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Focus on Africa: Zambian army called on to quell 'witchcraft unrest'

Lovemore Kanyama (c), district commissioner of Siavonga, Zambia Lovemore Kanyama

Zambian OIC [Officer In Charge] in Siavonga region in the south of the country seeks army help to fight witchcraft.

Groups of villagers have reportedly gone on the rampage in southern Zambia. According to officials, the violence is linked to witchcraft.

The country's top administrator in the southern district of Siavonga says he was forced to appeal for help from the army after supernatural forces transformed his constituency into a playground.

District Commissioner Lovemore Kanyama told the Zambian Eye newspaper that his patience ran out, after strange incidents involving 15 school children in southern rural community of Chamata last Saturday.

"They just started running all over their villages like mad individuals, crying that mysterious voices were calling their names", explained Kanyama.

Hysteria takes over

The administrator of Siavonga told the daily that the school children who were admitted in the local hospital only recovered their health after being taken to prayer sessions.

District Commissioner Lovemore Kanyama also spoke to RFI about how elders were suffering.

"The chief of Chamata came and reported to me that groups of parents recently came out running around and destroying houses" he said.

Lovemore Kanyama stated that doctors had ruled out cerebral malaria and other known medical conditions as the likely cause of the outbreak.

Mystical sex orgies

DC Kanyama also reported incidents of "mystical sex orgies" which doctors and nurses at the Namomba Health center in Siavonga were threatened with, forcing them to flee.

He also admitted holding crisis meetings with Siavonga elders in efforts to end an age-long vendetta driven by so-called witchcraft guns.

The Zambian official said that cases of people “buying witchcraft to strike others" were common in the nearby enclave of Chipata.

Voodoo baby

The accounts of the scary life of the Siavonga people hit the press as medics at a Lusaka reference hospital prepared for delicate surgery to remove up to 44 needles from the body of a toddler.

The Zambian press was buzzing with news that there were in all 74 voodoo pins allegedly planted in the 3-year-old’s stomach some in his liver and spine by his stepfather.

Reports say the little boy was evacuated from the southern province on the instructions of President Edgar Lungu, but was too emaciated to be taken directly to the theater.

As Zambians pray for the life of the child, the country’s Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya gave a press conference in Lusaka on Wednesday about his condition and what doctors hope to do during the operation set to be carried out next week.