The Alleged Witches Attorney (AfAW) is calling on the Kenyan authorities to take comprehensive measures to end the witch hunt in the country. AfAW makes this appeal after the brutal murder of alleged witches in the country. Graphic images are circulating on social media of scenes in which local mobs attacked and slaughtered suspected witches in the Kenyan region of Kisii. There has been international outrage over this incidence of witch bloodshed in Kenya in the 21st century. So shocking and heartbreaking was one particular scene in which an elderly woman suspected of witchcraft pleaded desperately to her innocence.

She held out her hands to a young man who charged her with a machete and begged for her life. But this woman was eventually hacked to death by this person who is supposed to be the grandson. Local media sources said three other people, including two elderly women and a man, were lynched by the mob. A media source has determined that the case of a 17-year-old student who could not speak is linked to this horrific murder. This student underwent a ritual admitting that these four elderly people had bewitched him. Angry mobs pulled the suspected witches from their homes, killed them and burned their bodies.

These brutal attacks and murders took place in a public square where people gathered, watched, took photos and filmed with cell phones. The lynching took place in an area with community leaders, police stations and other local government agencies. Unfortunately, no government agency intervened. No police officers tried to stop the lynching. No community leader tried to save the lives of the victims. There was no public opposition to this heinous and heinous act. Kisii is one of the regions notorious for the witch hunt in Kenya. So this incident did not come as a surprise to the government or the people.

AfAW calls on the Kenyan government to conduct a thorough investigation into these brutal murders. The government should punish anyone who, by their acts or omissions, has assisted or facilitated the commission of this crime. Some of the suspects were reportedly arrested. While this is a welcome development, the government should go beyond prosecuting suspected killers. It should ensure careful negotiation and punishment of everyone involved in this terrible incident at various levels.

The government should not only punish the perpetrators, but also sanction local police commanders, village and community leaders, leaders of the affected communities and local authorities. This witch hunt incident is an indictment against the collective conscience of Kenyans. Kenya should launch a national public education and awareness campaign to reorient the public mind and free people from these harmful superstitions and irrational beliefs.

This case of witch bloodshed is clear evidence of moral failure. Kenya should take legal and administrative measures to ensure that brutal attacks and violence related to witchcraft never occur again.

Leo Igwe, [email protected]

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