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'Child sacrifices in London'
By Richard Edwards Crime Reporter, Evening Standard
16 June 2005
African boys are being murdered as human sacrifices in London churches, according to a shocking Scotland Yard report.
The Met has uncovered a trade in black boys being trafficked into the capital.
A number of fundamentalist sects believe powerful spells require the ritual killing of male children.
The leaked report also reveals countless examples of African children being killed after being identified as "witches" by church pastors.
The 10-month study was commissioned in the wake of the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie. The study aimed to be an "open dialogue" with the African and Asian community in Newham and Hackney.
In discussions with African community leaders officers were told of numerous examples of children being murdered because their parents or carers believe them to be possessed by "evil spirits". Police are now investigating claims further.
Earlier this month two women were convicted at the Old Bailey of torturing an eight-year-old child they accused of being a witch.
The girl, an orphaned refugee from war-torn Angola, was stabbed, kicked, beaten, had chilli peppers rubbed in her eyes and was forced into a laundry bag and threatened with drowning in a nearby river.
Last month Scotland Yard revealed it had been unable to trace all but two of 300 black boys aged four to seven reported missing from London schools in a three-month period.
Child welfare experts say the number highlights the scale of the trade in children brought to Britain. The figure emerged through the murder inquiry following the discovery of a child's torso in the Thames in September 2001.
The identity of the victim, named "Adam" by police, is not known but his background was traced to Nigeria. It is believed he died in a ritual sacrifice. Detectives asked each London educat ion authority to give them details of black boys aged four to seven reported missing from school between July and September 2001.
It emerged that 300 had vanished, 299 from Africa and one from the Caribbean.
Police only managed to trace two children. The true figure for missing boys and girls is feared to be several thousand a year.
Scotland Yard's new report into child abuse report, leaked to the Today programme on Radio4, came after the death of Victoria ClimbiÃ©.
The eight year old was beaten, burned with cigarettes and forced to sleep in a bin liner inside an empty bath. She died in February 2000, suffering from hypothermia and malnutrition.
She had been brought to Britain by relatives claiming her as their daughter and was starved and traumatised after they said she was possessed by the devil.
Her plight was overlooked by police, social workers and medical staff and she died covered in bruises.
Her great aunt and her greataunt's boyfriend were convicted of her murder and were jailed for life at the Old Bailey.
A Met spokesman said: "The Met undertook a project based on recommendations arising from the Victoria ClimbiÃ© report aimed at improving our knowledge of issues impacting child abuse within the African and Asian communities of London.
"This initiative employed two Community Partnership Officers who conducted the survey over a ten-month period ending in March 2005.
Working in Newham and Hackney, the CPOs ran a number of workshops with various sections of these communities debating issues such as female genital mutilation, physical chastisement, forced marriage and faith-related child abuse.
"The aim of the project was to open a dialogue within these communities and encourage a debate which would help reduce the risks of harm to children.
"The recommendations in the report, due to be published later this month, are being carefully considered at the highest levels in the MPS in conjunction with partner agencies and community groups." The report concludes police face a "wall of silence" when dealing with the fundamentalist African community.