Tanzanian police arrest 34 suspects in connection with killings of 4 villagers over witchcraft claims

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(Photo: AFP)

DAR ES SALAAM, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) --Tanzanian police said on Friday they have arrested 34 suspects in connection with the killing of four villagers from the same family after they were suspected of involving in witchcraft.

Liberatus Sabas, chief of police operations and training, said the suspects were arrested in a crackdown in Kigoma region between Jan. 4 and Jan. 9, 2020.

"Police are still questioning the suspects before they are charged in court with murder," Sabas said in the Lake Tanganyika shore town of Kigoma.

On Jan. 4, authorities said four villagers from the same family were killed and their houses demolished by fellow villagers in western Tanzania. The victims were suspected of involvement in witchcraft.

Evans Buchonko, a councillor for Msambara ward in Kasulu district in Kigoma region, said the victims included a pregnant woman.

Buchonko said a group of angry villagers raided houses of the victims on Friday afternoon and attacked them with machetes.

"The villagers also destroyed the victims' belongings before they demolished their houses and farms," Buchonko said, appealing to the government to arrest the culprits and prosecute them.

Simon Anange, Kasulu district commissioner, appealed for calmness, saying security organs have launched investigations into the killings.