Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eleven elderly people accused of being witches have been burned to death by a mob in the west of Kenya

A security operation has been launched to hunt down villagers suspected of killing them in Kisii District. The area has witnessed similar attacks in the past when people suspected of engaging in witchcraft have been killed or ostracized. The eight women and three men were all aged between 80 and 96 years old. The mob dragged them out of their houses and burned them individually and then set their homes alight. Residents have been ambivalent about condemning the attacks because belief in witchcraft is widespread in the area. Villagers told reporters that they had evidence that the victims were witches. They say they found an exercise book at a local primary school that contained the minutes of a "witches' meeting" which detailed who was going to be bewitched next. The victim's families have gone into hiding, fearing for their lives.

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