Back away from the Mazda, goat-sorcerer!
January 23, 2009 2 Comments
This may LOOK like an innocent, humble goat to you.
But that’s because you aren’t privy to the sorcery-detection abilities of Nigerian vigilantes!
This is a story that’s rapidly making its way through the wacky news pipeline – we received it via link from Gchat buddy J. Ho. It’s pretty damn hilarious:
Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.
“The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat,” Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.
“We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat,” he said.
Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Residents came to the police station to see the goat, photographed in one national newspaper on its knees next to a pile of straw.
To really get the bottom line, we tracked down the original article from Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper:
Police Parade Goat as Robbery Suspect
Written by Demola Akinyemi
It was a shocking sight yesterday as men of the Kwara State Police Command paraded a goat as an armed robbery suspect.
The goat “suspect” is being detained over an alleged attempt to snatch a Mazda car. The mysterious goat, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tunde Mohammed, while briefing bewildered journalists at the Force headquarters, is an armed robber who attempted to snatch the said car, Wednesday night, and later transformed into the goat in a bid to escape arrest.
He explained that men of a vigilance group in Anifowose Ipata/Oloje areas of the state capital had chased two armed robbery suspects who wanted to demobilise the Mazda car with the intention of stealing it, and “while one of them escaped, the other was about to be apprehended by the team when he turned his back on the wall and turned to this goat. They quickly grabbed the goat and here it is.’’ Mohammed said.
The police spokesman said the goat “armed robbery suspect” will not be left off the hook until investigations into the case are concluded.
He also said that no fewer than five stolen vehicles have been recovered by the state Police Command while some suspects were also arrested. Among those arrested, he said was one Idowu Oni of Araromi area of Akure who escaped from Akure Prison.
He added that the escaped convict was arrested in Ilorin after stealing a Mazda 323 car belonging to Mrs. Henrietta Ayijesu.
He also said another armed robbery and rape suspect was in their custody, assuring that the suspects will soon appear in court.
Ten bucks says those “suspects” are a baboon and a llama.
Mazda 323: Common quarry of goat-sorcerer-thieves.
The BBC took a step back, in an attempt to figure out how on earth Nigerian police actually held a press conference to brag about arresting a goat.
The belief in witchcraft and the power to change shapes is common in Nigeria.
Police reform activists have condemned the “arrest”, saying it highlights the low education levels of many Nigerian police officers.
Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper has a picture of the goat and reports that police paraded it in front of journalists in the Kwara state capital Ilorin on Thursday.
The BBC’s Andrew Walker in Abuja says communities often rely on ill-educated and badly prepared vigilante squads to fill the gaps where the police will not patrol at night.
Innocent Chukwuma of the justice reform group the Cleen Foundation, told the BBC that many Nigerian police officers were poorly educated.
“There are officers who don’t even have a secondary school education, and the police have a big job to do in finding these people and getting rid of them.”
He said in the past political leaders had allowed the police to be filled with incompetent and in some cases criminal officers so they could be easily bought to protect their own criminal activities.
Police have also been unable to stop vigilante squads from lynching suspects before they could investigate, he said.