Two 8-year-old children from Okobo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, lived on the streets for the past month, after their relatives tortured them and sent them out of their homes for alleged witchcraft.
The children have been identified as Mary Odiong and Ekong Asua.
Odiong told Punch that she was blamed for the death of her uncle who died in Okopedi village of an ailment many suspected was AIDS.
Her relatives then blamed her for the death, saying that she was the reason why he had contracted AIDS and died.
“The people in my family called me and started asking me questions whether I was a witch and why I killed my uncle. I told them that I did not know anything about what they were talking about.
They started beating me. They hit me with cutlasses. They cut my buttocks with knives.
After the beating became too much, I lost consciousness. Later, I woke up to find myself in a bush. I have been living on the streets since last month without food and shelter,” she said.
In Esua’s case, his parents died from what has been described as a “strange ailment,” and afterwards, his uncles accused him of being a wizard, and blamed him for his parents’ death.
“My uncles told me that they went somewhere to find out why my parents died. They said they were told that I killed both of them through witchcraft. They tied my hands and started beating me up with native sugarcane and asked me to confess.
When I insisted that I knew nothing about the death of my parents, they took me to a bush, where I met Odiong. Both of us have been living on the streets since then,” he said.
Both children were reportedly rescued from the streets by volunteers from African Children Aid Education and Development Foundation.
They are currently at University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, where they are receiving treatment.
Photo Credit: Punch/Etim Ekpimah