13 Men To Be Exorcised At Witches Camp (Ghana)

Spectator October 07, 2001
Conditions at the Witches Camps in the Northern Region are still nothing good to write home about. They have rather deteriorated. At least one thousand women accused of being Witches are incarcerated in four different locations in the northern region.

At one of the Locations,precisely at Gnani- Tingdang, 13 men are among the inmates. Like their female counter-parts, they will be exorcised of the evil spirits allegedly possessing them. Belief in witch-craft is deeply entrenched in the Northern region and because of the sensitive nature of their superstition, successive Governments and the District Assemblies have kept away from the camps for fear of being accused of tampering with the culture of the people.

The Gambaga camp in East Mamprushie, has more than 98 inmates;Kpatinga in the Gushegu-Karaga District has at least 32; Gnani-Tingdan in the Yendi District has 380 plus. The biggest Witches Camp is at Kukuo in the Bimbilla district which has more than 450 inmates.

The history of the Camps date back to the early development of the various traditional areas where the camps are located. The camps have chiefs who claim to be spiritually powerful to exorcise the witches and wizards. The actions of these chiefs however receive approval from the various traditional chiefs who also believe in the traditional practise.

Most of the inmates were either sent to the Camps by members of their families or communities after they had been coerced to admit that they were witches or Wizards, especially in any event of a family or community disaster or tragedy. Some also prefer to be sent there in a bid to protect themselves from being lynched.

Lynching is fast becoming the normal practise by aggrieved communities to deal with people suspected to be witches. Unfortunately the inmates are mostly the aged between 50 and 90- who are either poor or come from poor families.

There are however few inmates aged between 35 and 50 in the camp. This is where the discrimination lies. Interestingly it is rare for any well-to-do person to be sent to the camp where the inmates,unfortunately are left to fend for themselves.

Each of the in-mates is given a hut and a mat without any other basic facilities. This leaves living conditions in the camps very deplorable. Attempts by relatives of the in-mates to help has been difficult for fear of being accused of being witches or accomplices in Witchcraft.


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