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Eight women accused of witchcraft killed in Guinea-Bissau

Eight women accused of witchcraft in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau have died of poisoning in the remote north, a senior official told AFP on Thursday.

After a sudden illness took the lives of two youngsters at Culade, in the Cacheu region, women were blamed and an animist priest forced them to drink poison.

The eight women, all aged over 50, died and 21 others were hospitalised at the local capital Sao Domingos, said Carlos Sanha, a senior administrative official in the town.

“It keeps recurring in this area,” where traditional animist beliefs remain strong, Sanha said.

“We intend to take the decisions needed to put an end to these practices from ancestral times.

“It’s sad and unacceptable in the 21st century. We can no longer tolerate such practices.”

During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, four people died in similar circumstances in the same region, with local people fearing the virus was linked to witchcraft.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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