Witchcraft Murder Round-up

The Bulldada News Blog mentions an article about two women who were killed for suspected witchcraft in Papua New Guinea. There’s quite a bit of this sort of thing going on, and not just in PNG. A few recent highlights:

  • In Nigeria, two brothers beheaded their mother, believing that she was magically responsible for a string of misfortunes in their lives. A son of one of the brothers was living in the same house; he was beheaded as well, presumably to keep him quiet.
  • The government of the South African province of Limpopo has created a special unit to investigate witchcraft, ritual murders, and “related activities.” Premiere Sello Moloto commented, “In the recent past, we have seen the escalation of these heinous acts of crime in an uncontrollable manner.”
  • Suspecting an 81-year-old Kenyan man of murdering his three grandsons by witchcraft (they were killed after falling into a collapsed septic tank), a gang of his fellow villagers beat him to death and set his body on fire.
  • Representatives of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Kenya, and the Council of Imams and Preaches of Kenya have condemned the killing of suspected witches. Bishop Julius Kalu stated, (and it’s hard to argue with this) “It is against the principle of peaceful co-existence to lynch someone for suspecting them of witchcraft.”
  • On the other hand, “scholars” from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (also in Kenya) are concerned that even though witchcraft is destroying the Catholic Church in Africa, the church continues “to dismiss the dark arts as mere superstition, thereby unwittingly assisting the devil.” Theologian Michael Katola wants priests to understand that they have the power to confront these evil powers . . . otherwise the Catholic Church will start losing members to evangelical movements that offer exorcisms.
  • In Kokrajhar, Assam, India, a man was arrested for beheading a housewife. After his arrest, he claimed that she had practiced witchcraft, and that two other men had participated in the murder.

It may be time to start translating The Crucible into a few more languages.