Friday, 26 August 2011

Christians Resist Child Sacrifices in Ethiopia

The cross protects from superstition. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Superstition can be fatal, at least in the Omo River area in Ethiopia. Although the government has prohibited the killing of little children, the elders of the Kara tribe still drown ”cursed” babies in the river invested with crocodiles since they believe that such children attract evil sprits to the area.

It does not take much to become cursed. If a baby is otherwise healthy but the top teeth come in before the lower ones, the child is mingi or cursed. Slightly deformed babies or those born out of wedlock are also cursed and end up as a crocodile’s dinner.

Government officials cannot prevent the killings because they only become crimes after a child has been sacrificed.

A group of Christians has begun resisting this age old tradition. They believe that the power of Jesus Christ is stronger than the power of mingi and they have set up an orphanage and also taken ”cursed” children into foster homes.

Traditional beliefs die hard since no one has questioned them. The mingi tradition reveals that the once popular idea of noble savage is a figment of the imagination. Only the power of the Gospel can break age-old taboos and set people free.


LaPlante, Matthew D. 2011. Ethiopia's River of Death. Christianity Today (17 August).