– Some countries in Sub-Sahara Africa are battling with terrorism which is a recent phenomenon on the region
– Cameroon is one of such countries battling insurgency
– Authorities in the country are now encouraging locals to use witchcraft to defeat terrorists
A report by GlobalPost has detailed how witchcraft has been employed by locals in Cameroon to tackle Boko Haram insurgents.
According to the report, guns and bombs just have not been enough for the country, as they are now trying spells and curses too.
The move seems to be a state policy as about a year ago, Cameroonian President Paul Biya urged citizens to use witchcraft against Boko Haram.
“We expect every village to have brilliant actions in this direction,” said Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the Far North region of the country, echoing the president.
“We want to hear that this or that village has wiped out or limited the sect’s damage through witchcraft. Fight for your country,” Bakari added.
Analysts interpreted Biya’s call for witchcraft as a sign of the 83-year-old’s desperation as the insurgents continue their carnage in of Cameroon, as well as in Chad and Nigeria.
The three countries have made headway against the group by setting up a multinational joint military force and opening some commercial routes border towns, but there is much more left to do.
After Biya’s call to employ witchcraft against Boko Haram in January 2016, hundreds of militia fighters rushed to sorcerers, commonly called “marabouts,” to obtain lucky charms and talismans to protect them in battle.
“Since I have this gris-gris, I have no problem,” said Mohamad Ahmed, a gym teacher and member of a local militia in Mora, referring to a small cloth bag typically worn around the neck or wrist.
Filled with supposedly magic objects and paper inscribed with verses from the Koran, Bible or other holy scriptures, gris-gris originated in Africa but are common among voodoo practitioners in the Caribbean as well. Women often don them for contraception.
Ahmed said: “It is so powerful. I put it on at the moment I go into the field of fighting. The fetish protects its wearer. If someone shoots at you, the bullets have no effect. They fall on the ground like small pebbles.”
Ironically, witchcraft is illegal in Cameroon due to its perceived pernicious effects in tribal communities, where believers frequently cast spells in hopes of hurting their enemies.
The law imposes fines and prison sentences of as long as 10 years on those convicted of black magic.
But Henriette Ekwe, a Cameroonian political analyst and good government advocate, said: “It is well known that occult ceremonies are practiced in the political circles of Cameroon at a very high level.”
She added that the call for occult help isn’t a good sign.
Her words: “When one comes to advocate the practice of witchcraft, it is because one is not sure of one’s army.
“It is not up to a head of state to advocate practices of black magic in a theater of operations where it is the weapons that must inflict defeat on Boko Haram, not magicians or sorcerers. This is very serious for the morale of the troops.”
“What is surprising is that the head of state advocates the practice of witchcraft prohibited in Cameroon. How many times have we thrown old people into cells on the grounds that they are accused of practicing black magic in the villages?”
A militia fighter, a 30-year-old who gave his name only as Delli, said he possessed an amulet that allowed him to turn invisible and sneak up on Boko Haram terrorists in Kérawa.
He said: “I was recently alerted that two women were in possession of a bomb. I wanted to surprise them.
“I pronounced the magic phrases and I appeared before them. The bomb was defused.”
Still, officials don’t know if the wizardry has been working or not.
On his part, Toudje Goumo, a deputy prefect of the Mayo-Sava area in Cameroon’s far north region said he doesn’t know if the wizardry has been working or not.
His words: “Regarding witchcraft, we don’t have the resources to assess the level of its impact on the ground.”
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