Nigerian 'witch boy' makes astonishing recovery, seen playing football

Nigerian 'witch boy' makes astonishing recovery, seen playing football
PHOTO: Anja Ringgren Loven's Facebook

A two-year-old Nigerian boy, who was banished from his family after they labelled him a "witch", is now recovering well since being found emancipated on the streets.

Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven, who rescued Hope when he was found on the brink of death in January this year, posted photos on her Facebook page of the toddler kicking a ball on a field at a children's care centre in Nigeria.

In her Facebook post, she added the caption: "Watch out Messi, Hope is going to win over you in football".

Loven had found Hope in February. He was living on the streets naked for eight months and survived on scraps from passers-by, according to CNN.

When she found the boy, he was filled with worms and had to have daily blood transfusions to sustain him.

Loven said: "I thought I was going to see a bigger boy but when I saw he was the size of a little baby, my whole body froze.

"I became a mother myself 20 months ago and I was thinking of my own son when I saw Hope. Hope is like a son to me. Like the rest of our children I love him more than words can describe," she added.

on Facebook

Watch out Messi, Hope is going to win over you in football ⚽️😄💚🇳🇬

Posted by Anja Ringgren Lovén on Monday, 4 April 2016

Loven is the founder of African Children's Aid Education and Development Foundation, which she created to help children who have been "labelled as witches" and become neglected, tortured or even killed by members of their own community, according to The Independent.

On Feb 12, Loven posted an update on Hope after she rescued him, stating that he was gaining weight and becoming healthier.

On why his family banished him, Loven said: "In Hope's case, we have little information about his parents and why they accused him of witchcraft."

According to CNN, it is a criminal offence in Akwa Ibom state, where Hope was found, to label a child a witch but the practice persists. A report in Daily Mail in October last year stated that there were around 50,000 abandoned children living on the streets of Kinshasa, Congo, after being accused of witchcraft.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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