NIGERIA ‘CHILD WITCH KILLER’ ARRESTED


Police in south-east Nigeria have arrested a man who claimed to have killed 110 child “witches”. “Bishop” Sunday Ulup-Aya told a documentary film team he “delivered” children from demonic possession.

But after his arrest, he reportedly told the police he had only killed the “witches” inside, not the children. Child rights campaigners say children are frequently abandoned, hideously injured and even murdered because their families believe they are witches.5-12-niger

Self-proclaimed “pastors” extort money from families to exorcise the children, but none has been charged until now. Mr Ulup-Aya was arrested in Akwa Ibom State after a child rights campaigner led police to his church and negotiated a consultation fee for an exorcism.

He has now been charged with murder. “So many people here believe that children can be possessed by demons that there is rarely any action taken against those who claim to deliver the children in violent exorcisms,” says Sam Ikpe-Itauma, of the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN).

He says he has been working for six years to bring the attention of the state government to the children being abandoned, sold to traffickers, or murdered, but it was not until a documentary team from the UK showed the film last month that an arrest was made.

Akwa Ibom State spokesman Aniekan Umanah denied they had been embarrassed into acting. “Nobody knew about him, he lives in a very remote village,” he said. The state has cared for child victims of abuse, but has not been able to track down abusers because of “lack of documentation”, he said.

Mr Ulup-Aya reportedly told police he had not actually killed children. He said there was a misunderstanding – he meant he had killed the witch inside the child, not the child themselves.

When police raided his house they found two children inside, but no evidence that any others had been murdered there. “We have him on tape admitting to killing,” said Mr Umanah.

“It is now up to him to prove otherwise.” In the past other “pastors” who claim to have the power to deliver children from demonic possession in violent exorcisms have been arrested, but then quietly released by the police, according to Mr Ikpe-Itauma. “I fear for my life now,” he says.

SOURCED FROM BBC

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