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Hundreds of children abused over claims of witchcraft and possession

A charity has claimed that up to 400 children may be at risk of abuse by their families after being accused of witchcraft or demonic possession. As reported on Sky News, Africans Unite Against Child Abuse suggest that up to 400 children across the country are at risk - and police and social services are not successfully dealing with abuse.

The children who are thought to be possessed are subjected to abuse including starvation, burning, and strangulation - usually by members of their own families. They are often targeted for being 'different' in some way - with reasons ranging from having a disability to being left-handed. 

There is this notion that some particular children have these spirits within them that make them do evil things and bring bad luck into the family

Oladapo Awosokanre

Oladapo Awosokanre, a project coordinator with Africans Unite Against Child Abuse said: "There is this notion that some particular children have these spirits within them that make them do evil things and bring bad luck into the family." Awosokanre accuses faith leaders of exacerbating the concerns of families in order to make money:"The faith leaders have 'the powers to be able to see' and the abilities to deliver these spirits out of children - for a fee."

This news recalls the murder of Victoria Climbié, who was killed by family members after they thought she was possessed by demons. Read about the Victoria Climbié case here