Six people arrested trafficking 25 children to Burkina Faso for ritual purposes

Six people including two women are in the grips of the Wa police for allegedly attempting to traffic some children to Burkina Faso for ritual purposes.

The suspects were arrested by the police in Upper West Regional capital, Wa upon a tip off.

Joy News’ correspondent Rafik Salaam reported that all the 25 children, who were being trafficked to Burkina Faso, had their heads completely shaved off.

But some residents are demanding for the release of the suspects saying there were going for an initiation rite, which is a common practice among the Lobi ethnic group in the region.

According to the Acting Public Relations Officer of Upper West Regional Police Command, ASP Edmund Nyamekye, the children between the ages of 6 and 15 years were spotted waiting to board a vehicle to cross over to Burkina Faso.

ASP Nyamekye said because of the ascendency of the incidence of child trafficking, they are treating the case very seriously.

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Rafiq Salaam said some young men stormed the police station where the suspects are being held to demand their release. They explain the trip to Burkina Faso is an age old practice where the children receive spiritual upliftment from the gods and come into the country with new names.

One of the men who stormed the police station explained to Joy News that preventing the children to cross over to Burkina Faso is an infringement on their fundamental human rights.

According to him, the practice of shaving the children’s head and taking them to Burkina Faso is part of their tradition. He stated “the Constitution even defends our culture” stressing that “they (children) are just going there as a sign of worship”.