A famous healer in Burkina Faso, prosecuted for "assault" on a patient and whose escape with the help of soldiers had aroused anger and indignation, was sentenced Wednesday evening to three years in prison.
Amsétou Nikièma - known as Adja - and her co-defendants appeared before the Ouagadougou high court for "forcible confinement, assault, and battery and complicity".
At the end of a long day of the hearing, the court found her "guilty" of "complicity in assault and battery", sentencing her to three years in prison and the payment of a fine of one million CFA francs (1,500 euros), all accompanied by a suspended sentence.
The prosecutor had requested two years' imprisonment against her, including one year, and a fine of three million CFA francs (4,500 euros). At the bar, Adja pleaded not guilty before asking "forgiveness" for the abuse inflicted by her collaborators - without her knowledge according to her - to one of her followers.
“All I can say is ask for forgiveness from the prosecutor and everyone, my mission is to heal and not to punish,” she said. The victim of the beating and kidnapping, Hamidou Kanazoé, refused to become a civil party, affirming that the matter had been settled amicably between the different families.
Eight Adja collaborators, who admitted the facts, were sentenced to 48 months in prison and a fine of 500,000 CFA francs (750 euros), all suspended.
In turn, they cleared the healer, declaring that they had acted on their own initiative, without "any order" from Adja. “When she learned that we had beaten one of her patients, she got angry with us and fired us,” said one of the accused, Adama Barry.
Amsétou Nikiéma was arrested after the broadcast on July 26 on social networks of a video showing a fifty-year-old tortured by individuals claiming to be her in Komsilga, near Ouagadougou.
Waiting to be placed in preventive detention, she managed to escape thanks to the military. "While the defendants were awaiting their transfer to their place of detention", the court was surrounded by armed soldiers, who "came to demand" that Adja be handed over to them, which was done, then indicated the attorney general of the Burkina, Laurent Poda.
She was then imprisoned at her request in the Ouagadougou army remand center rather than in the civil prison, for “security reasons”.
Adja attracts thousands of followers for healing sessions for victims of “evil spirits” and her reputation has continued to grow, just three years after her first session.