Canada DRC: the murders of women accused of witchcraft are multiplying south-kivu

12:35  28 september  2021
12:35  28 september  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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This is a list of people executed for witchcraft , many of whom were executed during organized witch -hunts, particularly during the 15th–18th centuries.

Children have been accused of witchcraft , both historically and in contemporary times, in societies that harbour beliefs about the existence of witches and black magic. These accusations have led to punishment, imprisonment, torture, and execution of children.

Vue sur le lac Kivu face à la ville de Bukavu, en RDC le 11 janvier 2004 © Desirey Minkoh View of Lake Kivu against the city of Bukavu, in the DRC on January 11, 2004

Aspergy with gasoline then burned live, the Old Nyabadeux has had an atrocious end after being charged with witchcraft, like dozens of women in recent months in villages of South Kivu, Eastern Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Now since the beginning of September, the local authorities have counted eight dead people burned or lynched in three territories (Kalehe, Walungu and Fizi) by popular justice as horrible and expeditious, often triggered on the obscurant injunction of showy and other preachers in bad of faithful.

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The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. From medieval witch hunts in Europe to contemporary “ witch doctors” in Tanzania, belief in witchcraft has existed across human societies throughout history. Anthropologists have long been fascinated by the phenomenon, but have struggled to study it with quantitative methods—our understanding of how and why it arises is therefore poor.

"We recorded 324 exhibits of witchcraft over the period from June to September," said Nelly Adidja, from the Media Women's Association (AFEM) of South Kivu. The territory of Kalehe alone has 114 cases, including five lively burned women and four others taken or do not know by self-defense militias.

"There is a resurgence of the phenomenon because the state failed to its regional missions, police and justice do not do their job," says Pr Bosco Muchukiwa, sociologist and general manager of the Higher Institute of Development Rural (ISDR) of Bukavu.

The problem, according to him, is accentuated by the "bajakazi", of the seers and pseudo-preachers present in almost all the villages. There are also some men, but mostly women. They claim to detect wizards and witches. "It's wrong, they have no power, but they play on the naivety of the people they manipulate, to have more followers, give a certain value, more weight in the village".

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The witch hunts were a holocaust of women ; a political move by the church, during the rise of Christianity and the fall of Rome, to discredit female healers and midwives who, up until then, had been respected, equal, and admired members of their community. The Church was not targeting these women for being healers and being afraid of them. People, primarily women , but also men and even animals, could be accused of witchcraft at many different times in European and colonial histories, often they were marginalized people in their communities such as widows and poor people, who may

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- "Charlatans" -

"We must prohibit the prayer chambers of these charlatans!", Pleads on its side Muhindo Cikwanine, a lawyer and expert in parliamentary law. "In 2014, the provincial deputies voted an edict (law) prohibiting the use of popular justice in South Kivu", but the text is not applied, "this law has not been followed by sufficient awareness. of the population ", he considers.

Thadée Miderho, director of the territory of Kabare, says he had recorded since the beginning of the year six people killed, "essentially women over 60", on the grounds that they were witches, designated as such by " Bajakazi ".

Two years ago, on the basis of a complaint addressed to the Kavumu Prosecutor (North of Bukavu), 11 of these priestesses were arrested and spent six months in prison. "They were released after promising to change jobs, but some continue their activities in a stash", deplores the administrator.

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A man has been released after being arrested over the attempted murder of an off-duty police officer. An explosive device was found close to the officer's car outside her home near Dungiven on 20 April. The 21-year-old was arrested in Londonderry on Sunday. After his release he was arrested as part of an investigation into disorder outside Maghaberry prison in 2020 and on suspicion of breaching bail conditions. He is due to appear at Armagh Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

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as to bring villagers who kill the supposed witches, it is almost impossible, according to Thadée Miderho. "In case of popular justice, village chiefs say it's + the + population who is the author, they do not cite names."

Shasha Rubenga, he again shuddered to the evocation of scenes of which he witnessed on August 16 in Cifunzi, a village of about 2,000 inhabitants at the edge of Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

"It was around 05:00 in the morning, it was a Monday. Young people circulated in the village in possession of a list on which the names of 19 women over 65, designated as witches by a prophetess", tells himself. The young teacher and human rights activist.

They were looking for these women. Most of them, whose houses were destroyed, had time to run away. Some others were saved by the soldiers who pulled in the air to disperse the crowd.

"But I saw these young people getting their hands on a neighbor called Nyabadeux", an old woman who had seven children. "She has been brutalized, pulled with gasoline and inflamed with a match". This woman was burned long in the middle of the village.

"It hurts, even young people under 10 participate in these macabre scenes," says Shasha. "I saw a five-year-old child with a big stick, returning the carbonized body of Nyabadeux".


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