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Human Rights – The Nigerian non-governmental organization, Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), has taken in over 160 children labeled as “witches.”
Scores of children have been abused, abandoned, and even murdered in a misguided attempt by families to perpetuate the overzealous beliefs of preachers in a nation entrenched in superstition.
“So many people here believe that children can be possessed by demons that there is rarely any action taken against those who claim to deliver the children in violent exorcisms,” says Sam Itauma, of CRARN.
Itauma is an anomaly in the Nigerian community for supporting the ostracized children, and as a result, is often verbally and physically abused.
Stella, one of the children living at the center, was abandoned by her family after being deemed a witch and was discovered wandering the safe streets of southeastern Nigeria by Jehu Tom, a resource officer for the center.
Another young girl named Uma had a three-inch nail driven into her skull after being declared a witch.
Leaders from local churches who formed a super religion by fusing Christianity with Nigerian animist beliefs are leading the charge against dangerous witches such as Stella and Uma.
The ministers, ironically, constantly reiterate that the child-witches bring destruction, disease, and death to their families, along with gaining the ability to cast spells and contaminate others once possessed.
Read more at CNN.