Sunday, May 25, 2008

Witches Burned to Death in Kenya, Arrests Made

11 elderly people were burned to death for witchcraft by a mob of angry Kenyans last week.

The OddBlog has been covering these stories since our inception, but the frequency of the attacks has risen in recent years, prompting a call to action by legal officials. The latest incident led to the arrest of 19 people. Authorities have been hesitant to condemn the attacks because the belief in witchcraft is so widespread in the area.

Eight men and three women, all between 80 and 96 years old, were singled-out by villagers as witches to be burned alive. The mob systematically dragged each individual from their home, burned them alive in the street, then set their home ablaze. Villagers claimed to have found a book containing the witches' minutes.

Police said that while all 19 people may not have been directly involved in the attacks, they incited them. While they will be charged with incitement, those found to be directly responsible for the burning deaths of the elderly will be charged with murder. The victims' families, fearing reprisal, have gone into hiding, but police are protecting everyone from revenge-motivated attacks and report the area "calm."

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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