The Sanneh Institute Legon, a research institute has discovered more than 536 witch camps exist.
There are five (5) camps in total. One was successfully closed down in 2014. All the camps are in the former Northern Region, now in the re-demarcated Northern and North-East Regions.
These figures are not absolutes as victims move out and new one move into the camps regularly. These camps are, Gnani Camp, near Yendi with 200 inmates, Kukuo Camp, near Bimbilla with 149 inmates. Eighty two (82) inmates are located at the Gushegu Camp. Whiles the Kpatinga Camp, near Gushegu has 27 inmates. The Gambaga Camp has 78 inmates bringing the total to 536.
Executive Director of the Sanneh Institute, Prof. John Azumah says “The demographics shows that the overwhelming majority of the victims in the camps are from the Konkomba ethnic group. More than 80%. Followed by Dagomba, Mamprusi and Bimoba in that order”.
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He told Helen Appiah Ampofo, a Co- Presenter on the Sunrise Morning Show on 3FM.
According to him, nearly all the victims are accused by family members, some by their own children, and others by chiefs.
“At Gnani and Kukuo camps, there are a number of descendants of accused persons, some older women were taken there by their children or themselves for fear of being accused, and others sought refuge there from past conflicts. For some of the victims, their families visit them. Some even send grandchildren to stay with their grandmothers. For the majority, no one visits. But when a victim dies, the family will show up to convey the body home and perform the funeral rites”. He revealed.
The report further reveals that in all the camps, except Gushegu, there are traditional shrines and priests known as Tendanas, who perform the rituals and act as overseers of the camps.
“There are neither walls nor gates at the camps. But there are gatekeepers! All the priests say the victims are free to return home anytime their families wanted them back. But there are caveats! Some of the priests openly admit that most of the accusations are fabrications out of pure malice, hatred, jealousy, poverty and ignorance The victims fend for themselves, and their daily feeding is a huge challenge Most are afraid to return home for fear of the accusers and for fear of been accused again Some of the priests say only government and the chiefs can bring about closure of the camps”.
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