Angola: so-called “sorcerers” died after ingesting herbal decoction

Around fifty people accused of “witchcraft” died in Angola after being forced to drink a herbal concoction supposed to determine whether or not they practice rites considered occult, according to local and police sources on Thursday on national radio.

Many Angolans resort to “sorcerers” endowed with superior powers according to certain beliefs, to resolve a conflict or before making a decision. These practices are particularly opposed by the Church in the former Portuguese colony with a Catholic majority.

“More than 50 victims were forced to drink this mysterious liquid which, according to traditional advisors, proves whether or not the person is practicing witchcraft”explained to national radio Luzia Filemone, local elected official in the municipality of Camacupa (center) where the number of deaths has rapidly increased over the last two months.

“The number of deaths linked to the ingestion of this liquid increased from 30 to 50”local police chief António Samba told national radio.

There is no law in Angola formally punishing “witchcraft”. But in practice, “wise men” playing the role of advisors within certain communities are consulted to determine whether or not a person is a “sorcerer”.

The process involves making the so-called “witches” ingest a herbal drink called “mbulungo”. According to certain beliefs, if the person dies after drinking the liquid, it is then proven that they were practicing witchcraft.

“It is a widespread practice to drink the supposed poison because of beliefs in witchcraft”explained on the radio the spokesperson for the provincial police, António Hossi, warning of a recent increase in cases in the region.

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