500 'witches' lynched yearly in Tanzania

2012-05-29 21:42

Arusha - About 3 000 people suspected of witchcraft, mainly old women, were lynched in Tanzania from 2005 to 2011, a leading local rights group said on Tuesday.

"Between 2005 and 2011 around 3 000 people were lynched by frightened neighbours who thought they were witches," the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) said in a report.

"On average 500 people... particularly old women with red eyes, are killed every year in Tanzania because they are suspected of being witches," the report said.

The provinces hardest hit are Mwanza and Shinyanga in the north of the country, LHRC said.

"In Shinyanga province for example 242 people were killed because of local beliefs in witchcraft between January 2010 and January 2011 alone," it said.

The rights group explained that red eyes are feared as a sign of witchcraft, even if they in fact often result from the use of cow dung as cooking fuel in impoverished communities.

The centre said that many local people believe that witchcraft is behind every misfortune from infertility and poverty to failure in business, famine and earthquakes.

  • Crracker - 2012-05-29 22:47

    Must the obvious be stated? How many of the so-called witches were actually believers in what the rest of us would regard as true religion according to our understanding of the term and scripture? Religion at work, no doubt. Which god and which religion? Which is the REAL one?

      zaatheist - 2012-05-30 04:27

      Agreed. All this contemptible superstition and nonsense has a religious origin.

      Valecia - 2012-05-30 08:47

      Why do url always have to pick about god and religion this article doesn't say anytn abt that,they are talking abt woman being accused of being witches.

  • Abshai Ndlovu - 2012-05-30 05:38

    That's madness!

      Harold - 2012-05-30 10:36

      @Abshai Ndlovo this is African culture and it is disrespectful to all Africans for you to call this madness. Culture ensures that witches do not use their evil powers to do harm to the community and culture requires these evil spirits to be removed from the community. It is a kind of censorship and ensures that a permanent ban is imposed on witchcraft.

  • Frank - 2012-05-30 08:15

    Crracker and zaatheist you guys are like trap door spiders that ponce on any article to try and trash Scripture,God,christains last time zaatheist got himself off on the speeding BM,s The article mentions nothing about Scripture, God, and Christians. Eish get a life you guys

      Valecia - 2012-05-30 08:49

      Exactly I agree with u frank.

  • bmaestro - 2012-05-30 08:31

    what the hell?

  • janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-05-30 08:59

    I do not think this is a Christian thing. But it does highlight how dangerous superstition can be. What we have here is another example of how superstitious convictions become *justified reasons* for murder. And that *should* be worrisome. The deeper question, which is fair to ask, is how does one belief in a literal Biblical narrative, and yet condemn this behaviour? The answer cannot be simple, because in this light you cannot *prove conclusively* that they weren't witches. All that you *can* claim is that science [and its inherent (objectionable?) trust in non-supernatural explanations] seems to show that these misfortunes can best be explained without *any* need for the supernatural. But, tragically, if you place belief above science, then what gauge have you to say that indeed in *this* particular case the science *was* right?

  • Buzz - 2012-05-30 09:10

    Why is it the closer you move to the equator, the less civilization appears to take hold ?

  • Harold - 2012-05-30 10:28

    It is also common for people in the Mwanza area to kill black people with albinism as witches It is impossible to find albinos in the Mwansa area. All these people are forced to go live far away from their families in Daresalaam which has a more liberal attitude to albinos. It is a sad situation and many albinos have been killed in the name of African culture.

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