Gunmen kill 4 over ‘witchcraft’
GUNMEN have killed four people suspected of practicing witchcraft in separate incidents within a week in Sinazongwe, prompting Member of Parliament Gift Sialubalo to call for an urgent meeting with councillors and traditional leaders in the area.
And district UPND spokesperson George Bbabbi has attributed the killings to what he called an influx of ‘prophets’ from Zimbabwe who had allegedly ‘invaded’ the district and were paid to identify alleged witches and wizards responsible for each death thereby forcing relatives of the deceased to retaliate by hiring gunmen to also kill the ‘culprit’.
Mr Sialubalo said in an interview yesterday that he was concerned with the increasing number of people being killed on mere suspicion of practicing witchcraft.
He is said while the people had continued blaming the police for failing to curb the escalating number of murders in the area, the community had not done enough to help the police in providing leads to suspects.
“It is unacceptable that we have continued to lose lives owing to mere speculation and accusations of witchcraft and before we blame the police for not doing enough, there is need for the community to realize that they have a bigger role to play in ending these killings because we live with these people who are hiring criminals and as long as we do not provide leads to the police, we will continue dying.
“Community members must realize that by not cooperating with the police, they are endangering their own lives because I may be the target today, tomorrow, it may be another person. This is why I am meeting all the councillors after which, I will meet traditional leaders so that we find a long-lasting solution to this problem,” Mr Sialubalo said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bbabbi said ‘prophets’ from Zimbabwe were to blame for the predicament that had befallen the people in the area.
“We have a number of these so-called prophets from Zimbabwe who are naming people said to have bewitched some people and in turn, relatives of the deceased hire these criminals and this is what has caused all this problem,” Mr Bbabbi said.
When contacted for a comment, Southern Province Commissioner of Police Diamond Likashi referred all queries to the police public relations department saying he has been out of office.