Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Ritual Murder in Elmina

It is definitely an election year in Elmina, Ghana, when we look at some current events, and if we go by historical precedent. The Omanhin jailed (see last post) and a ritual murder in town: signs of political unease if anything.

The details of the murder, as reported in the Daily Guide of today, are gruesome. The motivation for the murder as yet not clear. However, the specifics of the mutilation of the victim point to a ritualistic context.

The killing of Abdul Aziz is not the first ritual killing in an election period in Elmina. The most famous case dates from 1945, when a young girl of ten, named Ama Kakraba was found dead on the beach, with "... her upper and lower lips, both cheeks, both eyes, her private parts and anus, and several elliptical pieces of skin from different parts of her body ... removed." Five people were arrested and accused of the murder, including the Regent of Elmina, Kweku Ewusie. They were tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. They were hanged at James Fort Prison in Acrra on 1 and 2 February 1946. The murder, it was contended was connected to a political court case which was critical to the position of the Regent and his followers. The girl was allegedly murdered to obtain body parts to make 'medicine' to be used in a ritual to assist in the positive outcome of the case.

For those interested in the details of the Ama Kakraba case, there is an article available by American historian Roger Gocking, accessible through JSTOR: A Chieftaincy Dispute and Ritual Murder in Elmina, Ghana, 1945-6 (or go straight to the PDF)

Below the transcript of the Daily Guide article reporting on the 2012 Abdul Aziz killing, or go to the link here: Ritual murder hits central region.

Daily Guide, General News of Tuesday 17 April 2012

Ritual murder hits Central Region

Two weeks after a hunchback was killed at Twifo-Praso where his hunch was allegedly removed for rituals, a 28-year old scrap dealer, Abdul Aziz, at Elmina Zongo in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region, has been found dead after being missing for four days.

Aziz had his penis, eyes and his tongue removed while he also had a broken jaw. The body of Aziz has since been buried after the performance of the necessary Islamic rites. Briefing Daily Guide on Monday, a concerned citizen who spoke on condition of anonymity said Aziz left the house around 4:30pm on February 21, 2012 and never returned home after he was alleged to have been called by some people at Abakam, a suburb of Cape Coast, to come and purchase some scraps.

The source said the situation compelled some people in the area to form a team to search for Aziz, adding that on February 25, 2012, somebody also going to purchase scraps found Aziz’s wheel parked at Abakam bearing the inscription, “For sale.” The person who was aware that Aziz was missing then asked for the owner of the wheel and one Kweku Ahajalo said it belonged to him and two other people.
The person therefore told Ahajalo that he did not have enough money to purchase the wheel so he was going to collect money from his brother to enable him to purchase it. After some hours, the person brought in the biological brother of Aziz who confronted them and later reported the matter to the KEEA District Police Command where Ahajalo was arrested. The two other accomplices of Ahajalo took to their heels.

The source told Daily Guide that the case was then transferred to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Police Station since the KEEA police command said the case did not fall under its jurisdiction. Daily Guide gathered that the family of Aziz, anxious of finding him, had information that some unidentified bodies were packed at the Central Regional Hospital morgue where the family went and identified the body of Aziz. Ahajalo has since been remanded by the Cape Coast Circuit Court and he is expected to reappear on April 26, 2012.

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