General News of Monday, 2 April 2012
A 17-year-old high school girl was sent to a witch’s camp by members of her community because she is exceptionally brilliant.
She was accused of bewitching and “stealing the intelligence” of her classmates and banished to the Gambaga Witches Camp in the Northern Region.
But thanks to the intervention of the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWAC), and non-governmental organisation, Go Home Project, the student has been freed, together with 16 other inmates of the camp.
The Deputy Sector Minister Hawawu Gariba Boya, who disclosed this to the Times, said MoWAC currently had custody of the girl and was preparing to transfer her to another school.
Hajia Hawawu expressed MoWAC’s commitment to ensuring that “such bizarre maltreatment of girls and children are generally eradicated.”
She said MoWAC was in the process of releasing and re-uniting inmates from witches camps with their families but added that the “only challenge we are having is that some of these inmates do not want to go back to their communities because of the stigma and maltreatment they may suffer.”
That notwithstanding, she said the ministry will continue with its efforts to re-unite the victims with their families by educating the communities to “desist from practising such archaic beliefs.”
Currently there are about seven witch camps operating in the Northern region including Gambaga, Gnani(near Yendi) Kukuo (near Bimbila), and Gushegu, which provide shelter for people mainly women who have accused of being witches by members of their communities.