45 lynched amid Haiti cholera fears

Angry Haitian mobs have lynched at least 45 people in recent weeks, accusing them of spreading a cholera outbreak that has killed over 2500 people across the country, AFP reported.

The number included at least 14 suspected sorcerers previously known to have been lynched in the far southwestern region of Grand'Anse as local people feared they were spreading cholera with a magical substance. The area has been largely spared by the outbreak.

"We have counted 40 people dead in Grand'Anse department alone, where people are attacking natural healers they accuse of cholera-linked witchcraft," said communications ministry official Moise Fritz Evens.

Five other people were killed in similar circumstances elsewhere in the country.

"The victims - most of them voodoo priests - were stoned or hacked with machetes before being burned in the street," added the official.

Communications minister Marie-Laurence Lassegue said "voodoo practitioners have nothing to do with the cholera epidemic. We must press for an awareness campaign about the disease in the communities."

Official figures earlier showed the water-borne bacterial infection has claimed 2591 lives so far in the nation's first cholera outbreak in more than a century.

The disease first appeared in mid-October in the north.

Health ministry figures as of December 17 showed 121,518 people had been treated for the water-borne bacterial infection, including 63,711 who received hospital treatment.

And in a sign there is no end in sight for the disease that has become a thorn in the side of the already deeply troubled nation, about 50 people died on each of the last five days recorded.

At the outbreak's peak in November, there were daily death tolls of 60, 70 and even 80 and above.

The cholera outbreak led to deadly anti-UN riots last month as a desperate populace turned its anger on peacekeepers from Nepal accused of bringing the disease into the country.

The first lynching cases date back to late last month, when mobs hacked or stoned to death their victims.

About half of Haiti's population is believed to practice the voodoo religion in some form, AFP reported.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 28 Aug 2014 02:32:20 Processing Time: 384ms