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Mozambique deaths blamed on foreign witch doctors
(AFP, April 6, 2004)

The Mozambique Human Rights League (LDH) yesterday blamed foreign witch doctors, mainly from West Africa, for the recent killings that are allegedly related to the trafficking of human organs.

"This phenomenon is new to Mozambique and could be linked to the proliferation of foreign witch doctors in our country, but the government has simply turned a blind eye to this," LDH chairman Alice Mabota told the Associated Foreign Press.

Mabota was referring to a recent spate of killings in Mozambique's northern Nampula province in which body parts, mainly genitals, have been extracted. It is believed that the organs are used in witchcraft, which is widespread in several parts of Mozambique.

Repeating earlier statements by the Roman Catholic Church, the LDH insisted that reports of a child and human organ trafficking network operating in Mozambique were true.

"Yes, there is a human organ and child trafficking network operating in the country. Reports to the contrary are aimed at deviating attentions," Mabota said.

Recently, Assistant Attorney-General Rafael Sebastiao said a preliminary investigation into the allegations had found no evidence that human organs had been removed from bodies and sold.

He said a team of forensic specialists had spent two weeks in the area. They had examined 14 violent deaths and disappearances allegedly linked with the sale of organs, but the specialists had concluded that they were not the work of an organ trafficking network.

However, Mabota questioned the government's capacity to probe "such a complex issue", and called on the authorities to seek international assistance.


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