Scores killed in Angola anti-sorcery rituals

About 50 people have died in Angola after being forced to drink an herbal potion to prove they were not sorcerers, police and local officials said on Thursday.

The deaths occurred between January and February near the central town of Camacupa, according to Luzia Filemone, a local councillor.

Speaking to the national radio broadcaster, she accused traditional healers of administering the deadly concoction.

“More than 50 victims were forced to drink this mysterious liquid which, according to traditional healers, proves whether or not a person practices witchcraft,” said Filemone.

Belief in witchcraft is still common in some rural communities, despite a strong opposition from the church in the predominantly Catholic former Portuguese colony.

The deaths were confirmed by police that said 50 people were killed.

“It’s a widespread practice to make people drink the supposed poison because of the belief in witchcraft,” provincial police spokesman Antonio Hossi told the broadcaster, warning cases were on the rise.

Angola does not have laws against witchcraft, leaving communities to deal with the issue as they see fit.

Allegations of sorcery are often settled by traditional healers, or “marabouts”, by having the accused ingest a toxic herbal drink called “Mbulungo”. Death is thought to prove guilt.


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