Decapitated bodies have emerged in the Ivory Coast after a wave of child murders, with one suspect calmly telling the police God asked him to cut off children’s heads if he wanted to be made king.
Over the last couple of months, over 20 children have disappeared, with their mutilated bodies being discovered only recently. However, one suspect was arrested after he attempted to attack two boys while they were out fetching water from a well in the Yopougon suburb of Abidjan on January 25.
The incident took place in broad daylight, before witnesses who watched in horror as 38-year-old Drissa Coulibaly attacked 14-year-old Cedric and 10-year-old Souleymane with a machete.
Souleymane was traumatized even though he survived the attack, unlike many other children who have possibly fallen prey to similar attacks that been taking place in the Ivory Coast over the last few months.
“The man came out with a machete. I fell down. He started to hack at me,” said Souleymane.
Reportedly, Coulibaly attacked Souleymane first and then went after Cedric and that is when a soldier stationed at a neighbouring base caught notice of what was happening and chased the attacker away.
“I thought he had come to collect water,” said Cedric. “But he pulled out a machete. He tried to cut me up.”
As word of the incident spread, soldiers from the same base fanned out and managed to track down Coulibaly, who immediately confessed to at least three murders. Dressed in a red and white robe, Coulibaly looked filthy dirty as he introduced himself, saying for months he had been living on the streets.
“God told me to do this. God told me to cut off children's heads and bring them to him and then I would be made king,” he said from custody. “I told him that I didn't want to do this but he insisted.”
Coulibaly said he communicated with God through angels who appeared before him in the form of crows.
“Either he is very intelligent (and pretending to be mad) or he is very crazy,” one investigator said.
Cedric’s mother Daniele Kone, who was present at the time of Coulibaly’s interrogation, said, he appeared to be confident and not like a mad man. According to her, he has been staging such attacks for a long time.
“Fortunately, his machete was not well sharpened,” Corporal Habib Tito said after the search. “He was determined to get the two children. Had it not been for the presence of one of our men, the smallest boy would be dead.”
At least 20 children have gone missing over the last two or three months, with the police having lodged 25 unexplained cases of child abductions, followed by murders in different parts of the country. Police officials say the murder toll is shockingly high and the phenomenon is rather unusual.
According to Brindou M'Bia, the director general of national police, the recovered bodies were found mutilated with their genital parts missing or the bodies decapitated. Most locals believe the killings are part of some kind of ritualistic child sacrifice.
Stating how 1,500 police personnel and military troops have been mobilized to scout areas that have a high crime rate, M'Bia explained, “People are led to believe that through these crimes, they can gain power or money.”
Norbert Abekan, a preacher in Abidjan, recently said some religious people believe human sacrifices help make the world a better place.
First Lady Dominique Ouattara condemned the inhuman killings, saying nothing can justify them.
“It isn't right that parents should grow anxious each time their children go out of the front door of their houses,” she said.
Photo Credits: Pulse