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Witches Strike: Village goes on fire over war against withcraft

Posted by By MATTHIAS NWOGU, Aba on 2006/08/23 | Views: 2405 |

Witches Strike: Village goes on fire over war against withcraft


When the leader of the Witches Union in Osisoma Ngwa Local Government Area, Abia State Mr. Uchenna Amanze Orji, repented recently and promised to expose things witches do in secret, he may not have known that he was starting a mission that would lead to some deaths.

When the leader of the Witches Union in Osisoma Ngwa Local Government Area, Abia State Mr. Uchenna Amanze Orji, repented recently and promised to expose things witches do in secret, he may not have known that he was starting a mission that would lead to some deaths.

Orji has become witches nemesis as villages invite him to expose his former cohorts.
Recently, Orji was at Umunchagu /Umuanyahara village in Osokwa Autonomous Community to testify against three men who allegedly engaged in witchcraft. This lead to the ‘trial’ of the suspects.
The trial which was in batches, saw to the banishment of some people.

However, the war against witches turned bloody when on the final day of the trial, the suspects brought in the police. The policemen where said to have gone straight to the residence of the chairman of the committee handling the trial, Mr. Bethel Ihemeje, who was also the chairman of the village youths. A baffled Ihemeje was said to have called in the elders of the village to address the policemen. The police, it was gathered, had accused them of planning to kill the suspects.

Narrating the situation to Daily Sun, the eldest man in the village, Mazi Sampson Onyerionwu, said they took pains to explain to the police that the exercise was purely a peaceful one that would not lead to death of the suspects. He said according to their customs, if convicted, their maternal relations, who would be present during the trial would take the "convicts" home where they would live for a number of years to purge themselves of the witchcraft.

"Though the Bible says, "do not suffer a witch to live, in Ngwa tradition we do not kill witches. We banish them for a number of years to live with their maternal kindred. It is a spiritual matter. We do not fight for the witchcraft spirit (Nmuo Nsi). It fights for itself.

Continuing, Mazi Onyerionwu said: "We did not go out to accuse them. Their names were mentioned in one of the crusades. We only invited them to defend themselves. The allegations against them were grave. One of them was accused of being responsible for the non-marriage of some of our daughters. When he denied, Orji said the evidence was in his house and a subsequent search in his home by the youths revealed eight female pants and seven brassiers that does not belong to his wife. These were believed to have been taken from his victims to block them either from getting married or having children.

"In the house of another suspect, the youths recovered fetish materials used in witchcraft activities, while another suspect was accused of paying the witches to kill his own brother with the venom from python.
"After this level of allegations and collection of evidence, the final day of judgement (Itu Nsi), at the village square was fixed and all concerned, including relations of the suspects, victims, Mazi Orji, the crusader and others had gathered. "It was when one of the suspects requested that the police should escort him to his house to collect some money that we really became suspicious of the motive of the security men.
"We obliged them. The police went with him. We asked them to come back quickly to allow the exercise to go on as planned."

Onyerionwu said that to the surprise of everybody, rather than bring the suspect back to village square, the policemen tried to take him away from the community. According to him, the youths became incensed and went after them. The police, he said, shot into the crowd and killed one of the youths, Mr. Onyedika Adiele.
"At this point, the youths became restive and went round the village and destroyed the houses of the suspects who had seized the opportunity of the chaos to run away.

Elder Onyeronwu, who lamented the insecurity in the village since those suspects ran away, said that 14 days later, on June 10, Mr. Ihemeje, the committee chairman, was murdered in his house about 5.00am.
"As law abiding citizens, we sent some people to report the incident at the Osisioma Police Station, but they were arrested by policemen from Umuahia and tied and were only released by the DPO of Osisioma Ngwa who protested the arrest of the complainants in his division outside his knowledge. Since then, the village has remained deserted out of fear".

Narrating her experience, the widow of late Mr. Ihemeje said that shortly after her husband came back from the night guard organised by the village, some people came and knocked on their door. She said she opened the door but was pushed aside by some men who burst into the room and shot her husband five times and he died.

"I ran out into the bush, and one of those who came with them demanded to know if they had killed him. They did not answer him. They now told one of them, whom I recognised, to send for the vehicle. What worries me is that my husband had no problem with anybody. His crime is that he is heading the committee for the witches’ trial, which he was appointed to do. His corpse was later found at Allied Mortuary Services, where those who killed him deposited him."



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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.