HOME National News Witchcraft Stories Abused, burned and buried alive: The horrific suffering of Nigeria’s child ‘witches’

Abused, burned and buried alive: The horrific suffering of Nigeria’s child ‘witches’

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Children protest in the southern Nigerian city of Eket. A number of youngsters have been abused in the country over allegations of witchcraft
  • 11-year-old boy had acid poured over him
  • Young girl had a nail driven into her skull

Children as young as two are being burned, poisoned and buried alive in Nigeria for being witches, it has been claimed.

Hundreds of youngsters are being subjected to horrific violence or chained up for weeks after being accused of withcraft, according to a report by a children’s rights charity.

In one case, an 11-year-old boy was killed after acid was poured over him; in another, a girl who had a nail driven into her head was left permanently disabled.

Children protest in the southern Nigerian city of Eket. A number of youngsters have been abused in the country over allegations of witchcraft

Last September a man tried to bury six-year-old twin boys he held responsible for the death of his wife.

Lancaster-based charity Stepping Stones Nigeria has compiled reports of more than 250 cases of violence against children accused of witchcraft in Akwa Ibom state.

Although belief in witchcraft is well established in Nigeria and other African countries, until the late Nineties it was largely women and the elderly who were accused.

Now some families blame their children for every misfortune that hits them – from death to sickness and drunkenness.

Campaigner: Gary Foxcroft of Stepping Stones Nigeria says accused children are often simply different from othersCampaigner: Gary Foxcroft of Stepping Stones Nigeria says accused children are often simply different from others

Many accusations are made by pastors who then charge the accused child’s family a fee for ‘exorcisms’.

After the child has been accused the pastor carries out long-winded exorcism rituals. Sometimes children are chained up in churches and forced to fast for weeks, or are beaten and tortured until they confess.

More then four out of five children accused of being witches are abandoned by their families and forced to sleep rough.

In one disturbing case, police discovered an eight-year-old boy locked in a room beside the corpse of his mother.

The boy’s uncle had accused him of using witchcraft to kill her and tried to force his head into her body before abandoning him.

Gary Foxcroft, founder of Stepping Stones Nigeria, told the Times that the children were often from broken homes, or were different in ways that set them apart.

‘They might be very intelligent or suffer from learning difficulties. Some of them will have physical complaints such as epilepsy, bed-wetting and sleepwalking,’ he said.

The charity is set to present its findings to the Commission of Enquiry into Child Witchcraft at the Nigerian High Commission in London today.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1383732/Buried-alive-New-report-reveals-suffering-Nigerias-child-witches.html#ixzz1SBO8yOWB

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