PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Aug 3, CMC – Police have detained the mother of four children who were reportedly beaten to death by a witch doctor who claimed he was able to cure them of a mysterious illness.
The authorities have also launched a hunt for the unnamed witch doctor and an associate who are said to have fled the southern town of Marbial for the capital.
A police spokesman said that the bodies of the four children, including three girls, had been found abandoned on their mother’s bed.
The children ranged from ages seven years to 15 months.
Neighbours said that the witch doctor and his brother had been able to persuade the mother that the children were possessed by a demon and that he could rid their souls of the devil.
The children were beaten repeatedly as part of the ritual to expel the demon, the police spokesman said, adding that the mother had been taken into custody and a search was on for the witch doctor and his accomplice.
About half of Haiti’s population is believed to practice the voodoo religion in some form, though many are thought to also follow other religious beliefs at the same time. Sorcery and spiritual magic have been incorporated into some of the beliefs.
Voodoo evolved out of the beliefs that slaves from West Africa brought with them to Haiti. It is now deeply rooted in Haitian culture.