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British Children Increasingly at Risk of ‘witchcraft’ Abuse, Police Warn

Posted on the 02 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
British children increasingly at risk of ‘witchcraft’ abuse, police warn

Children as young as this boy have been accused of being witches. Photo credit:

Police are warning that British children in African immigrant communities are increasingly at risk of being branded “witches” by so-called “witch-finders” and abused or even killed, according to media reports out Friday.

The claim follows the high profile murder trial of Magalie Bamu, and her partner, Eric Bikubi, who were convicted this week of murdering Magelie’s 15-year-old brother, Kristy, on Christmas Day 2010. Kristy Bamu was tortured for three days in an east London flat, suffering 130 separate injuries inflicted by knives, a hammer, and a chisel, before he was drowned in a bath. The pair, who are facing life sentences, reportedly believed that Kristy Bamu was involved in Kindoki, a kind of witchcraft practiced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had cast a spell on another child; they also believed that was possessed by an evil spirit, which they forcibly tried to exorcise through torture.

The Metropolitan Police said that they have investigated 83 “faith-based” child abuse cases involving accusations of witchcraft in the last 10 years, but added that they believed it was an “under-reported, hidden” crime, The Telegraph reported.

Witchcraft from the Congo. This murder, reported Nick Britten in The Telegraph, had its origins in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where some 20,000 children are homeless on the streets of Kinshasa because they have been accused of being witches. But, Britten warned grimly, children in Britain may be even more at risk than those in the Congo of suffering witchcraft-related abuse: “Adrift from the restraining force of their communities, there is little to stop young migrant Africans living in London letting their beliefs in sorcery and exorcism running out of control – with potentially murderous ends.” The practice of accusing children of witchcraft is a recent phenomenon, though the belief in witchcraft itself is centuries old; it’s also been exacerbated by the teachings of rogue fundamentalist Christian churches on a divine mission to combat Satan.

Government must tackle the problem. “We’re quite happy to talk about what is inappropriate belief when it comes to terrorism or paedophilia,” said African studies expert Dr Richard Hoskins, who gave evidence at the Bamu trial, told the BBC. “But when it comes to fundamentalist religious belief affecting child protection, we don’t seem to want to talk about it.” The government must “take action”, he told the broadcaster.

Witchcraft belief is a curse. The increasingly pervasive witchcraft belief is a curse in Africa, Jean La Fontaine, who has studied the phenomenon extensively, wrote at The Guardian. But African politicians don’t seem to see the issue, even as it affects children, as of “primary importance”. “Most NGOs and charities are struggling fruitlessly to find countermeasures, but short of peace and prosperity – which no one can provide – there seems little effective action that can be taken other than rescue and care for the victims.”

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