A 60-year-old woman suspected of witchcraft in Kigabiro Sector of Rwamagana District has been given 15 days to leave the village with her family or face trouble.
A meeting attended by more than 100 villagers on Monday asked Thereza Bankundiye, a resident of Rusave village, and members of her family, to leave the village following reports that several members of the community fell sick of her suspected witchcraft.
This was one of the rare incidents, for which the villagers held what they called an extra-ordinary meeting.
Rusave village leader Jean Marie Kalisa confirmed the reports, noting that the banishment of the elderly woman was long overdue.
He said that the accused were given enough time to relocate to another place, adding that they were not original inhabitants of the village.
“We have had thousands of complaints about the woman and her daughter. Children have died and all their parents are accusing the family. I have so many cases of incurable diseases and death allegedly caused by the family,” she said.
Kalisa said that he had forwarded the villagers wish to his superiors, adding that expelling her was a better alternative.
“The family has a chaotic history, are in constant conflicts and so on. Villagers are very angry with the family, so, the choice to expel them would actually prevent potential violence. My superiors will take their position”.
Attitude towards the poor
Claudine Uwimana, a co-accused with the mother, told The New Times that her family was being a victim of poor society attitude towards the poor.
“In our community the old and the poor are associated with witchcraft. This is the dilemma we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, it is beyond our reach and we can’t appeal. Otherwise, there is no evidence on any of the claims,” she said, adding, “My parents live in a state of hopelessness. So, we look everything evil, which is why we are targeted when a child gets sick or dies,” she said.
Belief in magic and witchcraft has been rife in the region since time immemorial.