The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, has dispelled rumours of ritual murders within his jurisdiction.
A video depicting ritual murders went viral on social media, with commentators suggesting it occurred in the regional capital, Koforidua.
The horrific footage of the barbaric act showed a naked woman who was beheaded with a machete as she struggled while pinned down with her hands tied together.
The perpetrators further cut her private parts as another person recorded the whole process on the phone.
The video was linked to the burial and final funeral rites of the late Paramount Chief of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Oti Boateng and the Queenmother, Nana Yaa Daani.
As a common custom in many traditional areas, residents were ordered to remain indoors ahead of the ceremony.
Consequently, some individuals have suggested that the heinous crime may have been committed around the period.
However, the minister, who also holds the position as the chair of the Eastern Regional Security Council (REGSEC), has described the report as untrue.
“…the entire report and video with an unknown source being circulated in the social media purported to have happened in Koforidua in the Eastern Region is totally false and must be treated with the contempt that it deserves,” a statement on 19 May 2022 clarified.
The release said the announcement advising the public to stay away on the night of Monday, 16 May 2022, was in line with customs and tradition to pay respect to the deceased traditional rulers.
The statement added that a number of security personnel were deployed at the funeral grounds.
The presence of the law enforcement officers was extended to Koforidua to ensure incident-free burial rites.
“REGSEC wishes to indicate that the region is safe and peaceful,” the statement added.
Ghana has not been devoid of ritual murders in the past.
Below are some cases of ritual murders:
The Kasoa ritual murder
A 10-year-old boy, Ishmael Mensah Abdallah, was murdered in cold blood for ritual purposes on 3 April.
Felix Nyarko, aka Yaw Anane, 16, a mason labourer, who is the first accused, and Nicholas Kini Kwame, 18, a student and second accused, lured Abdallah into an uncompleted building and killed him with a club and a cement block.
According to the police, a fetish priestess had demanded body parts from the two in addition to GH₵5,000 to perform money rituals to make them wealthy.
Ritual Murder: Couple Arrested For Burying Two-Year-Old Son
The police in the Central Region arrested a couple for burying their two-year-old son alive at Asikuma Odobeng Brakwa.
According to the police, Paul Adobaw and his wife Yaa Atta acted on the instructions of a fetish priestess to bury the boy who could not walk nor speak since childbirth.
The self-styled prophetess, Ama Nkansah, had told the suspects that the baby was a spirit child from a river, and if they did not return the baby to the river gods, the couple would continue giving birth to such babies.
The couple and the prophetess took the baby to the backyard of a tenant near a stream called Gyankobeng. At about 12:20 am on 27 May, they dug a grave, performed rituals on the child, and buried him alive.
A tenant, Abubakari Mohammed, who saw the three in the act, lodged a report at the Brakwa Police Station on the same day at about 3:30 am.
Fashion Designer ritual murder
Police in Sunyani arrested a 23-year-old fashion designer, Benjamin Adjei, for attempting to sacrifice his 13-year-old nephew for money rituals on 15 May.
He lured the victim into a taxi to convey him to the venue for the rituals. The police who had laid ambush at the Abesim-Tano police barrier on the Sunyani-Kumasi highway busted him on their way to the shrine.
A handbag containing one cutlass, a knife, red calico, one pot, some cola nuts, cowries, and a cash sum of GH₵ 300.00 were recovered from him.
Three Arrested For Beheading 12-Year-Old Boy
Three people were also arrested in connection with the gruesome murder of a 12-year-old boy, Cornelius Eboe Negble, at a shrine at Ndogokope, near Tadzewu, in the Volta Region.
The three, Senanu Ashitor Atsikpo, 28; Kudzo Akpatsu, 49; and Etse Louis, 25; kidnapped the victim from his hometown at Nornyikpo, near Ziope, during a funeral on 20 May.
They took him to a shrine and killed him for money rituals.
Rashid Ibrahim Arrested For Beheading Bolt Driver
In Rashid Ibrahim’s case, the 32-year-old killed Israel Agyei Manu, a 33-year-old headteacher of Atonsu-based Rogel Montesorri Basic School.
Police in Ashanti Region picked up Rashid Ibrahim on Sunday, 4 July, indicating that the suspect who was motivated by riches had confessed to the crime.
He had been promised wealth by some people who instructed him to get a human head for sacrifices.