A witch camp is a settlement where women suspected of being witches can flee for safety, usually in order to avoid being lynched by neighbours. Witch camps exist solely in Ghana, where there are at least six of them, housing a total of around 1000 women. Such camps can be found at Bonyasi, Gambaga, Gnani, Kpatinga, Kukuo and Naabuli, all in Northern Ghana. Some of the camps are thought to have been set up over 100 years ago.
Many women in such camps are widows and it is thought that relatives accused them of witchcraft in order to take control of their husbands' possessions. Many women also are mentally ill, a little understood problem in Ghana. In one camp in Gambaga, the women are given protection by the local chieftain and in return, pay him and work in his fields.
The Ghanaian government has announced that it intends to close the camps and educate the population regarding the fact that witches do not exist. In 2014 the Minister for Gender and Social Protection took initiatives to disband and re-integrate inmates of the Bonyasi witch camp located in Central Gonja District.
The Dagomba, Konkomba, and Mampurugu tribes have an especially strong belief in witchcraft. The Anti-Witchcraft Allegations Campaign Coalition-Ghana (AWACC-Ghana) has reported that the number of outcasts in witch camps is growing, and that food supplies are insufficient.
- "In Ghana, Witch Villages Offer Safe Haven From Superstition - Los Angeles Times". articles.latimes.com. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "Ghana witch camps: Widows' lives in exile". BBC. 1 September 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Ansah, Marian Efe (8 December 2014). "Bonyase witches’ camp shuts down on Dec. 15". Citifmonline. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Npong, Francis (2014). "Witch Camps of Ghana". Utne Reader (Winter): 48–49. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- "Ghana: the Witches of Gambaga". London: Yaba Badoe. 25 November 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
- Naatogmah, Abdul Karim (16 December 2014). "Gov’t disbands Bonyase witch camps". Citifmonline.com. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
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