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Ritual Murder

Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of cases of ritual murder that have occurred in Nyasaland during the past twelve months.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1962; Vol. 654, c. 606–7] supplied the following information:NYASALANDDetails of cases of so-called ritual murder during past twelve months.

(a) Case of murder committed in Port Herald District on 27th March, 1961.
Six persons accused a woman called Nsai of bewitching the daughter of one of them by creating a crocodile which had subsequently eaten the child. They took Nsai from her house, stripped her, lashed her to stakes and burnt her alive. Before Nsai died, she named a second woman in the village, Khanachaka, as being responsible for the death of the child. The six men went to the house of Khanachaka, took her to where the charred body of Nsai was lying and burnt her in similar fashion.
Four of the six were sentenced to death at Blantyre on 21st December, 1961, and the remaining two, who were juveniles were released.
(b) Case of trial by ordeal in the Port Herald District reported on 9th January, 1962.
In this case, which is still under investigation, the allegation is that the deceased woman, who was suspected of witchcraft, was forced to undergo a trial by ordeal which included the administration of a liquid alleged to be a vegetable poison.
A total of thirteen persons have been arrested in connection with this case.