Two Zimbabwe women accused of being witches have died after drinking a mysterious liquid they were told would cleanse their souls.
Jersey Mutero, 83, and Erita Bhebhe, 73, collapsed in agony in Mangisi Village last Saturday after imbibing what turned out to be poison.
They died on their way to hospital.
Local healer Maxwell Pira, who gave them the drink, has now gone on the run — with cops saying he could be charged with double murder.
Police said that a child fell ill, and two related families consulted the local healer for a “cleansing ceremony”. It sounds like he was blaming one of the family members and this was a way to call out a witch.
“He instructed all the family members to drink the water which was passed around in a cup, but warned that those responsible for the sickness of the young girl should not drink the concoction as they would die.
“The two elderly women drank the liquid but collapsed almost immediately. They were put on a scotch cart but died on the way to hospital.”
A post mortem will be conducted. Was there poison in the water? Did others drink it and were not harmed? Did the elderly women die of stress? It’s not clear. The water is being tested. I also can’t tell from just the media stories how many would instead believe that the women were indeed witches and responsible for the child’s death. We’ve heard many stories out of Zimbabwe regarding the strong belief in witchcraft.
Note that the headlines are saying the water was poisoned but that’s not been confirmed yet.