Witchcraft In The UK And African Churches: Children Are Murdered When Exorcism Fails
THE Sun has an interesting story on witchcraft in the UK:
HUNDREDS of British tots are victims of ritual abuse by parents convinced their child is possessed, police said yesterday. The Sun told on Tuesday how people in South London performed a 4am exorcism on a toddler.
In another case outlined at the Met’s Witchcraft and Spirit Possession event, a youngster was starved, beaten and caged as the parents feared evil spirits would jump from the child. One victim told how her aunt force-fed her for being a witch.
And not at all far-fetched.
In 2010, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity James Buturo appealed for help. The report:
He appealed to religious leaders regardless of the difference in faith to spearhead the campaigns to wipeout witchcraft and homosexuality in the country.
In April 2014, Channel 4 News had news of Helen Ukpabio:
A controversial Evangelical Christian and “witch hunter” arrives in the UK in the hope of performing exorcisms on children. But in Nigeria witch scares have resulted in violence, torture and death. The founder of the bizarre Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries has been accused of exploiting superstitious beliefs around demonic possession and endangering children. …She offers “deliverance” sessions, crude exorcisms which have been accused of fuelling witchcraft accusations against children in Nigeria.
That was followed by the BBC Three documentary Branded a Witch, in which we saw a teenage-aged girl who had “eaten her mother”. We heard a pastor say of she and another child:
These two children have bad works inside them. The Holy Spirit has revealed that these kids have been possessed by witchcraft. Others haven’t eaten anyone yet, but this one, she ate her mother. The Spirit is like the wind, it is not something you can see.
One boy at the church explained that deliverance had cured him of bed-wetting.
One boy, a ged 5, was the carrier of a “witchcraft telephone”. To release the phone, the boys was beaten, force-fed hot palm oil, starved for three days, and given a palm-oil enema and not allowed to urinate. The female pastor opined:
“It’s going to be like that because when you are hitting him like this, his going to feel pain because the thing that has been placed in him is being removed and when it’s being removed he has to feel pain, because it’s a foreign object in his body. So of course he will cry. The Holy Spirit will look at him and see he really has witchcraft, that he has already started killing people and he has started drinking people’s blood.”
Another pastor offers:
“I am not afraid of anything. I don’t think God would let someone come and arrest me.”
In Benin, child witches are murdered:
The killing is done by an elder. He takes the child into the bush and he kills it there. It is not done in the village. The practice goes on where the Bariba are. But no one will tell you who is doing the killing. Noone will tell you that such and such a person is the one appointed to kill the child. But there is always someone in the community who is old and spiritually powerful who does the killings.
This combination of tradition and Church is in the UK.
Dispatches goes undercover in some African churches in the UK, where evangelical pastors perpetuate a strong belief in witchcraft. They preach that some people are possessed by evil spirits, and that these spirits bring bad luck into the lives of others. The only way to rid the possessed from the witchcraft spell and lift their curse is to ‘deliver’ them: a kind of exorcism that can be very traumatic. Some pastors charge significant sums of money to perform these deliverances.
Often it is children who are denounced as witches by these pastors, and this labelling can lead to the physical and emotional abuse of those children at the hands of their families. In extreme cases it has led to the deaths of some children. In parts of Africa, branding a child a witch is now outlawed, but in Britain this practise is perfectly legal, despite the fact it can have horrific consequences. Dispatches reveals just what goes on behind closed doors in these African churches, exposing the pastors who exploit the religious beliefs of the most vulnerable.
The Independent quoted Joe Aldred:
There are more than 4,000 African churches in Britain, serving half a million people. “At the moment you can set up a church anywhere, any time … in the same way we wouldn’t tolerate somebody setting themselves up as a lawyer or surgeon without proper training and regulation, we shouldn’t expose the souls of people to anybody who happens to think they can set up a church,” said Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, secretry of minority ethnic Christian affairs at Churches Together in England.
But the chuch is powerful.
In 2009, we read of Edet Nwanakwo, whose father had made him drink acid. (Full report here). Nwanakwo died. Sam Ikpe-Itauma of the Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) in Akwa Ibom State reported:
His sin is the acceptance to an invitation to attend a prayer meeting with a church in Urban [var. spelling “Oban” – RB], near Calabar, Cross River State Nigeria. “When I arrived the church, people were clapping and dancing. I prayed God to bless me and our family including my father; soon the pastor came, turning around, holding my head ‘Do you know that you are a witch?’ he asked me. I told him no, I am not a witch…” ‘He told me that I must confess or he will beat me, even as he slapped me immediately. He handed over a bottle of olive oil to me to be drinking at home. I was annoyed, and went and told my father so that he will arrest the pastor with police.’
To his chagrin, his father merely told him that if he were a witch he would be cast out of the house. That was an understatement. After four days his father told him that they would travel home to see their relatives. The little lad was so elated by this offer. Did Nwanakwo and his father come back truly?
He told CRARN team who visited him at the [University of Uyo Teaching Hospital] in August that his father called a cyclist and whispered to him. They mounted on the bike and moved to a particular road that was bushy up to a distance where there were no houses and stopped there. His father took him inside the bush and pretended that he wanted to ease himself, while the cyclist waited. “He brought out a gallon from a sack bag and forced me on the ground, pressing my legs with his knees, he forced my mouth opened and poured acid into it. I cried and pleaded with him that I am his son; he shouted and called me a wizard and devil. He poured the acid on my face, head and body and ran away. Somebody came and took me to the police.” He said with a clear as is using a wireless microphone
Looking at Nwanakwo’s photograph, the acid burns are very glaring. The boy, who lost his mother four years ago, said he wants justice to prevail. “Even in my grave I want my father and Pastor King of Mount Zion Light House, Urban to be arrested and brought to book.” The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UUTH, Prof. Emmanuel Ekanem was contacted to know what measure has been taken to ensure that justice is done. “The Head of the Corporate Affairs Unit (UUTH) has contacted the Divisional Police Officer of Ikono LGA who said that his men have been drafted to investigate the matter …” the CMD had responded briefly.
In 2009, we heard of Cameroon’s Rev Emmanuel Massock via PostNewsOnline:
Rev Emmanuel Massock, erstwhile pastor of Presbyterian Church Kumba Mbeng, has predicted a massive occult initiation of students during the Youth Day celebration on February 11… He said God revealed to him recently that during the 2009 Youth Day celebration in Kumba, youths would be initiated into the marine and occult kingdoms. This, he said, would be done through the sharing of sweets, biscuits and other chewable by students to their mates, thereby provoking massive initiation in the form of trance… According to him, from membership, the child grows to an agent and is commissioned to initiate others. He said the agents cause accidents, illnesses, pull wealth from the earth’s surface and multiply their membership through initiation…He recalled that, recently, in a primary school in Douala, a child confessed how he was sent to cause destruction in the school but prayers couldn’t allow him to operate.
We read in Leadership Nigeria:
Residents of Masaka in Nasarawa State heaved a sigh of relief recently as they were delivered from the activities of demon-possessed children by pastor Bawa J Madaki of Eternity Church Masaka.
In recent times, Masaka and Nyanya-Gwandara both in Karu local government area of Nasarawa State, have allegedly been invaded by demon-possessed children who are said to have been tormenting the residents…
Margaret was said to have confessed that she was a great person in the spirit realm. Her name was “Queen Shiayet” given to her by the master of the cult. She said she had killed so many people by causing accidents on the road.
“A combination of the Kingdom of Destruction in Limbe, the Kingdom of Peace in Lake Barombi, Kumba, the Kingdom of Beauty and the Kingdom of Milk and Honey in Douala caused 114 people to die in the Mbanga Pongo plane crash on May 4, 2007.”
This was the testimony of a 17-year-old girl whom we call Marceline (not real name) at the Presbyterian Church, Kumba Mbeng, on January 31…She said several mermaid spirits live around the Douala International Airport and the Mbanga Pongo area…
..She said the queen caused her to continuously vomit rings on particular spots in Kumba. According to her, they would manipulate pregnant women to urinate on those spots and thereafter conceive and bear initiated children from the marine world.
It’s in the West. In 1999, the Detroit Free Press reported:
…the black-market demand for human body parts, which are used in making evil potions, has been soaring since the country’s economic decline started in 1997… “Witchcraft and tokoloshis [a kind of goblin] are making a comeback,” said Gordon Chavanduka, chairman of the 50,000-member Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association. “It’s obvious the cause is economic. The worse the economy gets, the more political tension there is in society, the more frustrated and frightened people get. They turn to witchcraft to gain riches or to hurt their enemies.”
Children are not all killed:
Individuals who work with children in Kinshasa estimate that as many as 70 percent of street children had been accused of sorcery in their homes before coming to live on the streets. One activist who advocates for assistance and protection of street children told us that there is no bigger factor in pushing children on to the streets today than accusations of sorcery. …In tandem with the increasing number of children accused of sorcery has been the creation of churches that specialize in the exorcism of evil spirits from the “possessed.” These églises de réveil or churches of revival combine prayers, fasting and abuse in “deliverance” ceremonies to rid children of “possession.” Approximately 2,000 churches perform “deliverance” ceremonies in Mbuji-Mayi and an even larger number operate in Kinshasa Some of these churches and their leaders have attracted large followings and have become lucrative businesses. Although the deliverance ceremonies are reportedly performed for free, in reality, parents or guardians are strongly “encouraged” to make a financial donation or give a gift to the church in exchange for deliverance of a child. In addition, deliverance ceremonies are a way to attract new church members who may become regular contributors at Sunday services.
…The ceremonies that pastors perform range from simple prayers and singing to holding the children for several days at the churches, denying them food and water, and whipping or beating confessions out of them. Save the Children/UK has been active in attempting to change the behavior of the worst of these pastors. According to a Save the Children/UK project manager in Mbuji-Mayi, the most abusive pastors withhold food and water from children, whip or burn them to coerce their confessions, or pour salt water in their anuses or down their throats to purge the “evil” from their bodies. An organized group of pastors in Kinshasa which, through peer outreach, tries to change the behavior of abusive pastors confirmed these accusations. They additionally reported that sometimes children are tied up during their confinement at the churches and that in a few cases boys and girls have been sexually assaulted by members affiliated with the churches while in confinement.
…When questioned about HIV/AIDS, a prophet in Mbuji-Mayi told us, “Child sorcerers have the power to transmit any disease, including AIDS, to their family members. AIDS is a mysterious disease that is used as a weapon by those who practice witchcraft.”
But it’s not only Africans who seek out witches:
Independent reported in 2001:
Just over a year ago, Brandiwas summarily suspended from Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and told to stay at home for two weeks. The reason had to do with her ceramics teacher, a certain Mr Kemp, who had fallen suddenly ill and had been rushed in to hospital. According to the assistant principal of the school, Brandi had caused this sudden illness by casting a spell on Mr Kemp. No proof was offered for this startling assertion other than the evidence of Brandi’s right hand, which was scrawled with a five-pointed star in a circle. Charlie Bushyhead, the assistant principal, insisted it was a witch’s pentagram and badgered her into admitting that she was an adherent of the Wicca, the popular New Age religion that harks back to pagan models of spirituality. … Mr Kemp was not stricken by some mystery ailment but, rather, underwent a routine emergency operation for appendicitis and has since fully recovered. The ceramics teacher was not himself a party to the accusations against Brandi and appears to have been one of her favourite instructors at the school.
That story was eventually made into a movie.