30 June 2013

Zambia: Chilubi Villagers Tie 'Wizard' to Tree

VILLAGERS in Chilubi tied a 70-year-old man to a tree overnight on suspicion that he was practicing witchcraft.

They also accused the man of turning into a crocodile.

The villagers took the action after a man was caught by a crocodile along Lake Bangweulu but was luckily rescued by fishermen and is currently recovering in hospital, according to local police.

The villagers suspected that the 70-year-old man had turned into a crocodile and attacked the man who is in hospital.

Catholic Priest Charles Chilinda confirmed the incident, saying it was saddening that lives had continued to be lost while some people had escaped with serious wounds due to the increased number of crocodiles.

The priest wondered why the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) was failing to crop the reptiles to restore peace in the area.

Father Chilinda said the last cropping was done in 1962 and that the Church was in the process of engaging ZAWA on how best the matter could be addressed.

In the latest incident, he said a man was caught by a crocodile but other villagers managed to rescue him before turning on the other man identified as Kawama Mutale who they accused of being a wizard.

Mr Mutale was tied to a tree overnight and was only rescued by police officers who rushed to the area after receiving a report.

Two weeks ago, the death of a man who was suspected to have been killed by a crocodile in Chilubi raised eyebrows as other residents refused to believe that the deceased was a human being.

Only intestines along Lake Bangweulu were found at the scene but after a search by villagers some body parts were retrieved making the residents to believe that some people were practicing witchcraft and were turning into crocodiles.

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