Mob Violence – This Just In

Reported today at CNN: “Mob burns to death 11 ‘witches, wizards'” in Nairobi, Kenya:

“Officials say a mob has burned to death 11 people suspected of being witches and wizards in western Kenya.  Deputy police spokesman Charles Owino says the mob hunted down the 8 women and 3 men in two villages in the western Kenya district of Kisii Central. Owino says most of the victims were between 70 years old and 90 years old. Only one of the victims was 40 years old.  Senior administrator Njoroge Ndirangu says … ‘These people identified who is to be killed by accusing their victims of bewitching their sons and daughters.'”

A BBC report on the attacks adds:

“The mob dragged them out of their houses and burned them individually and then set their homes alight, our correspondent says.

“Residents have been ambivalent about condemning the attacks because belief in witchcraft is widespread in the area….”

The International Herald Tribune put the size of the mob at “300 young men” and said that in some cases the victims’ throats were slit or they were clubbed to death before being burned.

One police officer, Mwaura Njoroge, questioned how the young men could prove someone was a wizard and suggested that “‘It is likely that the people who committed these killings had personal vendettas against their victims.'”

Added 22 May: In depth article on the issue of witch-hunting in Malawi, from the Women’s Internatonal Perspective: “Mob Justice in Malawi: Accused of Witchcraft, the Elderly Are Rarely Protected by the Law”

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