Spiritual leader kills boy, 7, for witchcraft

Yaw Payni, a 52-year-old prophet of the Twelve Apostles Church at New Botianor near Accra has been arrested by the Weija Police Command over the death of a 7-year-old boy who was supposedly tortured severely and tied to a pawpaw tree on allegations of witchcraft.

The deceased, John Kweifio aka Johnny was among four children (three boys and a girl) who were taken to the church for spiritual cleansing by their parents due to their frequent ailments.

Three of the children, Hellen Adjei, 11, Francis Owusu, 9 and the younger brother of the deceased, Gideon Mensah, 5, were compelled to confess to practicing witchcraft even though they initially denied they were witches.

Johnny who insisted he was not a wizard remained tightly tied to the pawpaw tree in the compound, starved and whipped until he died.

After Johnny gave up the ghost, the pastor allegedly told his father, Joe Kweifio, that the boy was stricken by an angel of the Lord for his refusal to confess he was a wizard.

As he was tied to the tree, Johnny defecated and passed urine in his pants because he was not allowed to visit the toilet.

When the Weija Police was contacted on Wednesday December 3, 2008, the District Police Commander, DSP John Animpong confirmed the story.

He said on Monday December 1, 2008, a passerby voluntarily reported to his command that four children had been tied to some trees in the compound of the Twelve Apostles Church premises at New Botianor.

When his men got to the scene on Monday night, the survivors had barely been untied from the trees.

Whilst the police sought their freedom, the eldest amongst the three, Hellen, told the security agencies that one of them could not survive the three-week torture and his corpse had been thrown behind the wall.

Instantaneously, Panyi was arrested and taken round the walls of the church, where the police found the remains of Johnny lying in a weedy area.

Prophet Panyi was detained at the police station and was expected to appear before court yesterday.

Johnny’s body is being kept in the Police Hospital morgue awaiting autopsy.

Parents of the children including Johnny’s father were also arrested for interrogation and later granted police enquiry bail.

Source: Daily Guide