks in western region, Bibiani, for their body parts.
    The Ghanian Time and website, Joyonline reported that local police are seeking the Attorney General, Joe Ghartey’s advice in the case.
    The five people in custody have been linked to the July murder of a 65-year-old Yakubu Busanga, whose body was found with its hump cut off, three days after she was kidnapped.
    The police were investigating three more cases, The Time said. Officials have said these are only three of a set of murders where people were killed and their humps, hearts and other body parts were removed for ‘ritual purposes.’
    Bibiani District Police Commander Sampson Anane-Appiah told the Times that from January to July, the police recorded nine such murders within Bibiani and nearby areas, reportedly for this purpose.
    December 1, 2008
  12. Three arrested in connection with murder of hunchback
    The Bibiani Police on Thursday arrested three people in connection with the murder of Musa Iddi, one of the hunchbacks found dead with the hump removed.

    The three are Nuhu Billa, alias Apana, Alidu Musah, Alias Ton and Abudu Rahman, alias Taller who is a butcher, while the fourth person is at large.
    Meanwhile, the Bibiani Police is hunting for the fourth culprit and has appealed to the public to assist with any information to facilitate his arrest while they continue with their investigations.
    August 17, 2008

    Vestiges of Barbaric Animalistic Ritual Murders in Ghana
    August 19, 2008
  13. Woman murdered for ritual purposes
    The police at Tepa in the Ashanti Region have arrested three people, including a 17-year-old boy, for the murder of a 56-year-old woman, Afia Yinka, alias No Lie, for ritual purposes.
    The woman was butchered in her farm at Tepa, where her assailants were said to have used a calabash to collect blood from the body.
    The 17 -year-old boy, Stephen Ofori, was arrested alongside Isaac Apraku and Justice Adusei Baffour, all natives of Tepa.
    They would re-appear before the Tepa Circuit Court on August 15, 2008.
    Ofori, who was arrested on July 23, 2008, was first remanded by the Tepa Circuit Court when he appeared before it.
    While in custody, he was said to have told the police that Adusei Baffour and another man (now at large) butchered the deceased and bribed him ( Ofori) with GH¢40 to keep his mouth shut.
    August 7, 2008
  14. Hunchbacks under threat.
    The Bibiani police are appealing to the public to assist them to unravel an emerging gruesome phenomenon there of hunchbacks being allegedly killed and their humps removed for suspected ritual purposes.
    "Within a spate of seven months (January to July) nine alleged murders have been recorded within Bibiani and its environs," Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Anane-Appiah stated.
    The mysterious murders, he said, involved missing people who were later found with parts of their body organs, such as the heart, missing.
    Obervers note that the horrible killings of people with natural offlictions have recently also been reported from Tanzania. At least 25 people with albinism have been killed this year, mostly in the Lake Victoria zone, in Tanzania, a BBC report stated. See under Tanzania.
    July 29, 2008
  15. 'Ritual killing' rescue.
    Police in Ghana are trying to reunite a teenage boy, Akwesi Buabeng, with his family after rescuing him from what they suspect was a ritual killing. (...) Akwesi is lucky to be alive after two men took him from the Volta region to Sefwi-Asawinso in the west of Ghana and tried to sell him. (...)
    The police confirm that in the last two months there have been two other cases in the same area (...).
    July 9, 2008
  16. A priest in Ghana's Central Region has confessed to killing eight people including his ex-wife since the beginning of the year, saying they were slain for ritual purposes.
    December 12, 2006

  17. (It happened in 1944...)
    (....) According to a Colonial Office report on the disturbances in the Gold Coast, “[t]he Kibi affair changed the pattern of Gold Coast politics. A number of Kibi people were tried for the ritual murder at the time of the funeral, in 1944, of Nana Sir Ofori Atta, Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa. They were defended in a notoriously long trial by many lawyers led by Dr. J.B. Danquah and employed by their relatives. The bitterness of this family over the trial and the conviction of some among their relatives as murderers resulted in their instituting an uncompromising political campaign against the Governor and the Government. This group subsequently formed the hard core of the extreme nationalists who in August 1947 founded the United Gold Coast Convention”.

    In: Why dilute Mills'Founder's Day with Founders'Day?
    March 9, 2009
Historical overview and background

The following excerpts are from the report of the National Reconciliation Commission, created in 2002, to investigate human rights violations in the 1959 - 1993 period - a must read for anyone interested in human rights and Ghana.
Italics and underligning added by Fred Van Der Kraaij.

Chapter 9: The Role of Religious Bodies - Complicity or Resistance to Human Rights Abuses

9.1.1 History (...) (...) The role that traditional religion played in human rights abuse was an indirect one. Rumours of rituals for protection have become part of our socio-political culture. The phenomenon of ritual murder has been part of the Ghanaian system of cultural beliefs, and has, in fact, gained prominence in legends and folktales. This phenomenon has also served as explanation for strange or extraordinary homicide cases in the country. There was also an Akan belief that a messenger must accompany a dead chief on his last journey to the land of his ancestors. Someone therefore had to be killed to serve that purpose. The murder of Akyea Mensa (Apedwahene), a case popularly referred to as “Kyebi Murder Trial” was purported to have served as a ritual sacrifice, to accompany a dead paramount chief of Kyebi. The deceased was killed and buried on a riverbed, after the murderers had diverted the course of the brook and redirected the same brook to conceal the grave . Another belief system relates to the acquisition of power through the use of juju. This involves rituals performed with human blood or body parts.

On 23th February, 1988, Nana Twene, Krontihene of Abesim, and his wife, Susana Ameyaa, together with four others at Abesim near Sunyani, in the Brong Ahafo Region , kidnapped and murdered a 38-year old housewife, Madam Lamley Sampah. During the trial by the tribunal sitting in Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana, it was revealed, inter alia that, the Krontihene wanted the blood and some body parts of the named victim to enable him secure power, so that, no one could challenge him when he spoke.

9.1.2 Traditional Religion In Relation To Ritual Killing For Political Power In the 1960s, rumour was rife, that office holders carried out ritual killings to consolidate their political power. In 1967, for example, during the abortive coup in which Lt-Gen Emmanuel K Kotoka lost his life, it was widely rumoured that the fetish priests who made juju for his successful coup the previous year, were the same ones whom the coup makers from Ho Mortar Regiment approached. This therefore accounted for the ability of the coup makers to overcome Lt-Gen Kotoka. Whether these rumours were true or not (...). (...)

9.1.3 Traditional Religion In Relation To Killing For Ritual Purposes Traditional religion has also been linked to human rights abuse on account of the widely-held belief that through the use of human parts, rituals could be performed to affect the material circumstances of the individual making the request. Consequently, some individuals were killed for purposes that must have been related to the performance of rituals. The circumstances surrounding certain killings that occurred, and the way the dead bodies were found, lent credence to the suspicion that they were not ordinary murders. Very often the bodies were found mutilated with some vital parts missing.

A number of murder cases reported in some parts of Ghana in the 1980s fall into this category. For instance, in January, 1981, the body of Kingsley Ackaah, alias Kwame Kaya, a fifteen-year-old schoolboy and native of Baakrom near Sefwi Bekwai, was found without his head . Again, in November, 1981, the body of nine-year old Kwasi Gyimah was found at the outskirts of Sefwi Bekwai without his head . Similarly, in November, 1984, Kwaku Nkrumah, a sixty five-year old palm wine tapper of Sefwi Bekwai, was found dead in the bush without his head. Also, in May, 1986, thirteen-year old Akwasi Ampomaning, a schoolboy from Sukusuku near Sefwi Bekwai was found dead with his arms missing . Again, Kumade Mensah Zormelo was killed for a sacrifice that is required annually, in accordance with traditional practices, to enable the fishermen of Kedzi, to have bumper fishing season. All these killings are believed to have been committed to serve ritual purposes. There is also the quest for wealth. For this reason, there are some people who believe that through the use of juju, their state of poverty can change for the better. Thus, with the hope of becoming rich overnight, the drive to commit ritual murder has been noted among certain categories of persons. In one murder case, which took place in Sefwi Bekwai in the Western Region of Ghana, the killers were the victim’s uncle and three other men, who were promised a reward of an amount of c3 million as “contract fee”. Similarly, the Chief, Nana Agyei who was charged together with the killers, was said to have been the one who requested a human head, to send to a shrine located along the Ghana - Côte d’Ivoire border in the Western Region for it to be changed into cash .

9.1.4 The Perpetrators Of Ritual Murder There are two main categories of perpetrators – namely, those who hire the services of others to do the killing on their behalf, and those who do the killing themselves.

Many a time, the people who are arrested or charged on murder cases appear to be poor people, struggling to make ends meet. They are hired by the well-to- do in society to do the killing on their behalf, such as the case of the Sefwi Bekwai murder case. Nana Agyei, one of the culprits, was said to have engaged the services of the four others charged, in return for a certain amount of money, if the plan was well executed. In other instances, the well-to-do actually took part in the ritual killing. Some fetish priests and herbalists are also believed to be involved in ritual murder. Some fetish priests have been accused of using human body parts and blood to prepare juju for their clients. Where these body parts and blood were secured from, is yet to be ascertained. However, one of the rumoured charges against some traditional priests tortured and killed in the Volta Region, was the allegation of murder against them. In April, 1982, for instance, soldiers arrested Avorga Ahiagba of Wlite near Akatsi, for possessing human skulls. He was alleged to have pleaded that the skulls were ancestral property. Possessing no other evidence to the contrary, the court fined him ¢700.00. Subsequently, Ahiagba mysteriously disappeared, after his release from prison-custody, but was later found dead with his body partially burnt, near the Ho stadium. In all the known ritual murders tried in the courts, women have been conspicuously missing in the list of alleged perpetrators. There was, however, one instance in which a woman was involved, and in which the victim was a woman. One other fact that also needs to be mentioned is that some of the perpetrators either know their victims or have close blood relations with them. In the case of Kofi Kyinto in the Sefwi Bekwai murder case, it was his uncle, Benjamin Affi, a 28-year old farmer, who lured him to be killed. Benjamin Affi witnessed the actual execution of his nephew.

This extraordinary overview of human rights abuses in the 1959 - 1993 periode contains one chapter that focuses the role of religious bodies and treats ritual killings (chapter 9).
Source:The report of the National Reconciliation Commission.





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