Savage immigrants bring cannibalism to Britain
Human flesh 'on sale in London'
Police probe link between African magic and butchered remains of 5-year-old boy
The Observer, London Sunday November 3, 2002
By ANTONY BARNETT, PAUL HARRIS & TONY THOMPSON
Detectives hunting the killers behind the 'Torso in the Thames' child murder are investigating the illegal bushmeat trade after allegations that human flesh is being offered for sale in London.
Police believe that the murdered five-year-old, whom they have called Adam, was the victim of a ritualistic killing linked to a West African form of voodoo-like religion. Officers suspect that gangs illegally importing exotic meat, such as chimpanzee and bush rat from West Africa, are involved in trading in substances used in African witchcraft that may include human body parts.
Detectives from Operation Swalcliffe, which is investigating Adam's death, joined a raid on a north London shop last month by environmental health officers after a tip-off that human body parts were being sold. The officers seized two tonnes of unfit meat, including a crocodile head, used in ritualistic dishes to increase sexual stamina in men. They also found rat faeces, which had been removed from rats' intestines and prepared as a delicacy for possible use in a ritual.
The trade in importing bushmeat to Britain has boomed in recent years, but this was the first time evidence has been found linking it to witchcraft ceremonies. While police found no obvious traces of human flesh, packages of unidentifiable meat and ribs wrapped in plastic bags and stored in a backroom have been sent for DNA testing.
Clive Lawrence, Heathrow airport's meat transport director, who was on the raid, is convinced that human flesh is finding its way into the UK as part of the bushmeat. He believes that the trade is also linked to criminal gangs involved in people trafficking and drug smuggling.
'The intelligence we are receiving suggests human flesh is coming into this country," he said. 'We are dealing with some very nasty people.'
Experts believe African witchcraft rituals are on the increase in Britain. Professor Hendrick Scholtz, a South African expert in witchcraft and an adviser on Operation Swalcliffe, said: 'As these communities grow, elements of African culture will be inevitably transported to Britain.'
In the past year police have discovered seven incidences of West Africans conducting religious rituals on the banks of the Thames. They usually involve lighting candles and writing on white sheets that are then thrown them into the water. Early in their investigations, police thought seven half-burnt candles wrapped in a sheet near Battersea Power Station could hold the key to the murder. The name 'Adekoyejo Fola Adoye' was written on the sheet and carved in the candles.
However, detectives found that Adoye lived in New York and his London-based
parents had performed a ceremony to celebrate the fact he was not killed in
the 11 September terrorist attacks. Nevertheless,
the revelation is thought to have surprised police who had been unaware such rituals had been taking place in public in the capital.
The use of human flesh is a taboo subject in many African communities, which stress that traditional culture abhors such acts. Scholtz said it is used when a normal animal sacrifice is considered insufficient. Human flesh is also typically used when a group of people is trying to achieve a common goal.
The possible uses of such body parts is varied: skin from a stomach can be used to cause pain to enemies, while fingernails and toenails are used in poisons. Eyebrows, hair and noses are often used in curses. Particularly strong magic is believed to reside in a person's genitalia. Breasts and genitalia from both sexes are used in love potions.
Police believe that Adam was brought to Britain as a slave and sacrificed in a ritual intended to bring good luck to his killers.
'There is an ongoing search for Adam's head and limbs and there is evidence
to suggest a link between those who are involved and the trade in illegal animal
parts and meat products,' said a spokesman for
Privately, detectives believe Adam's arms, legs and skull have been kept as magical trophies. Two officers are in Nigeria trying to find his parents after DNA testing showed he was born there. They believe his death may be linked to an extreme element from the Yoruba people, a tribe with voodoo-like rituals.
Follow-up: according to the Daily Mirror in July of last year, Africans have been arrested at Heathrow Airport wearing human tongues on cords around their necks (to help them pull off fraud schemes) or penises (for reasons easily imagined). These are known as "muti" charms and are only effective if taken from a living victim. Africans commonly believe that these will make them invulnerable to police bullets, among other things. - C.P.
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'Child sacrifices in London'
By Richard Edwards Crime Reporter, Evening Standard
16 June 2005
They are brought into the capital to be offered up in rituals by fundamentalist Christian sects, according to a shocking report by Scotland Yard.
Followers believe that powerful spells require the deaths of "unblemished" male children.
Police believe such boys are trafficked from cities such as Kinshasa where they can be bought for a little as £10.
The report, leaked ahead of its publication next month, also cites examples of African children being tortured and killed after being identified as "witches" by church pastors. The 10-month study was commissioned after the death of Victoria Climbié, who was starved and beaten to death after they said she was possessed by the devil.
The aim of the Met study was to create an "open dialogue" with the African and Asian community in Newham and Hackney. In discussions with African community leaders, officers were told of examples of children being murdered because their parents or carers believe them to be possessed by evil spirits. Earlier-this month Sita Kisanga, 35, was convicted at the Old Bailey of torturing an eight-year-old girl from Angola she accused of being a witch.
Kisanga was a member of the Combat Spirituel church in Dalston. Many such churches, supported mainly by people from West Africa, sanction aggressive forms of exorcism on those thought to be possessed.
There are believed to be 300 such churches in the UK, mostly in London.
The report was put together by an expert social worker and lawyer for the Met after talking to hundreds of people in African communities in a series of workshops. It uncovered allegations of witchcraft spells, child trafficking and HIV-positive people who believe that by having sex with a child they will be "cleansed".
An extract reads: "People who are desperate will seek out experts to cast spells for them.
"Members of the workshop stated that for a spell to be powerful it required a sacrifice involving a male child unblemished by circumcision. They allege that boy children are being trafficked into the UK for this purpose."
It adds: "A number of pastors maintain that God speaks through them and lets them know when someone is possessed.
"It is therefore their duty to deliver the child or adult from the evil spirit.
"After much debate they acknowledge that children labelled as possessed are in danger of being beaten by their families.
"However, they would not accept they played a role in inciting such violence."
Last month Scotland Yard revealed it had traced just two out of 300 black boys aged four to seven reported missing from London schools in a three-month period.
The true figure for missing boys and girls is feared to be several thousand a year.
The scale of the problem emerged through the murder inquiry following the discovery of a child's torso in the Thames in September 2001. The identity of the victim, named Adam by police, is not known but his background was traced to Nigeria. It is believed he died in a ritual sacrifice.
John Azar, who helped the police on that inquiry, told Radio4's Today programme that the known cases could be "the tip of the iceberg".
Police working on the Adam case have found children are being sold to traffickers on the streets of major African cities for less than £10 and then smuggled into the UK. The children arrive in London armed with false documents and accompanied by adults who believe they will bolster their asylum claims.
Dr Richard Hoskins, a lecturer of Theology and Religious Studies at King's College, said: "We know this through work we have been doing on the Adam inquiry. These children are ripe for people to abuse. They are easy prey."
A Met spokesman said: "We undertook a project aimed at improving our knowledge of issues impacting child abuse within the African and Asian communities of London. The aim of the project was to open a dialogue within these communities and encourage a debate which would help reduce the risks of harm to children."
The report says there is a wide gulf between these communities and social services and protection agencies with many people in ethnic communities scared to speak out.
The report concludes police face a "wall of silence" when dealing with such cases.
Experts differ on the merits of the Scotland Yard report.
Dr William Les Henry, a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths College [SEE PICTURE OF "DR. WILLIAM LES HENRY", BELOW, WITH "FRIEND"], said aspects of the reports were pigeonholing crimes together and were patronising and racist.
He said: "When we think about these cases we can see the same kind of patterns of behaviour in European cultures [?] but they are interpreted in completely different ways.
"This is one of the crises with social sciences anyway, when they are supposedly interpreting the folk ways or cultural habits of alien cultures." He said that the models such reports are based on are that "Africans are less civilised, less rational". [COMMENT: Of course they are not. How could anyone imagine such a thing? -C.P.]
But Dr Hoskins said: "This is very detailed, qualitative report that actually comes out of the communities.
"This is not white people saying this. This has actually comes from the communities authored by people in the community and that really stymies the racist line." He added: "We are dealing with real cases here. When you actually talk to them, these are hard and fast facts.
"So I don't think we are getting wrong, but it is right to treat it sensitively."
He believes vulnerable people are being manipulated by spiritual leaders.
"This is absolutely what is going on. They are often very vulnerable, poor people.
"It is people in positions of power and money that are manipulating poor people."
Dr William Les Henry with "friend".
See also: Reply to an English anti-anti-Semite by C.W. Porter
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