Witchcraft claim over baby bodies

Suva, Fiji - THE disappearance of two babies' bodies from a Fiji hospital has been blamed on witchcraft.

Officials at Lautoka Hospital have been unable to explain why the bodies of the babies who died during birth were not in the hospital's mortuary when family members tried to claim them for burial this week.

The family of one of the babies believes hospital employees belonging to a cult have removed the bodies.

"We Fijians know that newborn babies who die are something very strong for witchcraft," said Sailosi Natadra, grandfather of a baby boy whose body was reported missing on Monday.

"A newborn baby who dies without setting foot on the ground is a powerful tool for witchdoctors," Natadra told the Fiji Sun.

"We believe that a cult is operating from the hospital and some people are involved in removing the babies bodies."

Hospital general manager Dr Eloni Tora told the paper there was no proof of such a practice but did not rule it out.

Fiji Health Minister Solomoni Naivalu has promised to get to the bottom of the disappearances.

"It's a mystery we are determined to solve," Mr Naivalu told the Fiji Times.