19 Kenyans arrested for 'witch' killings

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Authorities in western Kenya have arrested 19 suspects in connection with a spree of recent mob killings. Earlier this week 11 elderly people had been burned on suspicion of witchcraft. The 8 female and 3 male victims were aged 80 to 96 according to BBC News.

Nyanza Province in southwest Kenya.
Image: Acntx.

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in the Kisii District of Nyanza Province and attacks against purported witches had happened before, but this week's attacks targeted an unusually large number of people.

You may find that they [the individuals arrested] could not have been involved directly in the killing, but if you have evidence that they were involved in war cries, then they will have another offence of inciting.

—Charles Owino

Police launched an investigation into the incident and have deployed additional personnel to guard the area to prevent revenge attacks. Approximately 300 young men were reportedly responsible for the attacks. According to deputy police spokesman Charles Owino, those who can be proven to have had direct involvement in the killings would be charged with murder.