14 Dec 2010

Extremely abusive exorcisms of children branded as witches on the rise in the U.K.

The Independent - U.K. July 25, 2010

Rogue preachers use 'witch' scares to abuse children

Police say unregulated ministers play on believers' superstitions to beat, starve, even kill youngsters

By Jonathan Owen

Children are being branded as witches in churches in the UK, with many suffering abuse from supposed exorcisms in which they are physically restrained and screamed at. But those are the lucky ones.

The very accusation of being a witch can result in children being starved, tortured, beaten, stabbed or even, as in the case of Victoria Climbié, murdered. It is an increasing problem around the country, campaigners say.

Police admit the cases they deal with are the tip of the iceberg, with people reluctant to speak out for fear of being stigmatised.

"It is a hidden crime that is very difficult to measure," said Jason Morgan, a detective based at the Metropolitan Police's Project Violet – a specialist child protection unit. "There may well be a large number of cases that never come to light ... it is a national problem," he added.

Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite against Child Abuse (Afruca), said: "This is a growing problem and we are seeing more of it. At the very least, we are talking about dozens of cases every year."

Last year her organisation dealt with at least 10 cases of children in Britain accused of being witches or possessed by evil spirits, including two children with "challenging behaviour" who were beaten by parents who believed they were possessed. In another case a disabled child was burnt with an iron in an attempt to get rid of the evil spirit blamed for the condition.

A 10-month undercover investigation into what takes place behind closed doors in some African churches has exposed pastors who exploit the religious beliefs of their congregations and then seek large sums of money in return for "deliverance".

In one case, a church leader used the fear of witches to obtain sexual favours. Kay (not her real name) began worshipping at the Faith and Victory Church in London when she was 13. Her mother had died several years before and her father was being treated for kidney failure. Kay claimed that in 2008, when she had turned 18, her pastor said she would need to sleep with him 21 times to rid her family of the witchcraft that caused their problems. Kay said: "It felt as if I was being raped."

Another woman told how her husband was turned against her by their pastor at a London church. "He told my husband that God showed him that his wife and son were witches." Convinced his pregnant wife and two-year-old son were possessed, her husband attacked them and moved out. Eighteen months later he committed suicide. "These pastors are destroying people's lives. They should be put behind bars," she said.

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.

The investigation into "Britain's witch children" will be broadcast on Channel 4's Dispatches tomorrow.

This article was found at:



Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

Rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in Africa responsible for torture and murder of thousands of kids denounced as witches

Liberty Gospel Church members assault children's rights activists at meeting to end 'child-witch' atrocities

Witch hunt: Africa's hidden war on women

African Children Falsely Accused of Witchcraft

Persecuting the African child

Abuse of child 'witches' on rise, aid group says

Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt

Widespread human rights violations are taking place on a daily basis against Nigeria's so called child "witches"

Protecting the Akwa Ibom Children of Nigeria From Ritual Abuse

Nigerian State Governor warns churches against labeling innocent children witches

'Child-witches' of Nigeria seek refuge

Saving Child Witches: A Nigerian Perspective

Child sacrifice and ritual murders rise in Uganda as famine looms

Uganda’s epidemic of child sacrifice

Uganda: Muslim women ask parliament to convene special session on child sacrifice, ritual murders

Spiralling acts of bloody child sacrifice in Uganda linked to West African prosperity cult

UGANDA: Church leaders want action on ritual killings of children

Angolan police rescue 29 children accused of witchcraft

Tanzania: 13-year-old albino boy killed for body parts sold for use in witchcraft

Pastor held for locking up 'child sorcerers'

Young girl murdered after being accused of witchcraft

Exorcism! Driving Out the Nonsense

Deliver us from evil: Exorcisms in demand

Texas Supreme Court Okays Exorcism


Mentally ill Saudi man chained in basement for 6 years by father who thinks he is possessed by genie


  1. Witchcraft trial: there may be similar unreported cases, say police

    Alexandra Topping, Guardian UK March 1, 2012

    Police and groups representing African communities have warned that ritualised abuse of children branded as witches is an under-reported and hidden crime in the UK, as a man and woman were convicted of murdering a 15-year-old boy because they believed he was a witch.

    Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu, both 28, murdered Magalie's brother Kristy Bamu in their east London flat after violently abusing him for several days because they believed he was possessed by evil spirits.

    Bikubi and Bamu also accused two of the teenager's sisters of witchcraft and were found guilty of causing actual bodily harm after abusing them for several days. The pair will be sentenced on Monday.

    Over four days, Kristy, who was visiting his sister with his siblings from France for Christmas, was tortured with metal bars, a chisel, a hammer and a pair of pliers in a "prolonged attack of unspeakable savagery and brutality", the court heard.

    In a victim impact statement Pierre Bamu, Kristy's father, said: "The fact that Kristy died at the hands of those who were expected to look after him and his siblings makes it all the more difficult for us to come to terms with."

    He said the family had been betrayed over the killing of a "fine young man", adding: "We will never forget, but to put our lives back into sync we must forgive."

    Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe said the Met police had done a great deal of work to understand and deal with belief-based child abuse. "However, this is a hidden and under-reported crime and therefore difficult to deal with in terms of protecting potential victims from harm," he said.

    Kristy's ordeal began soon after he arrived in London on 16 December 2010. Bikubi, a man he thought of as his uncle, accused him of witchcraft after he wet himself. He forced Kristy and two of his sisters who he also believed were witches – Kelly, 20, and their 11-year-old sister, who cannot be named – to pray, denying them food and sleep in an attempt to "remove the kindoki", the Lingala word for witchcraft.

    Bikubi – helped and encouraged by Bamu – then focused on Kristy, using an "armoury of weapons". He beat the child with a metal bar used for weights, shoved a metal bar into the teenager's mouth, forced him to eat a screw and struck him with a hammer in the face, knocking out his teeth. Bamu also beat him, taking a pair of pliers and wrenching his ear.

    On Christmas Day 2010, when Kristy was weakened due to the beatings, Bikubi forced the boy and his siblings into a bath to wash away the evil spirits. He doused them with water and, as the bath filled, Kristy was submerged and drowned.

    When Kristy was found by paramedics in the eighth-floor flat in Forest Gate, his head, face, back and arms were covered in deep cuts and bruises, and several of his teeth were missing. Pathologist reports revealed he suffered 101 injuries and died as a result of drowning and the injuries.

    Giving evidence through a French interpreter, Kelly said the pair were fixated on the idea that the three siblings were practising witchcraft. "It was as if they were obsessed by that and then it became absolutely unbearable," she told the court. "I repeated again and again and again that we were not witches that we had come there to spend Christmas as a family together. But I don't know what was going on in their minds. They decided we were there to kill them."

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    In a "staggering act of depravity and cruelty", the defendants recruited sibling against sibling as "vehicles for their violence", with Kristy's brother forced to stand guard to make sure he did not escape. Just before he died, two of the younger children were made to clean up Kristy's blood, which covered the flat.

    In a joint statement, the NSPCC and World Vision said Kristy's was not an isolated case: "The vast majority of people in the communities where it can take place are horrified by these acts and take no part in this atrocious behaviour, so we must not be afraid to challenge these communities to out the wrong-doers within them.

    In a statement, Congolese Pastorship UK denounced any ritualised child abuse and said it planned to improve its monitoring system and procedures with a refresher child safeguarding programme.

    On Christmas day, the day Kristy died, Bikubi called his father Pierre Bamu and threatened to kill the child, before passing the phone to Kristy who also warned him that Bikubi would kill him.But Pierre dismissed fears about the children because he could not imagine Bikubi doing any harm to them. Kristy's parents then attempted to get a last-minute hire car but failed, and instead decided to arrive as planned two days later. A few hours later, they received a call from Kelly to tell them Kristy was dead.

    Pierre Bamu said in a statement at the Old Bailey that the pain of Kristy's death was "something which cannot be measured or calculated", adding that the family had been betrayed by Bikubi and his daughter. "We were always fond of Eric and regarded him as a son. We were proud that he would call us Mum and Dad. As a family we planned our futures together and Eric and I were to open a restaurant in London together as a legacy for our family," he wrote. "Kristy was a fine young man, kind and considerate, much loved by his family and friends. We saw that he was becoming a man."