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Wave Of Murder Over Witchcraft Fears

Hundreds of people were murdered last year in ritual killings or on suspicion of being witches, according to a government report.

The Commission on Witchcraft and Ritual Violence reported Friday that 277 people were killed in witchcraft-related cases in South Africa’s poor Northern Province between April 1994 and April 1995. Often the victims were burned alive in their homes.

Hundreds of others were assaulted by angry mobs after being identified as witches, the interim report said.

Belief in witchcraft is thriving in all levels of society, it said, adding that elderly women were the most common targets of accusations of witchcraft.

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