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'Don't kill witches, preach to them'

15 July 2013, 15:44 Bob Ndwiga

Mombasa Diocese ACK Church Bishop Rt Rev Julius Kalu has decried the increased cases of killing of elderly people accused of practicing witchcraft in Kilifi County.

He said that although witchcraft was real, it was better to deal with the vice by preaching to those involved to stop the practice instead of killing them as was happening in the area.

Addressing the faithful at the Malindi St Andrew’s ACK Church during the ground breaking ceremony of the planned KES 100 million Malindi St Andrew’s ACK Cathedral on Monday morning, Bishop Kalu called on the government to find ways of dealing with the killings to avoid the continued wanton murders against elders.

Young people on hire to kill the elderly

More than 20 people mainly elderly people have been killed in the County on suspicion that they practiced witchcraft. The situation has been worsened by the fact that few arrests have been made by the police despite indications that there were gangs of young people on hire to kill the elderly people.

Majority of elderly people especially those with gray hair are now living in fear of attacks and at least 100 of them are being hosted by friends and kaya elders in various temporary camps in Kilifi County.

Bishop Kalu admitted to having witnessed an evil spiritual attack associated with witchcraft at a school in Marafa area, Magarini District, last week in which the pupils possessed by the evil spirits even mentioned people suspected to be practicing witchcraft.

Witchcraft, he said, was to blame for low levels of development and education in many parts of the Coast and Kilifi Counties. He said that it was true education standards in the region had deteriorated partly because witches at times were practicing it on school-going children hence curtailing their fair participation in learning.

“I am not saying that witchcraft is not there, it's there but we would wish to advice those involved in this vice to stop the practice because it has been a major drawback to our development,” he charged.

The government through chiefs and other officials at the grassroots level, Bishop Kalu said, had a role to play in creating awareness against witchcraft in an effort to encourage witches to abandon the vice and be good citizens.

The clergy further called for intensified campaigns to preach to the witches to abandon the vice while insisting that killing them was not a remedy. He asked the residents of the Kilifi County to stop killing suspects but encourage them to abandon witchcraft.

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