Tanzania has launched a manhunt for suspects in the abduction and murder of up to 10 children in January in cases believed to be linked to witchcraft and black magic, the home affairs minister said.
Officials in the Njombe district in southern Tanzania told local media this week at least four dead bodies of missing children had been found abandoned near bushes with missing body parts, which are believed to be used in black magic rituals.
“Our preliminary investigations have established that these incidents are caused by superstitious beliefs,” Kangi Lugola told parliament, replying to a lawmaker who had demanded to know what the government was doing to stop the killings.
Superstition is deep-rooted among some communities in Tanzania. Albinos, who lack pigment in skin, eyes and hair, are among groups targeted by assailants who kill them or chop off their limbs.
Black magicians became an integral part of illegal migration business, encouraging migrants with enchanting rituals to gamble their lives, attempting to reach Europe, crossing Sahara desert and Mediterranean sea. However it is unclear if the attempts to neutralize their efforts with counter-magic brought any fruit. Some believe the curse will work as an effective measure against human trafficking, the others relay on traditional fences and guards.
Earlier this year Oba Ewuare II, leader of the historic Kingdom of Benin in southern Nigeria, invoked curses on anyone who used witchcraft to help illegal migration. In spite of hopes the measure did not bring a striking difference in number of arrivals of illegal migrants.
The generous EU funds allocated to Maghreb countries in attempt to protect EU borders from flows of illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa clearly indicate the limited effects of voodoo curse, flavoring regular fences and guards. In September the Kingdom of Morocco received $275 million EU aid to strengthen border protection.