2 women jailed 12 years each for killing 90-year-old Akua Denteh over alleged witchcraft

Tamale High Court has sentenced two women to twelve years imprisonment each for their roles in the killing of 90-year-old Akua Denteh after accusing her of being a witch.

90-year-old Akua Dentah was accused of witchcraft and was lynched at Kafaba near Salaga in 2020

The court convicted Hajia Serena Mohammed, and Latifa Bumaye on each of the two counts of manslaughter and sentenced them on Tuesday, July 3, 2023. The prison terms are to run concurrently.

It would be recalled that Akua Denteh was brutally beaten and killed heartlessly at Kafaba, in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region on Thursday, July 23, 2020, leading to her death the next day. Her death ignited widespread angry reaction across the country, with calls for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

The Salaga police subsequently arrested seven individuals including the chief of the Kafaba community, Seidu Yahaya. Hajia Serena Mohammed and Latifa Bomaye who had gone into hiding following the incident were later arrested at their hideouts.

State prosecutors had initially charged the two women with attempted murder and murder, to which they pleaded not guilty.

However, three years into the prosecution, the now-convicts changed their not-guilty plea to guilty of manslaughter through their lawyer, Abass Klimba Amankwah.

Lynching and ostracizing people, mostly women accused of witchcraft in the northern parts of Ghana remains a major concern, with successive governments being unable to deal with the situation head-on due to the cultural and traditional undertones.

Currently, many banished women are living in witch camps in those areas because they will be killed if they return to their communities where they were born and bred and spent the better parts of their lives.

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