Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: 'Arusha Children Seem Possessed'

Arusha — WHETHER he is real or just an object of religious fantasy or nightmare, the devil certainly had been busy around Arusha in 2012, haunting mostly local children here.

At least, a number of alleged supernatural occurrences, believed to have been initiated by the 'King of Darkness' and inflicted onto local children here, made frequent appearance at the special Gender and Children department of the Regional Police Headquarters in Arusha.

Assistant Inspector, Maria Maswa, who coordinates the Gender Desk as well as rescue operations in cases affecting women and children, said here that at the moment many youngsters have been turning up at her office and fearlessly reporting issues that afflict them or their mates and neighbours.

"We have received, handled and solved more than 441 gender cases here throughout 2012 and most of these have been reported by the victims themselves signalling a growing awareness among members of the community," explained Assistant Inspector Maswa.

Among the reported cases filed at the special gender desk here include children being beaten and injured, others refused their right to education, early marriages, eloping with young girls, cases of women harassment and children being kept captives or starved, under various reasons.

Sexual harassments, sodomy, domestic violence and husbands (fathers), abandoning families were also common in 2012. 'Satan' also had a field day, wreaking havoc in the region throughout 2012; at least that is what a number of children have been claiming.

As far as the Police Inspector is concerned, other children and in fact some parents have been coming up with weird claims of boys or girls allegedly being possessed by evil spirits or the devil himself and these cases have been on the increase in 2012.

Some victims even swear to have seen the devil, a spirit (ghost) and other fantasized creatures of the underworld that either beat them, burn them or try to take them away from their homes. The Police department has been trying to provide help to children with counselling from experts sometimes even using religious leaders from well-established, mainstream denominations.

Apparently, child experts here accuse the mushrooming charismatic 'worship centres,' 'prayer groups' and other brainwashing set-ups which many children are forced to attend, have been taking great toll on the youngsters' sanity, instilling them with unfounded fears and hallucinations.

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