Zarantinga Residents Warn Police For Bringing Back Alleged Witches
Angry residents of Zarantinga, a community near Nalerigu, in the North East Region have rejected the reintegration of two alleged witches back into the community.
Madugu and Fulena in their seventies have been accused by the old women of being behind several misfortunes in the community including the paralysis of a young man.
Joy News’ North East Regional correspondent, Illiasu Tanko, reported the two were tortured by the residents and sent to the Gambaga chief’s palace where witchcraft suspects are tried.
He stated, the Raa Na and his council of witch doctors declared Madugu and Fulena innocent. They asked the women be sent back to the community but the residents are not having any of it.
Angry youth and elders chased out the police who were trying to enforce the judgement of the Gambaga chief and his council, out of the community.
Residents threatened to harm the Madugu and Fulena if they are returned to the community.
Efforts by the Regional Reintegration Committee on the Disbandment of Alleged Witches to convince the community members to allow the women in their homes has yielded no results.
Illiasu Tanku confirmed the two women have been moved to an undisclosed location for their safety.
Sending alleged witches to the Gambaga witch camp has been going on since the 18th century, a practice which has been condemned as an abuse of human rights.
But attitudes towards accused persons usually elderly women still persists. They suffer stigma and ostracisation even after they have been found innocent by chiefs.
Read more: The town where chickens determine if a woman is a witch
The Ministry of Gender and Social Protection has said it remains committed to closing down witches camps but said its efforts are hampered by the unwillingness of several suspected witches to return home.
Some of the women are on the government’s social intervention programme, Livelihood Empowerment Alleviation programme (LEAP).