Mozambique: Old man escapes death over alleged sorcery

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A 70-year-old man in Dombe, central of Mozambique, narrowly escaped death after villagers angrily pounded on him with blows and kicks over allegedly practising of sorcery.

The irked Dombe residents destroyed the property of the old man after accusing him of keeping crocodiles and snakes in River Lucite for sorcery. The River Lucite runs through Dombe and the villager claimed the accused’s alleged diabolic activities with the animals cause the animals to become a danger to the community. According to some sources,  numerous accusations have been levelled against the 70-year-old man, including the allegation that he feeds crocodiles and perform rituals in the river after which he goes under the water for 60 minutes.

“We’re in trouble here because of that old man’s crocodiles. We don’t want that citizen in our area anymore,” noted one of the residents.

Since the beginning of this year, two people have been reported dead and another three injured as a result of crocodile attack. The latest victim was a 13-year-old boy. The minor was attacked and killed by the reptile on November 10 while fetching water in the said river.

Another 17-year-old man narrated to the local media how he escaped death by a whisk after he was attacked by the animal only to be saved by his mother who chased it away.

The accused old man is not taking the wrath of the villager lightly. He is taking refuge at a police station in Dombe, where the police officers have vowed to protect him from the angry villagers.

It is hardly strange in Africa to see people often take the law into their hands, based on mere suspicion. More often than not, those violent actions lead to jungle justice, whereby the accused is mishandled or even killed by angry mobs.  It is difficult to ascertain whether the accused old man from Dombe is another victim of a village conspiracy theory. Yet others are worried that the villagers may not have enough evidence to back up their claims. If the accused engages in sorcery, they argue, how exactly has his act endangered the community or caused the crocodile to kill its victims? Could the carnivorous animal have not eaten the affected victims if the 70-year-old man in Dombe was not accused of practising of sorcery? In other words, are human beings, not natural prey to a crocodile?

“He is waiting to see if we can find him somewhere where he can restart his life because if he goes back to his place of residence, he’ll be killed. The people there have destroyed all his property. He has nothing. He hasn’t committed any crime, and he’s under police protection,” said the police. 

Has the life of the accused 70-year-old man been drastically altered, and the big price paid by way of ex-communication, based on hearsay? Or is he rightly facing the repercussions for his dubious, nefarious activities? Unless the police thoroughly investigate the allegations and activities and any offenders thoroughly punished under the law, many innocent victims will be victimized unfairly for the acts they may not have committed. Likewise, without the intervention of the law enforcement agents, those who indulge in illegal and nefarious activities will continue to operate with impunity.

From Samuel Ouma and Tedman Oscar

Photo: Maendeleo Vijijini