Kristy Bamu, 15, was killed by relatives who suspected him of being a teen witch, according to reports. His attackers are currently on trial in east London and face murder charges if convicted.
Magalie Bamu and partner Eric Bikubi have denied charges, but police have told a different story, saying that Bamu and Bikubi encouraged Kristy’s siblings to commit a vicious attack. Prosecutor Brian Altman told a jury that allegations of witchcraft were made during a visit at Christmas.
Bamu and Bikubi, he said, “beat them [Kristy and siblings], refusing to let them eat, drink or sleep for days while the punishments being meted out became increasingly violent, with them using many implements found in the flat as weapons of torture.”
Altman added, “It was Kristy Bamu who became the focus of Bikubi’s attention and, in a desperate attempt to prevent any further suffering, he and his two sisters were eventually to admit to being sorcerers.”
The prosecutor told the court that Kristy has over 101 injuries and had died from being beaten and drowned. “As Kristy’s injuries became ever more severe, he even pleaded to be allowed to die. Eventually Bikubi took him into the bathroom, put him in the bath and started to run the water. Kristy was just too badly injured and exhausted to resist or to keep his head above the water.”
According to reports, Kristy’s four siblings, who were originally beaten, were forced to beat Kristy, who was hit with sticks, metal bars, and a hammer and chisel. Paramedics found his body beaten and covered in deep cuts and bruises, with all types of instruments used in the torture.
Altman stated, “Wickedly, the defendants also recruited sibling against sibling as vehicles for their violence. In a staggering act of depravity and cruelty, they both forced the others to take part in the assaults upon Kristy. The children had no option other than to do as they were told, or risk the same violence to themselves.”
“Bikubi made everyone in the flat pray and chant together all night long, but that did nothing to alleviate the children’s plight.” The defendants are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which practices witchcraft (kindoki) in some Christian churches.
Dr. Richard Hoskins is a consultant to the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police and testified at the trial of three adults charged with the physical abuse of a 10-year-old child. Hoskins is a specialist in religiously motivated crimes and stated, “Kindoki is something you have to be scared of because in our culture, kindoki can kill you and destroy your life completely.”
Hoskins told the court, “Exorcisms are usually confrontational, much more aggressive.”
This type of “witchcraft” case is nothing new for people in the United Kingdom. In 2005, three people were charged in the torture of an 8-year-old girl, who they claimed practiced witchcraft. According to reports, the girl was beaten, cut and had chili peppers rubbed in her eyes “to beat the devil out of her.”
One of the abusers told the BBC, “In our community, kindoki happens. It is killing people. It is doing bad things.” The girl survived the torture, and her abusers were sent to jail. In response to the case, the U.K. established Project Violet, which is a police unit that protects children from religious and cultural abuse.