Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Saturday, 4 June 2005 11:16 UK

Abuser speaks of witch belief

Sita Kisanga wearing orange headscarf
Sita Kisanga was one of three people convicted over the abuse
Sita Kisanga was one of three people convicted at the Old Bailey on Friday on child cruelty charges, after an eight-year-old African girl accused of being a witch was tortured in East London.

The case has raised fears that many more children could also be suffering beatings or may even have been killed if accused of witchcraft.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Kisanga said she tried to prevent the abuse, but insisted the girl contained an evil spirit, know as kindoki.

We were living really good. Then it came to one occasion I heard that the child was crying. I thought she was alone in the room and then I saw her auntie beating her with a belt.

I was really surprised and I said 'what is the problem?' and she said to me 'Sita, this child is talking about serious things, things relating to witchcraft'.

Kindoki is something you have to be scared of because in our culture kindoki can kill you and destroy your life completely
She started to explain that the girl goes to Africa in the night-time to do bad things.

I know that it is not easy for people to believe, but those people with a spiritual belief, they will know that what I am saying is true. There is the spiritual world and the material world.

She [the aunt] was beating her like that because she believes in witchcraft, kindoki. She really deeply believed it.

'Kindoki'

The pastor confirmed that she had kindoki. The only advice that he gave us was that she had to attend the church and she had to go through prayer and deliverance.

He is the leader of the church. He saw that the girl had kindoki, that's why he confirmed that the child had kindoki.

I told her to stop beating her. I told her in this country, beating a child is no good.

Met Police handout photo
The girl was beaten and put in a laundry bag in this East London flat
But she carried on beating the child when I was away at college.

I never did such things to her. It was her auntie who poisoned the child against me.

The auntie was telling the girl to mention my name, but I didn't do it. I would never be able to do things to someone's child.

She is her auntie, her step-mother who raised her. She was protecting her step-mother.

I'm not guilty. I said it to the police. I said everything to them, they don't believe me.

Trust

I didn't trust anyone [to come forward at the time] because no-one would believe me. Look at the problems I've got now. I've explained to them, but they don't believe me.

In our community, kindoki happens. It is killing people. It is doing bad things. It is a serious matter.

In our community in the UK everyone believes in it. In our country they believe in it too.

It is not easy for you to accept these things because you are from a different culture.

Kindoki is something you have to be scared of because in our culture kindoki can kill you and destroy your life completely.

Kindoki can make you barren. Sometimes kindoki can ruin you chances of staying in this country.

The authorities will arrest you and deport you and kindoki can be part of it.

I feel sorry for what's happened to the child. I'm not really feeling sorry for her though. She's not feeling sorry for me.

Kisanga said she did not think the pastor who saw the girl knew she was being beaten.



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Woman convicted in 'witchcraft' trial speaks out



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