Suspected witches lynched in Gucha

July 28, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 28 – Two women were slashed to death Sunday for allegedly practicing sorcery in Gucha district.

The women, aged 35 and 40, were reportedly attacked when residents found them with a child they allegedly wanted to bewitch.

“We are told they had been spotted with a child who was naked, I don’t know why the mob concluded they (women) were out to harm the child,” An Assistant Commissioner of Police in Nyanza province, Michael Barasa said.

The women who are neighbours were dragged out of their houses and killed and their bodies left about 500 metres from their houses.

“They were in a very bad state, they were mutilated and could hardly be recognised,” Barasa told Capital News on telephone from the provincial headquarters in Kisumu.

Police later took the bodies to the Kisii district hospital mortuary.

No suspect had been arrested in connection with the murder by Monday morning, but police said they were following crucial leads.

“The public is always urged not to participate in lynching because a crime can not be solved by committing another crime,” the police officer said and added that the matter was being treated as a murder case.

He said those responsible would be arrested and arraigned in court to face murder charges.

The child they were found with was later taken to hospital for treatment.

Cases of sorcery suspects being lynched in the Province have been rampant, particularly in Kisii, Nyamira and Gucha districts.

In May this year, 19 elderly men and women were burnt on suspicion of being witches.

This occurred in Matembe, Ngokoro and Marani divisions of Nyamira district.

Many of them were burnt or hacked to death and 120 houses of people linked to witchcraft burnt.

Police linked the incident to the Sungu Sungu vigilante group.

Over 200 suspects were arrested at the time but only a few were taken to court where they faced murder, arson and incitement to violence charges.


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