Two jailed in Gabon over occult sacrifice

LIBREVILLE: A court in Gabon has jailed two men accused of sacrificing a man and cutting out his organs for black magic rituals, press reports and campaigners said Friday.

Henry Bengone B’Evouna received a life sentence for gunning down Achille Obiang Ndong, while his accomplice, Gerard Mba Eyime, was jailed for 12 years for slicing off the victim’s tongue, fingers and toes, l’Union newspaper said.

The sentences were passed on Tuesday by an appeals court in Oyem in the north of the west African country.

Bengone B’Evouna had struck a deal “with a former local dignitary to provide human organs in exchange for the sum of 800,000 CFA francs,” about $1,400 or 1,200 euros, l’Union reported.

Both men admitted guilt for the crime committed in 2012, it said.

An advocacy group, the Association for Fighting Ritualistic Crimes (ALCR), which said it was providing support for the victim’s family, said “the people who sponsored” the murder “have still not been arrested.”– AFP

In Gabon and other parts of West Africa, organs are used as fetishes in magic rituals, “and often are taken from people while they are still alive,” said the organisation’s president, Jean-Elvis Ebang Ondo.

“Often, there is no prosecution for crimes of ritual killings,” he said.

“Behind them, there’s a whole network of sponsors – politicians and powerful businessmen, marabouts [witch doctors], people called ‘nganga’ who act as spotters and often are schoolchildren or close relatives, and those who carry out the killing.”

Dread of kidnapping for organ removal is common.

Ebang Ondo said his organisation estimated that at least 50 ritualistic crimes, in a population of less than two million, occurred each year. – AFP