Witch-hunt is searching and hunting down people who are labelled as witches. Witch-hunt is often linked to moral panic or mass hysteria. Witch-hunt has existed in the society from 15th century and millions of people have been executed and killed in the process since then. Even in the modern society, deadly witch-hunt is common in countries like Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, Europe and many sub-Saharan nations. The primary targets of such witch-hunts are women and children. So which country has the deadliest witch-hunting practices in the world? We have created the top 10 countries with deadly witch hunting in the world.
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Here goes the list of top 10 countries with deadly witch hunting practices from around the world:
Innocent men, women and children are targeted in the name of “god” by witch-hunts. More and more children are abused and killed in the name of witchcraft and black magic in Congo. Harshest capital punishments are given to people alleged to be witches in the country. Hundreds of people and kids have fled from Congo with broken arms, legs and burn injuries to other countries like the neighboring Uganda. In 2001, neither the neighbors nor friends were spared when Congolese went on a brutal witch-hunting spree when hundreds of people were hacked to death, many were attacked by axes and machetes, and some were savagely beaten by the public. The cruelties of witch-hunts continue even today in Congo.
Sorcery and witchcraft are still believed in many sub-Saharan countries. Cameroon is no different in ghost and cult beliefs. Residents in the region have gone on riots and rampages burning houses, cult objects and alleged witches. Several hundred people die every year due to violent witch-hunts in the country. In 2014, several houses, cars and shops were burnt and destroyed by the residents. Children in the region are also not spared. A 16-year-old girl was made to drink a poisonous substance for abortion that killed the girl. Deadly witch-hunt practices are targeted upon children, elderly women and alleged witches. Few have reported that in Cameroon alleged witches are sometimes tortured and burnt by the mob in public.
8. South Africa
Brutal assaults on women alleged to be witches still exist in the modern society of South Africa. Many cases of deadly witch-hunting practices are not reported in the country and go unnoticed. In April 2015, a women accused of witch was beaten and tortured naked by the residents in the village of Mpumalanga. Police watched the torture of the women helplessly. In February 2015, Thembekile Ngubane, 59, accused of witchcraft was forced to drink petrol after being set alight. After a month she died in the hospital. There are many such cases in the country where people are burnt alive, stoned, tortured and brutally killed in the public. Elderly women are the most targeted by the witch-hunts.
Black magic and witchcraft are still believed in many parts of rural India, mostly villages. Women in such parts fall victim to witch-hunts. Women are beaten, stripped and killed in public by the people in villages. It has been reported that mostly women who are widows or divorcees are targeted to rob them off their property. In a 2013 report by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) more than 700 women have been killed or murdered since 2008. Labeling a woman as witch is generally linked to robbing the property, punish her for turning down sexual advances or settle scores. In 2013, a woman was murdered and her daughter raped on the allegation that they were practicing black magic. Poor parts of the country like Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh sees high amounts of cases related to murders by witch-hunts.
In 2009, according to the human rights organisation Amnesty International, more than 1000 people accused of being witches have been locked out in a secret location and were made to drink dangerous hallucinating portions. The dangerous liquid has led to major kidney problems and at least two people have died as result. Many people among them are beaten and tortured. There are reports that suggest that Gambian authorities and government has link to such deadly witch-hunting in the country. Many people flee from Gambia due to such brutal witch-hunting carried out in the country. The New York Times reported that the witch-hunting campaign was initiated by the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
Witch-hunting associates to the Kenyan society from a very long history. Witch-hunts are common in Kenya that includes punishing the witches publicly and lynching. In 2008, a group of Kenyan people burnt 11 people alleged to be witches publicly. In 2013, a woman was dragged outside her house, stripped naked and beaten with machetes. In the same year a man was burnt to death in public. In most of the cases relatives are the main accused in witch-hunts and witch-hunt related murders. Witch-hunting has become a serious problem in the country which has made many people flee from villages in Kenya.
Practicing sorcery and witchcraft is against the laws in Zambia. Like other African nations, deadly witch-hunting practices are prevalent in Zambia and is on a higher note. The superstitious beliefs of Zambian people are high which had led to gruesome killing and violent murders in the name of witchcraft and black magic. An incident from 2013 gives impulses where two people were axed to death by their family members in the suspicion that they were practicing witchcraft. During the late 1920s witch-hunting gangs like Bamucapi that carried out tortures, illegal witchcraft accusations, extortion and confiscating properties of alleged witches. Such witch-hunters still exists even today and they operate underground.
3. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea practices brutal witch-hunting that has made many people flee from the nation. Though, “white” magic is legal and a hope of good faith and healing in Papua New Guinea, “black” magic is considered illegal and can lead to 2 years of imprisonment. Government reports suggest that there are increasing incidents of extrajudicial tortures and murders relating to alleged witches, especially lone women. 150 incidents of witch-hunt related murders and violence are reported each year. Certain parts of the country see witch-hunts to be more voyeuristic and sadistic. One woman who was attacked from a nearby village “had her genitals burned and fused beyond functional repair by the repeated intrusions of red-hot irons.” The incidents of killing related to witch-hunts has turned towards cities and increasing day by day.
Witch-hunting is highly prevalent in Tanzania. Every year nearly 1000 people are executed for practicing witchcraft in the country. Tanzania is known to have the most intense witch-hunting practices throughout Africa. Witch-hunts in Tanzania are cruel and violent. Elderly women in Tanzania are the most affected in such violence. Witch-hunts do not even spare children. In 2014, 23 people were arrested for killing 7 ‘witches’. Many villagers have run away because of the increase in witch-hunting. The victims are attacked with deadly weapons such as machetes. Few are burned alive inside their houses.
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has very strict laws against practicing witchcraft and sorcery. The punishment can range from life term to death penalty those found guilty of witchcraft. Not even the guest workers from other countries are spared. Guest workers from countries like Indonesia are sitting in jail for practicing witchcraft. Frequently the places and houses are raided were black magic is practiced. In November, 2009 more than 100 people were arrested for practicing magic using holy books. There are numerous cases of witchcraft practices where people were given dead sentences. From 2006 to 2012 many people were executed cruelly and brutally for practicing black magic in Saudi Arabia. Other country nationals were also not spared from execution. Some were beaten in public whereas few were beheaded. Saudi Arabia practices the most brutal witch-hunting practices in the world.