Witch camp

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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.[1][2] Witch camps exist solely in Ghana, where there are at least six of them, housing a total of around 1000 women.[2] Such camps can be found at Bonyasi, Gambaga, Gnani, Kpatinga, Kukuo and Naabuli, all in Northern Ghana.[3] Some of the camps are thought to have been set up over 100 years ago.[2][4]

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.[2] Many women also are mentally ill, a little understood problem in Ghana.[2] In one camp in Gambaga, the women are given protection by the local chieftain and in return, pay him and work in his fields.[5]

The Ghanaian government has announced that it intends to close the camps and educate the population regarding the fact that witches do not exist.[2] 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.[6]

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.[4]

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  1. ^ "In Ghana, Witch Villages Offer Safe Haven From Superstition - Los Angeles Times". articles.latimes.com. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ghana witch camps: Widows' lives in exile". BBC. 1 September 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ Ansah, Marian Efe (8 December 2014). "Bonyase witches’ camp shuts down on Dec. 15". Citifmonline. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Npong, Francis (2014). "Witch Camps of Ghana". Utne Reader (Winter): 48–49. Retrieved 10 January 2015.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "npong" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Ghana: the Witches of Gambaga". London: Yaba Badoe. 25 November 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ Naatogmah, Abdul Karim (16 December 2014). "Gov’t disbands Bonyase witch camps". Citifmonline.com. Retrieved April 1, 2015.