Other people’s lives – encountering pirates and witches in West Africa

My friend Lynn is currently in West Africa.

A couple of days ago, I posted a blog based on something she encountered in Côte d’Ivoire – aka the Ivory Coast.

In fact, she had sent me a previous message last week, but I did not want to post it while she was in a particular area. The message she sent from a ship read:


“…renowned for their ill-treatment and torture of victims”

They are seriously worried about pirates. I kid you not. Security burst into our room last night as they thought we had left a window open.

Open deck areas are all closed off and all curtains drawn so no lights are showing. 

The Gulf of Guinea is where the pirates operate.

They took nearly a hundred hostages last year that are known of (many ransoms being paid secretly) and are renowned for their ill-treatment and torture of victims. They largely target oil tankers by capturing workers sailing with supplies for the tankers.

The instructions if there is an attack are mainly to go into a corridor and lie on the floor as the ship will perform “a zig-zag navigation… if the pirates succeed to board the vessel, do not panic and do as they say.” 

In fact, the instructions for Military Forces boarding are panic-inducing: “Stay low to the floor and cover heads with both hands. On no account should anybody make movements which could be misinterpreted as being aggressive.”


Lynn and her husband Frank are currently in Côte d’Ivoire – the Ivory Coast… She writes:


How to spot Ivory Coast witch

I may regard political correctness as an evil perpetrated by my generation but… I was just making conversation with a well-spoken, fashionably-dressed young guide after seeing witch costumes and getting a history lesson:

“So how do you deal with witches now?” I asked.

His immediate reply in a matter-of-fact tone was: “We kill them.”

“What happens,” I asked, “if you hand them over to the authorities instead?”

“They kill them.”

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Filed under pirates, West Africa, witches

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