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Friday, 6 April, 2001, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Ghana 'witch' sues village elders
Village market in Ghana
The woman was tried in the market place
An 80-year-old Ghanaian woman has filed a lawsuit against the elders of her village after they branded her a witch.

If she wins her case, she could help end a practice which sees dozens of women every year abused and sent into exile.

Janet Tibu is seeking damages from 12 men, including the village chief and a church minister.

Mrs Tibu was found guilty of casting a spell on a local herb doctor and condemning him to poverty and impotence.

The trial was held in a local market place in Peki-Avetile, in the Volta region and broadcast on a public address system.

Accuser

Giving evidence, the herbalist said there was never any money in his bank account, his crops were ruined by pestilence and patients were no longer coming to see him.

He said his son, who had confessed to being a wizard, claimed that Mrs Tibu was responsible.

Mrs Tibu was fined $6 (10 times the daily minimum wage), a pot of palm wine, four bottles of gin and two sheep.

Also, Mrs Tibu's children, who used to look after her, were banned from seeing her.

Mrs Tibu now says that her life has been ruined and her reputation is in tatters.

The chief and elders have denied the charges.

Accusations of witchcraft have destroyed the lives of many women in Ghana. One local charity has set up a camp in the country's Northern Region where old women accused of being witches now make their home.

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See also:

13 Oct 99 | Africa
Child witches in the Congo
22 Dec 99 | Africa
Congo witch-hunt's child victims
21 Mar 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ghana
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