Burned at the Stake After Being Accused of Witchcraft April 19, 2009

Burned at the Stake After Being Accused of Witchcraft

I can’t believe this sort of thing still goes on in this day and age.

The best description I can find of the video below says: five people suspected of witchcraft were brutally murdered — burned alive — in Nyamataro, a village in Kisii, Kenya.

The victims are the elderly (over 80) and four of the five are women.

You can see victims trying to get out of the ditch only to be pushed back in. Some victims are just kicked around. Others are beaten with a stick.

It’s the worst of human nature. To paraphrase Voltaire, when people believe absurdities, they can commit atrocities. This is a perfect example.

It’s senseless murder. Rational people know these victims are not witches capable of inflicting curses or anything of the sort.

It’s definitely graphic and NSFW. Don’t watch it if you get queasy easily:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chas

    I’m completely stunned and saddened.

  • bigjohn756

    I didn’t watch it because I get queasy easily; I didn’t watch it because I get angry easily. I get angry at extremely stupid activities performed by idiotlogical dogmatists.

  • I won’t watch the video, I don’t need to see the violence to be offended by it.

    In a similar vein, there was an item on a current affairs program last night about albinos being maimed and murdered in Africa to get their body parts to perform magic with. They mentioned how people would grab an albino child and just hack a limb off.

    You have to wonder how people could do such things!

  • I couldn’t finish it.

    People who say that the Bible is a perfect book should have to watch that.

  • Sean

    Just sick and sad – why was it filmed i wonder?

  • Adrian

    It’s one of the most horrific things I’ve ever seen, especially the cruelty or indifference of the bystanders. Those poor people.

    That this happens at all is hard to accept. That it should happen in the 21st century and for witchcraft, frigging witchcraft is almost inconceivable.

    Another reminder that the civility and rationality we see around us is a fragile thing.

  • Jeremy W

    I didn’t get past 30 seconds.

    i cried and covered my mouth.


  • NewDark

    Wow, I watched through the whole thing, utterly appalling. It is hard to believe this kind of thing can continue to go on. Thankfully though, it would seem something like this is more of an oddity than standard procedure like it was back in the day.

    And towards sean’s comment… I wouldn’t ask quite so much why (maybe a big event among their people or something), but at least this atrocity can see the light of day, where hopefully people can learn from such a mistake of humanity.

  • jemand

    I have heard this is a way to get rid of widows when the family doesn’t want to feed them anymore. This is how most “witchcraft” accusations begin. It’s truly barbaric.

  • I have a hard time thinking of the people who are doing this as human.

    But then again, our country got caught torturing. Fear and superstition are a deadly combination.

  • Exodus 22:18 has always been a convenient way to get rid of people who are a little different or a different political/tribal/family group.

  • Justin jm

    Wow, I watched through the whole thing, utterly appalling. It is hard to believe this kind of thing can continue to go on. Thankfully though, it would seem something like this is more of an oddity than standard procedure like it was back in the day.

    I wouldn’t assume that it’s rare. This article


    indicates that this sort of thing is common.

  • Skepticat

    I am shattered.

  • P

    I’m fucking speechless.
    I kept wondering what must be going on in that poor man’s head as he sits there, resigned to the fire for crimes he didn’t commit.
    Where is the justice in this? How can we do this to ourselves?
    More importantly, when will this end?

  • Tom

    This has less to do with ideology than ignorance, depravity and suffering. Witchcraft is merely an excuse to justify anger and vengeance towards the pitiful conditions into which these people where born. Going to these people, speaking of irrationality and fallacious thinking, would be largely futile. What these people really need is a better standard of living. Then you can start demanding rational thought.

    You will not address their rational needs until their nonrational needs are met first

  • This is just sick and wrong.

    I didn’t watch the video though. Out of curiosity, does it specify whether the perpetrators of this were Christians or animists?

  • Troll

    It doesn’t specify.

  • Siamang


    I didn’t watch the video either, but the Guardian article that Justin links to above puts the blame squarely on a huge new growth in evangelical Christian churches in Nigeria.

    Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by ‘deliverances’ – exorcisms – for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it’s a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

    But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children – naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

    Some parents scrape together sums needed to pay for a deliverance – sometimes as much as three or four months’ salary for the average working man – although the pastor will explain that the witch might return and a second deliverance will be needed. Even if the parent wants to keep the child, their neighbours may attack it in the street.

    I remember an argument I had with someone on Ebay atheist I think. Their position was IIRC that Christianity would prove a socially calming force within the places in the world it had spread to. He reasoned this because America is mostly Christian, and mostly calm socially.

    I argued that this would NOT be the case. Because, I argued, Christianity isn’t the same everywhere in the world. I argued that a strife-torn country where the residents turned to Christianity would be a strife-torn Christian country.

    My working understanding was that Christianity by itself (or maybe not at all) is not more responsible for social harmony than education, health care, civil justice etc, and those DO NOT flow automagically from the Bible.

  • Jon

    This is the sort of thing that makes the “But if you don’t believe in a God, where do you get your morals from?” argument go from laughable to just sad.

  • Revyloution

    Truly barbaric. But thats humans. Reading histories, I think this is closer to our animal nature than the altruism that most atheists espouse.

    To horribly misquote Heinlin, any nation that ‘aint goin to war no more’ is doomed to failure.

    I worry that most people who support modern atheism just look at that atrocity and feel ill. Or feel shame. Or feel impotent anger.

    I felt the urge to check my arsenal. If anyone tried that kind of insanity near me, I would put a bullet in every one there, or die trying.

  • Flawedprefect

    We need to do something. Anything.

  • Jason

    Stupid fucking broken people.

  • I wonder if Mrs. Palin knows these folks….she had that witchhunter bless her.

    Clearly Rick Warren surely supports these folks too.

    Oh no, Warren – Palin 2010?


  • polomint38

    The people standing around, some will disagree with this crap but are forced to watch it, as they would end up on the fire themselves if they stand up to this crap.

    You can not argue with irrationality.

  • Southsaxon

    Unfortuneatly this is Africa. its all part of the c.ulture. What is needed is a massive push to educate the masses. Then maybe we can see a change in the culture that lets people beleive this sort of thing is true

  • I find myself uncomfortably numb. Appalling, just appalling.

  • I wonder where the demons went after they were cast out with the fire. Probably into pigs. Unchecked irrationality mixed with power is a very dangerous thing.

  • James Koran

    Some of the most well-off and learned people in the world have done this and worse throughout history. What a shame!

  • Jen

    I am not going to watch. I can’t stand it. But I will point out that while I certainly don’t think this is acceptable behavior, I can’t other these people. They may live in a “primitive” place- but we are just as violent. Having religious justification doesn’t make it better or worse than for material things or because of a surge of passion. Let’s pull that log out of our own eye….

  • Todd

    How do you even attempt to educate people like that? Without getting thrown in too? If I knew, I’d love to give it a shot.

    Absolutely stunning.

  • Siamang

    If you’re trying to educate them at the same moment that they’re throwing people in the fire, I think it might be too late. You’ve crossed that event horizon.

    I think these incidents begin to make Sam Harris’ case for him. That yes, the seeds for the problem are in the holy book, the holy book excuses the problem. As Jeff says above, even Jesus personally performs exorcisms in the Bible.

    The very notion of “demons” has but one purpose socially… and that’s as a tool to set another human being to a status below that of the rest of humanity. To demonize someone is to literally define them below the threshold of human existence, and therefore outside of the protections we grant our fellow peaceable neighbors.

    For years I thought Sam Harris was far off the mark blaming moderates for enabling the work of extremists. I still think he puts his case badly.

    But I am beginning to think that there is a case to be made here. Feeding irrationality with more irrationality is like giving a man dying of thirst rum instead of water.

  • anonymouse

    “Unfortuneatly this is Africa. its all part of the c.ulture. What is needed is a massive push to educate the masses. Then maybe we can see a change in the culture that lets people beleive this sort of thing is true”

    This is bordering on racist, if not crossing over. Are you aware that Africa is a huge continent that has many self-governing countries? You can’t say something is the “culture” of an entire continent.

  • Randy

    “This is bordering on racist, if not crossing over”

    First, if your going to call someone a racist put your name beghind the accusation.

    Second, pick up a cultural geography book (or just watch the news) and see this type of belief spans numerous countries in Africa.

    Nothing racist about it.

  • Randy

    Didnt catch the “edit”

    While internet sites (except this one of course)can be misleading, I found this interesting in regards to the above.


  • Brian A

    I watched the whole thing and can’t believe the fucking cruelty of the people who would do something like this. What kind of bullshit must one believe in to commit such a horrendous act on another human being?

    “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg

  • Bubba

    Well, the discussion surrounding this video here certainly fosters an us v them mentality b/w the ‘rational’ athiest and the immoral believer (in deed often equating, unapologetically, all moderate theists with the actions of this group of people). The idea that tribal cultural/religious practices and, say, Quakerism or the Buddhist notion of nirvana could be lumped together and judged categorically is as irrational as anything you all would attribute to these ‘dims’. There are real problems, inequalities, and violent institutions in the world which transcend atheism/theism debates. Hopefully we can one day over come such hang-ups in order to one day live in a world that truly embraces diversity rather than enforcing ever-newfangled normativity.

  • This is truly sick and is why we need to encourage people to see the reality of their religious beliefs and the serious damage and harm they are responsible for.

  • Siamang


    As long as the newfangled normativity is an improvement on literally burning people at the stake, I’ll take that over “diversity” any day of the week.

    If you gloss over the part where people are murdering each other over religion, then yeah, we look like a bunch of intolerant assholes. Silly us, caring about human rights!

    You intone disapproval, but I am having a hard time understanding your exact point. Are you really coming here to wag your finger at us dirty atheists for shamefully disapproving of witch hunts and asserting that irrationality is at least partially to blame?

    There are real problems, inequalities, and violent institutions in the world which transcend atheism/theism debates.

    Agreed. But religion is a power multiplier and a radicalizing force in these same problem areas. What say we work on taking away the accelerant factor religion has on violence?

    “Hopefully we can one day over come such hang-ups”

    I propose we stop hoping and start working to overcome irrationality.

  • Einmaliger

    Yesterday I watched the first 30 seconds of this video, and now I still feel sick. Apparently, LiveLeak is the new Ogrish.

  • I’ve seen quite a bit of gore in my day – used to work ER at a Level 1 trauma center. It doesn’t compare to that video. Absolutely disgusting. Made me nauseous.

  • I really wish I could say this is the worst thing I have ever seen, but it is beaten (if that’s even the right word for it) by a man having his throat cut by Muslim terrorists before his head was fully decapitated.

    I also wish I had never watched either of these as they haunt my dreams.

  • Something just has to be done about this. It is incredible that anyone would have to go through this for a crime they didn’t even commit.

  • Jujukalaba

    Jesus Christ. This is the most terrible thing I have ever watched in my life time. These fricking criminals should be traced, arrested and taken to the Internation Criminal tribunal for crime against humanity. This is murder short and simple. How the hell are they going to sleep after commiting such a terrible crime? This is unbelievable. This cannot be happening in Africa. GOD BLESS AND FORGIVE OUR SINS AND TRANSGRESSIONS FOR WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING.

  • Iceviking

    Ok, here is a problem. Why do we have to give money to poor stupid people like that!

    Heres the deal, bomb them and biult a new land.
    I hate it when i see such cruelty and my only answear to this is to go in the village swipe them out and open a a Mcdonalds and big malls!

    Who the hell needs people like this!

  • C

    Oh my goodness. That’s completely unacceptable. If you don’t agree with what someone else believes then you look the other way. You don’t burn them alive.

    People are so cruel. 🙁

  • just repulsively horrifying.

    some perspective: one has to wonder, given the size of the crowd, if the victims themselves were never on the other side of the blows and branches when they were young and able and mad with the same ignorance and superstitions.

    this occurred to me by considering how the non-prophets’ misanthrope-in-residence, shilling, would have responded. i must say, it’s done me some small favor, to think that it could be just desserts. of course if this is the first time this community’s ever burnt anyone alive then my point is moot.

  • i can not belive this. it was so sad so so so EVIL no other word for it whats this world coming to!

  • Linda K. Langlois

    While it is not now as common (but more common that we think) to do this to humans, it is VERY common to commit these atrocities on animals – even in the United States.

  • Mervyn

    this is madness!!!! cant believe ppl r still into these things….

  • roy

    my hasnt the world moved on and improved since the salem witch trials in 1692.NOT!!!

  • I don’t blame religion for this matter, Who I do blame are individuals who carry out there evil nature to use to their advantage. Religion can be the blame and it is sad that the people will use the bible to justify their own twisted principles.

    You really can’t blame religion for this, blame man for this. Man alone is responsible for their own actions. Putting blame on them with religion is far to ignorant.


    You have this happening in ALLLLL relgions, not just christianity and what is in realtions to christianity. It really saddens me when atheists try to use this video as a tool to put down one particualar relgion.

    I’m not religoius myself or a christian for that much, but if your going to target christians for this, then I would feel it would be fair to target all religions that use violence with their beliefs.

  • Wallace

    That is just plain sick. Couldn’t watch the whole thing.

    Danny: I must say, this is not what Christianity is truly about. If we read what Christ taught, this is the exact opposite. People are idiots. Plain and simple. Their actions don’t always match up with what they “claim” to follow.

  • Wallace


    I agree completely. If we are going to use such videos/stories as tools to accuse a certain religion then we should also consider the good that also comes from many Christians and people from other faiths. We have to be fair and view both sides, the good and the bad.

    If I can use the above video to “prove” that Christianity is “evil” then I can use the many examples of good to prove that it’s “good.”

  • kenya is where ayaan hirsi ali is from

  • WitchyWoman

    being a Witch myself, this makes my stomach turn. and after reading some of the comments below, people saying “It is incredible that anyone would have to go through this for a crime they didn’t even commit.”

    Witchcraft is NOT in any shape or form a CRIME. it makes me sick that someone would even think it is.

    The world has had 317 goddamn years to realize what these witch burnings have done. have people not researched ANYTHING in 317 years?? do people not know that those witch burning back in Salem were WRONG? that these people were actually practicing a religion that was about worship nature and believing in karma? that these Witches were once looked upon as HEALERS??

    absolutely sickening.

  • The depth of darkness in the human mind is unimaginable
    Twice have i seen crimes commited that saddened me this much
    1. the lynching of emmit smith(african american)
    2. this video with these barbaric kenyans killing each other.

    Man left to himself is capable of horrible things.

  • Christine

    Humans can be such filth. Torturing people to death… couldn´t watch the video. This should be stopped NOW! Government of that land must be urged to act NOW!

  • It just goes to show how far ignorance can turn into atrocities.

    This kind of execution and brutality was understandable back in the medieval days because they didnt know anything.

    But now, doing this just seems so wrong. Religious fanatics can do so much damage in a very conventional world.


  • Facethereality1

    This is awful so sad to watch.

    pure evil ba***ds out there.

    what is this world coming up to?????

  • jesse

    why the fuck was this recorded? if you can stand there and film somthing like this and do nothing to try and save them people then your a fucked up person! whoever is responsible for this film should be burnt so they can feel the pain while we watch!

  • Tae

    I could not disagree with Jesse more. Congratulations to the photographer for getting this out and not risking his own life by doing anything stupid. Because he restraind himself, herself, we will continue to get information and more and more people will know the horror that goes on. One person is not going to change the situation and that is a reality. But the more people he or she can touch with this film, the quicker some sort of social pressure can be arranged to stop all the burnings, all the torture, and all the deaths. One person will not make a change and the person that tries will probably be burned as well by the ignorant masses.

    As for the Gaystheist, are you not aware that hate crimes against gays are peaking.

  • Carmen

    I feel like one of those victims whenever I read what most mainstream and Ivy League medical scientists say about homeopathy. Homeopathy has saved my life–or I would’ve become an invalid like my father. It makes my whole family (pets too!) healthy without any vaccines or antibiotics for the last 7 years. We’ve handled flu and typical infections (like sinus) much quicker with homeopathic treatment than the prior 30 years of conventional options (OTC or prescription)…Nevertheless, a typical PhD in biology would shoot me for saying that homeopathy works.

    Are we really that more evolved than those in the video? The murderous intent against those in the minority is pretty clear to me.

  • Sad to say this but as long as humans are here we keep doing this kinds of things to one another.

    Humans have the tendency to favor it’s own race, no one seems to care too much when this is done to animals…

    The video was cruel indeed but had no comparison to the one i did see from china where they tore fur off from a living animal.

    Just so that someone can buy cheap teddybears and toys in welfare state countries.

  • Rhema247

    I have been scarred for life in my soul! How can there still be such horrendous cruelty to poor old folks.
    This MUST stop! Where is the Kenyan government?

  • Catsy

    I can’t believe they were still alive after being burnt…
    That’s the most horrible thing I’ve seen.

  • the Buddhist Swastika

    What is really going on here, is that these sorry SOBs don’t want to take care of their old, and so accuse them of being witches and just kill them off, they do the same to unwanted children. They use their religion to justify the murders. Makes me want to go to Nigeria and set up Buddhist Missionary work, and exorcise all the Christianity from there.

  • Steve

    The thing is that you can’t lay all this on the doorstep of Christianity. Christian Missionaries went to countries like this to persuade the natives to turn from these inhuman practices. Instead what happens is that instead of exchanging their old traditions, practices, and superstitions for the more peaceful Christian practice, they instead fuse elements of Christianity with their old brutal tribal practises into some weird amalgamation of both.

    My Aunt saw the same thing in PNG when Christian Missionaries went to convert the headhunters to Christianity. When she was there the Headhunters changed things a little bit by saying, “Jesus loves you.” before stabbing you with a spear.

  • Urodele5722

    …or throw them in a fire??

  • Karianne

    In case you didn’t know, Christians have been burning people for centuries…look at Queen Mary I for example; in her five years on the throne, she had over three hundred people burnt at the stake for refusing to convert to Catholicism. I’m not dissing Christians, I am one, but I just want to show that for the record, it was not just “barbarians” that practiced such things.  

  • im so happy nignog burnt

    great stuff , light up the barbi , want some shrimp with that …lol hahahahahahahahahahahahaha witches fucking burn 

  • im a nigerian

    burn mother fucker burn ….la la lal la lalalalalalala hahahahahah fucking burn you black bitches , fucking witches must fucking burn …. lallalalalalalalalalalalala  … but there failing to see the real problem , dirty black men who fail to raise there kids ..

  • CS

    This video is extremely cruel, even more than another one i watched a few years ago which was showing a live hanging in Iran for three rapers…  I got more sick watching this one.

  • Phyllo65

    Well guess what…Christians have moved on from comitting these acts of ANIMAL cruelty. The blacks continue to this day. When the great cathedrals were being built in Rome,the blacks were living in huts made of mud and straw. You CANNOT teach an animal with an IQ as low as 85 how to behave. They will simply return to their savage ways!

  • Anonymous

    You folks do realize that WITCHCRAFT in African terms means MUTI MURDERS?
    MUTI is an African witchcraft religion wherein the belief that devouring of human body parts grants strength and supernatural powers to the cannibal.

    The mass-serial-killer and cannibal Charles Taylor (cannibals such as his son, his generals, his entire Liberian army) were members of the Poro Society, an ancient West African cult of
    demon-worshippers, Charles Taylor believed that eating the organs of his enemies
    gave him their strength.

    Cannibalism religions are very popular in African nations because the black populace are genetically-psychopathic (cannot feel empathy for anyone, prone to spontaneous irrational violence, lack intellect to sustain a society).  I figure that these “Witches” were just eating the people that the other black cannibals of a differing black-psychopathic cannibalistic-delusion-religion wanted to eat.  Just two gangs of rabid bloodthirsty fake humans killing each other over a choice piece of fresh bloody human victim flesh.

    There’s plenty more names for African mass-cannibalism religions, here are just a few.
    GOOGLE [ Muti Murders ]
    GOOGLE [ Poro Society ] (adding in the word “Taylor” will get you the unsanitized truths)

    GOOGLE[ “Quixilla Laws” ] (must have quotes)
    Imbangala maintained their numbers by capturing adolescents and
    forcing them to serve in their cannibal army. Captives were often forced
    to kill and eat people, consumed considerable amounts of alcohol,
    & could not be admitted to full membership until they had killed an
    enemy in combat. Cannibalism, ritual human sacrifice and torture were
    the Imbangala “quixilla laws”. Later known as the African nation of
    Angola.GOOGLE [ Gboyo ]Under the practice known as ‘Gboyo’, there is a
    belief that human body parts extracted and eaten while the victim is
    still alive bestows power and affluence.

    Charles Taylor and his militia brought international prominence to Gboyo
    practices during Liberia’s brutal civil war in the 1990s.

    “Power is in the blood, and most people use the blood. The medicine men
    would help you do that to extract the power. So the people in town
    were seen as prey, to be taken and carried away,” Mawolo says.

  • Azpete

    I watched the video, and it was truly shocking and sickening. It’s hard to believe that prople can do such things, but they did so in Europe until the 18th century. For the most part, civilization has moved beyond such atrocities, but they remain in less civilized portions of the world.

  • Tommyga1

    rip-roaringly funny!

  • yeah Isn’t religion grand? jeepers thank you jesus.
    I always bring these horrendous killings by Christians to other Christians that refute that people are still being killed for being witches today.

  • really Justin? even just one person is too much, this proves that religion needs to be banned or straight outlawed. it is harmful to humanity. i know I’ll get blasted for saying it should be outlawed or banned. You can’t stop people from believing in gods and that’f fine but people need to be educated and threw this type of education religion can be eradicated from the planet. But first we need to get rid of capitalism.

  • Engmaroc

    so bad video, really i feel angry…. why people still have this thoughts….. there is no god. there is no Jesus, if really there is a god why he ask us to kill each other……. f*** people, animals are better…..

  • Cerebralatrophy

     who knows who filmed this! besides: what would YOU do if  like 50 ppl would burn 3 others and no one would support you? the least you could do would be to show the world, whats going on, right?

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