The Church in the Central African nation of Gabon says more must be done to stop witch doctors and their collaborators from carrying out ritualistic killings in the country, Crux reports.
Gabon is nominally Christian, with over 40 per cent of the population claiming to be Catholic and another 45 per cent belonging to other Christian denominations, but many people still practice animist religions and visit witch doctors.
According to the Association to Fight Ritual Crimes (ALCR), human organs, human flesh and human blood are believed to bring success or power by many in Gabon.
Bishop of Oyem Jean-Vincent Ondo Eyene, in northern Gabon, says the Church cannot stay silent in the face of ritual killings that continue to haunt the central African country.
In an exclusive interview with the Catholic news website Cath.ch on October 5, Bishop Ondo Eyene said ritual killings were on the rise in the country.
He said the Church, through its Justice and Peace Commission has, since 2012, been engaged in the fight against ritual killings.
“It is not part of the cultural habits of the Gabonese people,” Bishop Ondo Eyene said, adding Gabon’s openness to the world has brought about the practice.
“There is need to discuss with the authorities to see how to put an end to the practice. Human life is sacred and cannot be made banal,” he said.
Jean Elvis Ebang Ondo, the president of the ALCR, spoke to Vatican Radio about the practice of human sacrifice in Gabon in 2014.
“They would kill a person; they would take away what is commonly known here as ‘spare parts’ meaning the parts of the body required by the witch doctor. The body is then buried somewhere in the bush and six months after, they come back to recover the bones,” he said.
The association says that between 2011 and 2014, at least 157 people were killed in Gabon for their body parts. The vast majority of the victims - around 70 per cent - are children.