Hunt continues for witch doctor who allegedly killed four children
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday August 10, 2012 – An investigation is underway after police detained the mother of four young children who were reportedly beaten to death by a sorcerer who claimed he was able to cure them of a mysterious illness.
Haitian authorities are reportedly continuing to pursue leads in a manhunt for the unnamed witch doctor and an associate said to be his brother who are believed to have fled the southern town of Marbial for Port-au-Prince.
Wilfrid Brisson, a local official, said the bodies of the four children had been found abandoned on their mother’s bed.
"Three girls and a boy, the eldest of whom was seven-years-old and the youngest only 15 months, suffered abuse from the healer who was treating them," Brisson told the press.
According to neighbours, the sorcerer, assisted by his brother, persuaded the victims' mother that the children were possessed by a demon and said he could rid their souls of the devil.
The witch doctor and his brother reportedly went on to beat the children repeatedly, in steps they said were necessary to expel the demon, and the youngsters are believed to have died from the blows.
The alleged killers are said to have subsequently fled to the capital where investigations are ongoing.
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.
The name “voodoo” derives from the word “vodun”, meaning “god” or “spirit” in the language of the Fon people of Benin. Its present form evolved out of the beliefs that slaves from West Africa brought with them to Haiti. It is now deeply rooted in Haitian culture.