64 Die in Congo From Anti-Sorcery Potion

Congo health officials on Thursday were investigating the poison deaths of 64 people, allegedly from a potion used to ward off evil spirits.

The Roman Catholic priest who allegedly administered the drink fled the village of Bosobe early last week after people started falling ill, Health Minister Yagi Sitolo told The Associated Press.

"It was some sort of oily substance, which was given to supposedly deliver them" from the spirits, Sitolo said of the potion.

Health officials have opened an investigation, he said.

No other information, including details on the priest and his whereabouts, was available from the remote region, 300 miles northeast of Congo's capital, Kinshasa.

Many of Congo's 59 million inhabitants mix indigenous beliefs with those introduced by organized religions, such as Christianity and Islam.