20 witch-doctors arrested in Mwanza

Mwanza, Tanzania - THE police here have arrested 20 witch-doctors for their roles in the killings of the suspected witches in the Lake Zone region.

Mwanza Regional Police Commander Zelothe Steven said yesterday that the witch-doctors were arrested following a special operation mounted last week in the region.

The police boss accused them of being responsible for the deaths of many suspected witches in Mwanza and Shinyanga.

"They claim to possess magic powers of identifying witches, as a result they incite violence against innocent people," he said.

This happens especially when death has occurred in a village. The witch-doctors come forward to help in identifying killer witches, which leads to subsequent lynching of innocent people.

The RPC said 110 people were lynched in 2005 and another 128 were brutally murdered last year after bogus witch-doctors identified them as witches.

Mr Stephen named the suspected bogus traditional healers in police custody as Saidi Daud (35), Lukuba Lupunga (53), Ally Hamisi (59) and Masanja Mlinda (60) all from Geita.

Those arrested in Misungwi District were Solaya Blandine (30), Kinandi Soliye (27), Magobo Subi (52), Gamawishi Maduka (34) and Bujukano Kaliyayo (54). From Sengerema District were Wankenyela Masele (65), Juma Masoud (72), Minza Sana (58), Fatuma Malale (56), Magina Masanja (30) and Will Deus (31).

Suspects arrested in Magu District were Milembe Lumanicha (28), Mariamu Allya (48), Mlagula Bukombe (54), Sudi Masasila (25) and Malezo Kimla (53).