Thousands of children in the Niger Delta of West Africa still suffer intolerable cruelty at the hands of so-called Christian pastors who have proclaimed them witches. Banking on the fears of superstitious people, these clergymen offer expensive exorcisms, during which they torture the accused children and sometimes even kill them.
According to a recent documentary produced by Channel 4 in the U.K., a man from Ibaka, Akwa Ibom, who calls himself “the Bishop,” has made a fortune conducting such rites, claiming the targeted children are possessed by the devil and that they eat human flesh. Ibom told a reporter from Dispatches that he had killed “up to 110 people” who had been identified as witches.
“Hundreds of children killed in the name of god – this is simply unbearable,” said Rael, leader of the International Raelian Movement.In an official statement Nov. 12, Rael outlined the roots of the problem, explaining that the children’s appalling plight stems from the fact that the people of Kama (the original, pre-colonial name of Africa) adopted the corrupt religion of the occupiers.
“By adopting the religion of the colonizers, they betrayed their ancestors,” Rael commented. “The African people should now apostatize massively from this horrendous religion that practices infanticide in the name of god while raking the population with superstitious practices!”
“The traditional religions of Kama have never been bloody,” agreed Uriel Nawej, a specialist in African culture who is also a Raelian bishop. “They had past religious practices to help those they believe were possessed, but they never practiced this sort of tragic witch-branding on children. And they never killed anyone for being possessed by ‘bad spirits.'”
“Only a barbaric religion like the colonizer’s religion, Christianity, could bring about such a horrible practice,” said Rael. “Christians behave in a much more primitive and barbaric way than the supposedly primitive populations they pretend to civilize.”
Rael has expressed his support for Sam Itauma, who runs the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), a makeshift shelter and school in Eket for 150 children who have been deemed to be possessed.