Elderly Indonesian hacked to death over suspected witchcraft


JAKARTA: A 70-year-old Indonesian woman has been hacked to death in the remote east of the country by machete-wielding men who suspected her of performing witchcraft, police said Monday.

Three men attacked Nuryan Umanahu early Sunday in the village of Buya, in the Sula Islands, after one of them became suspicious she had cast a spell on his wife.

“While she was sick, the wife often felt possessed and said that the old woman had cast a spell on her,” local police official Arifin La Ode Buri told AFP. “Her husband believed this and took his friends to search for the old woman.”

The husband was accompanied by a large mob of villagers to the old lady’s house, but only three went inside and carried out the killing, said Buri.

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder, he added. Many people still believe in black magic in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago of more than 17,000 islands inhabited by a kaleidoscope of different ethnic groups.