gruesome murder of Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja of Gwer East LGA of Benue
The barbaric murders of Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja in the Gwer East LGA of Benue are condemned by the Advocacy for Alleged Witches. According to local reports, on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, David Terseer Nongobo, 25, a native of Mbaaku Mbasombo Gwer East LGA of Benue, slumped while working on the farm, less than two months after some teenagers attacked an accused witch in Shangev Tiev, Konshisha LGA. Later, a nearby hospital confirmed that he had passed away. Recently, David finished his secondary education.
Aper Iorfa, Ter Tarnongo, Bamo Oraduen, Terhemen Agber, and other community members attacked David’s uncles Kwaghange Ugbu and Atuur Shaaja’s home after learning of his passing. They were charged with using witchcraft to murder David Terseer. They used axes and cutlasses to beat and cut him. They dragged them till they passed away by tying a rope around their necks.
Witnesses reported that the accused could be heard shouting in the local tongue, “We don’t know anything about the death of this youngster,” as they were being tortured. We will torture both of you to death for killing Tersoo with your witchcraft, the rioters yelled in response. Family members, including their sons and wives (Mary Kwaghhange and Martha Kwaghange), helplessly observed as the suspects were killed by beatings and torture. According to a family member who spoke to AfAW, the deceased’s kin unsuccessfully attempted to save them through intervention.
Sunday, the son of Kwaghhange Ugbu, attempted to intercede but was warned he would be tortured just like his father if he did. His younger sibling made an effort to fight off the throng but was crushed. The deceased’s bodies were left in the open at the Ugbu compound till the next day. They were off limits to contact. The bodies were retrieved and placed to the mortuary on September 29.
AfAW requests that the Benue state government and the commissioner of police make the suspects subject to arrest and prosecution in order to uphold the rule of law. They should make it clear that Benue will not accept jungle justice and that anyone who participates in extrajudicial deaths of purported witches or trials by ordeal will be held accountable for their crimes.
Families of victims should communicate and receive assistance through the National Human Rights Commission, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, and the social welfare division. AfAW calls on the residents of Benue to stop accusing and persecuting people of being witches. They should understand that witchcraft is a myth. The law considers accusations of witchcraft to be crimes. The people of Benue should give up their superstitions and embrace reason and science.
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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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