Skeptic News: Angry throng burns down homes following witchcraft accusations

r-TANZANIA-WITCHCRAFT-large570From: The Examiner

On allAfrica, Merali Chawe writes that an angry throng, suspecting four families of witchcraft, burned four houses to the ground in the village of Ihahi in the Mbeya region of Tanzania on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The victims of the attack lost all of their livestock and property as a result. Ihahi villagers burned the homes in an effort to kick the four families out of the village permanently.

According to the son of one of the victims, Ramle Ibrahim, shortly before burning the homes of Sekilulumo, Mwampishi, Ramadhan Mhongole, Mohamed Mangea and his wife Pili Hamas, the angry crowd demanded that the accused leave the village and threatened them with machetes.

Ramadhani Hassan, the village Chairman, said the Ihahi villagers had accused the five victims of killing people by means of witchcraft. A month prior to the attack, police investigated and arrested the accused, only to later release them. When the five accused victims returned to the village, the Ihahi villagers were fearful and angry. Sekilulumo, Mwampishi, Ramadhan Mhongole, Mohamed Mangea and his wife Pili Hamas escaped with their lives, making it to the nearest police post where they requested police protection. Police have arrested two suspects in relation to Tuesday’s incident.

Crimes like this are not new or unusual in the Mbeya region of Tanzania. In an article in The Citizen, Jackson Numbi writes that on Jan. 13, locals in Kalungu village accused two men of witchcraft and proceeded to bury them alive. Following the death of Nongwa Hussein, who died on Jan. 12 after a long illness, Mizinara Matela and Ernest Molela were beaten and cast into a pit with the already deceased Hussein. Based on advice given by witchdoctors, the locals then decided to bury the two men alive so that their death could serve as a warning to other practitioners of sorcery.

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