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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > The Threats From Africa: "Voodoo", Female Genital Mutilation, War Crimes And Terrorism

The Threats From Africa: "Voodoo", Female Genital Mutilation, War Crimes And Terrorism

April 7, 2014


More than 40,000 sub-Saharan Africans seek to enter the European Union via Melilla and Ceuta, two Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco. Over 8,000 already managed to do so. They first have to climb huge ten meter high fences and do not hesitate to use violence and attack the Spanish border police, the so-caled Guardia Civil, using sticks or throwing stones at them. On February 24, 2014, over 500 sub-Saharan Africans stormed the Melilla border fence causing injuries to 13 members of the Guardia Civil, the Spanish press reported. Some 100 Africans managed to enter Spanish territory. There was a similar attack a few days later when 214 sub-Saharian Africans or "subsaharianos" managed to enter Melilla. Spain belatedly decided to send reinforcements to both enclaves which are literally besieged by hundreds of very violent and aggressive young African males. On March 28, some 800 sub-Saharians stormed the Melilla fence, but this time only ten managed to climb over the it and reach Spanish territory – thanks to the alertness of the reinforced Guardia Civil. Members of the Guardia Civil are no longer allowed to use pistols, rubber bullets or tear gas to defend themselves, only police trungeons they may carry.

Some liberal politicians are blaming the West and want to abolish the borders in southern Europe. I recently heard how a politician from the ruling Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) made a plea in a session of a parliamentary committee to provide food, shelter and healthcare to all illegal immigrants in Holland –over 100,000 by now. All asylum requests of illegal immigrants have been turned down by the Dutch government as well as by the courts – yet these people do not want to return to their home countries. They feel protected by liberal politicians and clergymen and the powerful immigration lobby. Liberal asylum policies will only encourage hundreds of thousands other non-Western immigrants to enter Europe – it will be a huge burden for the European tax payer. But there are other important justifications for curbing mass immigation from Africa and the Muslim world.

Primitive witchcraft and superstition are widespread in Africa and among African immigrants

"To my knowledge, there is not an African society which does not hold belief in mystical power of one type or another," writes John S. Mbiti in his study African Religions and Philosophy. "There is mystical power which causes people to walk on fire, to lie on thorns or nails, to send curses or harm, including death." "There is power that enables experts to see into secrets, hidden information or the future, or to detect thieves and other culprits. African peoples know this and try to apply it in these and other ways."

Sorcery, witchcraft (evil employment of mystical power), evil magicians, witches, medicine-men and priests still play a very important role in the life of too many Africans. Witchcraft, Mbiti writes, "is part of the religious corpus of beliefs." There is also a widespread belief in spirits, spirits are blamed for all forms of illness. "Spirit possession occurs in one form or another in practically every African society."

Daniel Etounga-Manguelle from Cameroon wants Africa to adopt "a cultural adaptation program." "A society in which magic and witchcraft flourish today is a sick society ruled by tension, fear and moral disorder." It is, Etounga-Manguelle claims, the Africans and their culture which are to be blamed for irrationalism, widepread practices of corruption ("The elites have access to large amounts of money"), inefficient African bureaucracies, tribalism and the negation of the individual. The costs of irrationalism, he says, are high: "Sorcery also extends to government. Witch doctors surround African presidents, and nothing that really matters in politics occurs without recourse to witchcraft. Occult counselors, responsible for assuring that authorities keep their power by detecting and neutralizing possible opponents, have power that the most infuential Western advisors would envy. The witch doctors amass fortunes, and they themselves end up with official designations, enjoying the direct excercise of power."

Africans believe in the God of the Christians but also in the spirits of their ancestors, says John Ekow Ampsan from Gambia. "That is why you will see your cross on our tables but under those tables there are shrines for sacrificial offerings." "Voodoo works. Since we want to be like the white man, we lost our protection."

Dutch anthropologist Peter Geschiere finds that so-called "healers" play an important role in Africa. Healers "now appear before the courts as witnesses for the prosecution." Judges are willing to support the healers. "Without the testimony of a healer, confirming the accusation, the judges will hardly take interest." "The judges themselves become entangled in their conspiracies and the traps of the occult forces." Healers have become even more confident than they already were, "extremely aggressive in their ways of approaching new clients."

African immigrants in Europe and North America take their beliefs, cultural and social manners with them. For example, Nigerians introduced voodoo practics to Holland, Belgium, Britain, Italy, Spain, the United States and Canada. Young girls from Nigeria are forced into prostitution by Nigerian or West African traffickers who send their victims to Europe. Before going to a Western country these poor and defenseless girls first have to visit a voodoo priest or witch doctor. This evil man cuts their nails and takes their pubic hair and performs magic rituals called voodoo, thus enforcing the girls' loyalty to the criminal gang of traffickers. The terrified girls are told that they will die should they dare to escape before having paid their so-called debts to the criminal organization. The Nigerian criminals provide tickets and forged identity papers. (I once made a newsitem on Dutch TV about dangerous Nigerian and Albanian criminal networks in Antwerp, Belgium.)

It was in the Fall of 2009 that a Nigerian criminal gang operating from Holland and Britain was on trial in the Netherlands. I was present at most of the sessions of the court and heard a lot about voodoo-practices. The gang was led by Solomon Osaikhwuwuomwan, born in Benin City, Nigeria, on November 1, 1964, and Gilbert Ektor, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 21, 1974. The gang trafficked young Nigerian women to Holland abusing Dutch centers for so-called "Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers." The girls were instructed to lie about their age. After a few weeks in the center the girls were picked up by a gang member and subsequently transferred to Italy and Spain to work as prostitutes. During the trial the prosecution argued that gang members intimidated these women by using voodoo curses in order to force them into prostutition. "The victims believe that voodoo priests have power over life and death."

Spanish police arrested 23 people accross the country, the Daily Telegraph reported in May 2009. Police said the Nigerian traffickers ring carried out voodoo rituals and black magic to frighten their female victims and keep them under control. "All the money which the women earned was kept by the ring until they had paid off the debt they incurred to make the trip to Spain where they were forced to work as prostitutes."

A courageous Nigerian woman named Joana Adesuwa-Reiterer wrote a shocking book on voodoo curses. She lives in Vienna, Austria. It was extremely difficult for her to break the witchcraft spell. She describes a so-called "ritual house" where organs are removed from women and children who are still alive but who die shortly afterwards. Their organs are used in magic rituals and sold to others.

West African countries are also used by Latin American drug organizations as transit routes for cocaine. These criminals focus on Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Corruption and weak law enforcement capabilities make it easy for them. "It is relatively easy to hide cocaine in some African port until it is sent to Europe by ship," Joanna Wright observes. Nigerian drug criminals are also operating in South Africa. Misha Glenny writes: "South Africans came to perceive the Nigerians as the worst criminals because they are highly visible, working tireressly to expand the consumption of drugs and the use of prostitutes accross all communities in South Africa."

There were several violent confrontations between the Italian mafia and Nigerian criminals in Italy.

Female Genital Mutilation, rape and promiscuity

Rape, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), promiscuity and polygamy are widespread in Africa. More than 6,500 incidents of domestic and sexual violence were reported in Sierra Leone in the first eight months of 2013. Even girls as young as nine years old have been raped. It is not much better in South Africa and Congo.

Many African immigrants do not behave very differently in Europe and the United States. Female Genital Mutilation, for example, is widely practiced by Somali immigrants. It is as if they are under some kind of magic spell. Somalis and Moroccans are the most problematic immigrant groups in the Netherlands. A recent Dutch study points out that the integration of Somalis into Dutch society has failed, things are even getting worse. Many Somalis do not work. Crime is rampant among them.

Sweden, Germany and France allow more immigrants and asylum-seekers than other European countries. About 19 percent of the Swedish population now consists of immigrants. Sweden allowed about 44,000 non-Western asylum-seekers in 2012 and the number has steadily increased since. Most immigrants are Muslims from Africa or the Middle East.

The liberal Swedes belatedly discovered that all is not so well anymore. Just like in Paris there are now dangerous suburbs or "banlieus" where Muslim immigrants shout anti-Semitic slogans and harass Western women. There were serious riots in immigrant neighborhoods in Stockholm in May 2013. Policemen were attacked by angry Muslim youngsters and numerous cars were set on fire by them. Most of the perpetrators do not have a job, many of them did not finish secondary school. Stine Jensen, a liberal Dutch journalist who knows Sweden quite well, recently published a critical book on Scandinavia. She shows how the dream of multiculturalism has been shattered. She writes about a gang of black youths who frequently terrorized native Swedish boys in the city of Gothenburg. This kind of "reverse racism," Jensen writes, is a taboo subject for the media as well as for "multicultural Swedish wellwishers."

War criminals and former child soldiers

A special police unit in Holland is investigating war criminals from Africa and Afghanistan who had been granted asylum in previous years. More than 800,000 so-called "Tutsis" were killed by "Hutus" in Rwanda back in 1994. Apart from witchcraft and superstition, tribalism is a very serious problem throughout Africa. Many of the perpetrators of war crimes in Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Sierra Leone and Liberia later fled to Europe, notably to France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Britain where they applied for asylum. One of them was Josef Mutumbara, the leader of a Hutu militia which killed innocent and defenseless civilians. He later showed up in Holland but his asylum request was turned down and he was arrested in 2006. Jean Baptiste Mugimba is another Rwandan war criminal who fled to Holland. His request for asylum was granted, however. The current Rwandan government claims there are sixteen other cases in Holland alone. And in Belgium 36 Rwandese immigrants are suspected of having committed war crimes in Rwanda and Belgian prosecutors now seek to prosecute seven of them.

A court of Paris recently sentenced Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan intelligence chief, to 25 years in prison for his role in the Rwandan genocide. "Last year, Béatrice Munyenyezi, a Rwandan woman who had won political asylum in the United States, was stripped of her American citizenship and sentenced to 10 years in prison after she was convicted of lying about her family's role in the 1994 killings," the International New York Times wrote in an editorial comment. "Last month, the Church of England opened an investigation into allegations against a Rwandan bishop who is now a resident in Britain."

Former child soldiers who committed war crimes in several African countries are living in Europe. Among them are "an estimated three to five hundred in Germany," the Child Soldiers Global Report 2004 says. "In Norway the immigration authorities refused asylum to two youths in early 2004. The two said they had been child soldiers in Eritrea where children are reported to serve in the armed forces illegally."

The so-called Child Soldiers Protection Act was signed by president George W. Bush in 2008. "Former child soldiers, including those who have been forcibly recruited by armed groups, face hurdles to asylum or protection in the U.S.," proponents of more a liberal asylum policy say. They regret the fact that "the U.S. considers nearly all non-state armed forces to be ‘terrorist organizations' for the purposes of international law, and people who fought with such groups are considered ineligible for asylum." Most of these former child soldiers committed serious war crimes, raping and killing numerous women, for example. Granting asylum to these war criminals by Western countries is not a good idea at all. Countries that do allow them as so-called refugees face the risk of importing their objectionable culture of violence. War criminals, also the younger ones, are not entitled to asylum.

Islamic radicalism and terrorism

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Faisal, a radical Muslim cleric from Jamaica, was arrested in Kenia in January 2010 and subsequently deported to Jamaica. However, protesters in Nairobi held up placards showing the cleric's face as they demonstrated against his arrest. "Faisal's teachings influenced Jermaine Lindsay, one of the July 2005 London suicide bombers, and like many young people in the United Kingdom, vulnerable to extremist propaganda," Jon Cole and Ben Cole write in Jane's Intelligence Review. Abdullah Al-Faisal, or rather the Muslim convert Trevor William Forrest, previously preached in Britain urging his followers to kill Jews, Christians and Americans. He "tried to recruit British schoolboys for terrorist training camps, promising them ‘seventy-two-virgins in paradise' if they died in a holy war." "Our methodology is the bullet, not the ballot," he once said. e treid to recruitHe was deported to Jamaica in 2007 but traveled to South Africa in 2008 and to Kenia in December 2009.

The British government grants too many student visas to young people from risk ocuntries such as Pakistan, Iran, Kenya and Nigeria. A Nigerian student named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studied business and finance in London. It was in this city that the Nigerian student began to visit radical mosques meeting militant Muslims. He then traveled to Yemen where he befriended Anwar Al-Awlaki, an important Al-Qaeda operative. It was on Christmas Day, 2009, that he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. As the flight approached Detroit he tried to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear. Fellow-passenger Jasper Schuringa jumped on him and used fire extinguishers to douse the flames. Consequently, the "underwear bomber" and his despicable Al-Qaeda backers failed to blow up that plane.

Two other Al-Qaeda recruits in London brutally murdered British soldier Lee Rigby on May 22, 2013. The attackers were Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, two extremely violent Nigerians who converted to Islam. In 2010, Adebolajo was arrested in Kenia. Kenia's anti-terrorism unit had reason to believe that he wanted to travel to neighboring Somalia with a view to joining Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda. He was subsequently deported to Britain. The British lamely failed to file charges against him and so he was a free man again. Three years later Adebolajo and his friend Adebowale would murder Lee Rigby.

On February 26, 2014, a British court sentenced Adebolajo to a whole-life term. He was the one who had hacked at Rigby's head. Adebowale, who stabbed at the soldiers' torse, was ordered to serve a minimum of 45 years in jail. "Defiant fanatics fight with guards and hurl abuse at judge," The Times of London reported. Adebowale shouted: "I swear by Allah: Britain, America will never have any safety."

It is important to note that Adebolajo first tried to join Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Kenia is often used as a transit route to Somalia. Al-Shabaab in turn is directly responsible for terrorist attacks in Kenia such as the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Nairobi in September 2013. Libya is more instable than ever and huge numbers of African and Muslim asylum-seekers have sucessfully entered the European Union with the help of criminal gangs of migrant traffickers. These asylum-seekers also try to travel to Israel, usually via the Sinai or Jordan.

This poses a very serious security threat to the West. Restive and frustrated migrant communities in our big cities will grow in number and we will also import more violence and terrorism from Africa, Iran and the Middle East. Already there is a rapid increase of so-called European jihadists in Syria. Most of these jihadists are second-generation immigrants who could return as well trained terrorists.

John McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of the CIA, made a correct observation on Africa when he warns: "The region as a whole is likely to see more incidents like the In Amenas, Nairobi and the Benghazi attacks, largely due to a combination of porous borders, weak security environments, populations 60-70 percent under the age of thirty and broadly sympathetic to jihad causes, and terrain marked by historic and well-traveled smuggling routes."

"Meanwhile, events further south in Africa have underlined both the durability of other Al-Qaeda-like groups and their capacity to work together. If Syria, Iraq and North Africa have problems with sub-sovereign conditions, they are modest compared with those on display in the vast stretches of the Sahel running from Mali through Niger, northern Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic and the South Sudan all the way to Somalia. The Nigerian federal government is clearly struggling with an extremist-inspired uprising in its northeast. And there is evidence that the local group, Boko Haram, has been able to recruit fighters from outside Nigeria, even while developing ties with other regional groups such as Somalia's Al-Shabaab and the larger Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. For its part, Al-Shabaab in September defied predictions of its demise with the devastating attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenia."

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands specialized in crime and terrorism. Website: emersonvermaat.com.


El País (Madrid), February 25, 2014, p. 14 ("Un nuevo grupo the 100 subsaharianos entra la Melilla") ("…muy violento…" "27 heridos: 13 gendarmes y 14 subsaharianos"); El País, March 1, 2014, p. 8 ("El quinto salta del año desborda el centro de inmigrantes de Melilla") ("Al menos de 214 subsaharianos logran superar la doble valla fronteriza"); it was the fifth attack on the border fence; El País, March 29, 2014, p. 13 ("Una decena de inmigrantes logra saltar la Valla de Melilla pese al refuerzo policial"). I also saw three violent stormings of the Melilla border fence on TV. See also NRC Handelsblad March 25, 2014, p. 14 ("Geen hek stopt de mensenzee"). Een lid van de Guardia Civil: "Ze zitten helemaal onder de adrenaline als ze het hek overkomen. Nu we na het 6 februari incident geen oproermiddelen meer mogen gebruiken, hebben we alleen onze wapenstok, terwijl zij met stokken slaan en stenen gooien."

John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (Nairobi: Heinemann, 1974), p. 81, 198, 199, 202.

Daniel Etounga-Manguelle, Does Africa Need a Cultural Adjustment Program?, in: Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington, Culture Matters. How Values Shape Human Progress (New York: Basic Books), p. 71-74.

Der Spiegel (Germany), June 26, 2006, p. 80, 81 ("Die Afrikanische Odyssee"). Quotes from John Ekow Ampsan. This article documents mass immigration to Europe, particularly from Africa.

Peter Geschiere, The Modernity of Witchcraft. Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa (Charlotesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 2000), p. 179, 197, 198.

Requisitoir Officier van Justitie, Zwolle, Koolviszaak, October 13, 2009, p. 20. The so-called "Koolvis-Trial" was a trial against a Nigerian criminal gang in Holland.

The Daily Telegraph (London), May 22, 2009 ("Spanish police arrest 23 people for ‘using voodoo curses'").

Joana Adesuwa Reiterer, Wassergöttin. Wie ich den Bann des Voodoo brach (Munich: Knauer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2009), p. 153.

Joanna Wright, African Drug Trade. Drug Traffickers head West, in: Jane's Intelligence Review, April 2007, p. 38.

Misha Glenny. McMafia. Crime Without Frontiers (London: The Bodley Head, 2008), p. 217.

Trouw (Amsterdam), April 2, 2014, p. 11 ("Integratie Somaliërs moet anders"). A critical report from the Open Society Foundation on the Somali immigrant community in the Netherlands.

Audrey Stikkers, De eerste scheuren in de Zweedse welvaartsstaat, in: Internationale Spectator (Clingendael Institute, the Netherlands), November 2013. On Sweden.

Stine Jensen, Licht of het Noorden. Stine in Scandinavië (Amsterdam: Ambo, 2013). p. 149 (fifty percent unemployed), p. 155 (many on welfare), p. 156 (Honor killings) p. 163-168 (black youth gang in Gothenburg, riots in Husby, a Stockholm immigrant neigborhood).

The Economist (London), March 29, 2014, p. 38 ("Sierra Leone: Stop rape").

1Vandaag (Dutch TV), April 4, 2014 (Rwandese war criminals who applied for asylum in Holland); Algemeen Dagblad (The Netherlands), January 25, 2014, p. 2 ("Wendy's zielige Rwandees verdacht van massamoord").

Mondiaal Nieuws MO (Belgium), March 25, 2014 ("Zeven personen in België mogelijk vervolgd voor Rwandese genocide"). "36 Rwandezen die in België verblijven worden verdacht van oorlogsmisdaden in Rwanda. Dat zegt Lieve Pellens van het Federaal Parket."

International New York Times, March 19, 2014, p. 6 ("A Genocide Trial in Paris"). Editorial comment.

Child Soldiers Global Report 2004, p. 2.

Human Rights Watch, US: Act to Prevent Children in Conflict, February 5, 2013.

Jon Cole and Ben Cole, Free Radicals: Stopping Extremists Before They Start, Jane's Intelligence Review, October 2010, p. 19.

Abdullah el-Faisal, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_el_Faisal. "Tried to recruit British schoolboys."

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umar_Farouk_Abdulmutallab.

The Guardian (London), February 27, 2014, p. 1 ("Rigby killers fight guards as judges passes life sentences"); The Times (London), February 27, 2014, p. 1 ("Mayhem in court as Rigby killers are jailed for life").

John McLaughlin, Are We Loosing the New War on Terror?, in: The American Interest, March/April 2014, p. 37.

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