The Gender Ministry says it is working on providing designated sanctuaries for people branded as witches in camps.
According to the Minister, Cynthia Morrison, after touring some witch camps in the north, she concluded that contrary to the initial stance of closing down all “witches’ camps”, a more practical approach in resolving the issue would be to create protective communities within which those who have been branded as witches can live safely away from constant attacks.
From her tours, she discovered that these ‘camps’ serve as a refuge for some of these women.
“For some people, they voluntarily run to the shelter (camps) because they know that when they stay in their community (after being branded as witches), at night the young men will come for them,” she revealed.
Mrs Morrison explained that in many of these communities, people who are ‘identified’ as witches are ostracized from their families and the communities they live in and there is no accepting them back into that society.
“A lot of them have refused to go home because of fear. What we are going to do is to provide these women with a safe haven and for some revamp where they are,” she added.
The minister intimated that because some of these ‘witches’ camps’ have developed into communities for these women, the safe havens that government establish will be aimed at enlargening and improving these communities by putting them on some government programs like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), targetted at the poor and vulnerable in society.
“[For] some of them it does not look like a camp for them. They have their own community living, farming and selling [there]. The only thing is that they have been isolated from their families.”
Mrs Morrison added that her ministry is looking to work with security agencies to enforce the law that ensures that anyone found culpable of lynching any individual tagged as a witch will be arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law.
Her comments come after the country witnessed the gruesome murder of 90-year-old woman Akua Denteh in July this year.
Madam Akua Denteh was lynched in broad daylight at Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region after being accused of witchcraft by a local fetish priestess.
Although some of the perpetrators have been arrested the case is still pending in court.
Following that, an 83-year-old man named, KonYan Yariban, was taken hostage following a witchcraft allegation by a group of people on August 3.
He was accused of being responsible for the death of their family member.
The 83-year-old man who was kidnapped in the Bunkprugu/Nakpanduri district managed to escape from his captors in Togo where he was taken to face a witch doctor.
On August 29, Maria Ibrahim sustained severe injuries to her skull and legs after being attacked at Sumpini in the West Gonja District of the Savanna Region.
The attack allegedly took place after the Bugum fire festival where a group of men also accused her of being a witch.
The Savannah Regional Police Command have arrested the Dagomba Chief of Sumpini and his linguist for their role in the attack of 50-year old Maria.
The two, together with three others were picked up by the police to assist with ongoing investigations.
The Gender minister emphasized on the importance of protecting the citizens of the nation from such attacks, hence the need to establish these havens across the country as a refuge for anyone who falls prey to such attacks.