Woman (21) Arrested Over Witchcraft

Police in Mwinilunga have arrested a 21-year-old woman whom they have been pursuing for allegedly causing death of many people in the area through acts of witchcraft.

North-Western Province police chief Innocent Kalebwe said yesterday the woman was arrested recently after a tip off from members of the public. She has been accused of providing medicine to bereaved families to make the coffins pin point the suspected witch or wizard.

Mr Kalebwe said Charity Makalichi of Musanda village in Chief Sailunga's area had confessed to giving medicine to bereaved families to make the coffin direct pall-bearers to the location of alleged killer of the one in the coffin.

He said the practice locally known as "Chikondo" had caused many deaths in villages because whenever the traditional medicine was done to identify the killer, the coffin hit the suspect to death.

Pall bearers carry the coffin and it directs them in the direction of the suspected witch who had killed the one in the coffin.

Mr Kalebwe said the woman plunged into the Mwinilunga river to try to flee police but they fired warning shots forcing her to swim out and surrender.

He said the woman, who was arrested on Saturday around 18:00 hours, was currently detained at Mwinilunga police station on charges of professing knowledge of witchcraft and murder.

Meanwhile, the search for the fugitive Kabompo witchfinder who used to help the Karavinas with medicine to elude police has been hindered by lack of fuel for the police vehicles.

Mr Kalebwe said arrangements were being made to get fuel to enable them to go and arrest the woman whose location had been identified.

Meanwhile, a Ndola herbalist in Kantolomba township has fled after the woman she gave concoctions to conceive died from a strange disease.

Ndola district police chief Peter Bubenshi yesterday confirmed the death of Anna Nambwi Kasongo, aged 40.

Mr Bubenshi said the deceased woman, who had no child with her husband in their eight-year marriage sought the services of the herbalist two weeks ago.

After explaining her predicament to the medicine woman, she was given concoctions to put in her porridge and to apply some on her private parts in order to conceive.

However, having applied all instructions, she consequently developed sores on her genitals, all over the body and in the mouth.

Realising danger, her husband rushed her to Ndola Central Hospital where she died on Tuesday and her body was still in the mortuary awaiting a postmortem.

Upon seeing the woman fall sick, the herbalist fled and police were hunting her to help with investigations into the woman's death.

The deceased's husband Kunga Kasongo collected the concoctions and surrendered them to the police for further examinations and thorough investigations.

An inquiry had been opened over the matter while the search for the woman continued.

And a man of the same township died suddenly after drinking beer suspected to have been laced with poison.

The deceased Jimmy Chongo of house number 57, returned home from a drinking spree on Tuesday. When he reached his house, he started vomiting and died shortly later.

A postmortem will be conducted on his body which is in Ndola Central Hospital mortuary