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A son of the lynched 90-year-old woman accused of witchcraft has recalled her mother’s last words.
Her last words were ‘“my son, are you back? How are you? Your people came to pick me up again and beat me. I need water to drink,’’ his son, Dominic, said.
“They brought her water. When my mother took the water and a drop entered her mouth, that was the end of my mom.”
Dominic, in a radio interview on Citi FM, he said her mother was beaten three consecutive days with the holiest book of the Islamic faith—the Quran—in the name of exorcism.
Before her public humiliation, battery and killing on Thursday July 23, Mariama Akua Denteh’s son, Dominic, alleged that the frail nonagenarian was dragged out her home on Tuesday under suspicions that she was a witch.
“It was on Tuesday night at 2 am that the native woman [soothsayer] came and was exorcising witchcraft from people. Members of the community led her to break into her [mother’s] room and said she is a witch.
“She insisted she was not a witch. She has grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They searched inside the room and brought all her belongings out, but they couldn’t get anything. They used the holy Quran on her forehead so she will confess to being a witch. They applied anointing oil on her nose and mouth. Nothing happened to her and they left,” he recalled.
Dominic’s sister Zenab, who was taking care of their mother, reported the incident to her siblings.
The five other siblings rushed to the village to complain to the chief about their mother’s harassment.
“My elder brother complained about what happened to our mother that Tuesday night. The chief said our mother had been vindicated.
“So far as they used the anointing oil and the holy Quran on my mom and searched her room but there was nothing to show that she is a witch. He even urged that we should go and put on white apparel and celebrate her.”
The chief’s words were reassuring so Dominic’s elder brother honoured traditional by giving out GH₵40 for “kola.”
From there, they all left for our various destinations, he said.
The gang of witch hunters were back again to the old lady’s house on Wednesday.
“The people came back that my mother is still a witch. They entered her room, searched everywhere. They hit her the holy Quran on her forehead for four consecutive times, oiled her nose and her mouth but there was nothing to show that my mom is a witch.
“They gave her three lashes and went back,” he stated.
Dominic said when they heard the news of the return of their mother’s tormentors that Wednesday, they thought of going for her but decided against it because it would have fed into the notion that she was indeed a witch.
Again, their mother had resisted attempts to move her away from the village in the past, as she insisted she had family members and her age mates in Kafaba and would not want to live in a big town.
So her children built her a home in the village and visited regularly.
But the decision not to go for their mother that Wednesday proved fatal the next day.
On Thursday, the soothsayer came again.
“They picked her up around 9 am to the village square which was very close to the chief’s palace. They beat my mother mercilessly. You wouldn’t believe that she had lived in the community for so many years,” he said.
Sadly, a relative was among those who whipped the feeble grey-haired woman.
Dominic’s stepbrother’s sister-in-law was the young lady whipping the 90-year old in the viral video that caused public uproar.
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When two of Dominic’s sisters resisted the assault, he said the way pushed away by the youth of the community while other relatives including Akua Denteh’s nieces looked on.
Domininic said his mother did not have problems with her rival or any community member to warrant the assault.
After the atrocious act, Akua Denteh was abandoned at the village square. It took Dominic’s former students to pick the fragile woman home on a borrowed motorbike.
When news reached Dominic about the incident, he said he informed his elder brother who rushed to Kafaba.
He met his motionless mother alive but barely able to speak.
Her last words were ‘“my son, are you back? How are you? Your people came to pick me up again and beat me. I need water to drink.’’’
“They brought her water. When my mother took the water and a drop entered her mouth, that was the end of my mom.
“One of our relatives came to raise her hand but it fell without any strength in it. My elder brother can’t tell when a person is dead. They went and called one of my aunties. My mother’s age mate, she confirmed that my mom has kicked the bucket.”
“He told them not to touch my mom. They should just use a cloth to cover her. My brother took off from Kafaba and came to Salaga and reported it to the Chief who also informed the local police commander. The police dispatched a team to Kafaba.
The body was then sent to the Tamale Teaching Hospital for autopsy.
When the family gathered in the village they went to confront the chief who had assured them that their mother had earlier assured them that their mother had been vindicated.
“When we all gathered as a family, we went to see the chief and told him that the woman we came to complain about had been beaten to death. It took the chief 15 minutes, he couldn’t utter any word.
They only thing the chief said was that ‘that is the will of God’.
Although the Kafaba chief denied knowledge of the soothsayer, Dominic said it was impossible for such a person to visit the community on that mission without the Chief’s knowledge.
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