Africa's Child 'Witches' Abused, Abandoned

Superstition, poverty take ugly toll on Angolan, Congolese youth
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 1:34 PM CST
Mando Mengi, 15, ran away from home when he was accused of witchcraft and now lives in a children's home in Kinshasa, Congo. Witchcraft allegations are now the No. 1 cause of child homelessness in Congo's...   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Thousands of children in Angola, Congo, and the Congo Republic are being abused, abandoned, and even killed after being accused of witchcraft, the New York Times reports. Such accusations—born from tribal superstition and poverty that leaves some families unable to care for children—are a "massive" problem, sending hundreds of children alone into the streets of cities like Kinshasa and Luanda.

One official attributed the increase in such incidents to conflicts that have raged in Angola and Congo for decades, leaving poverty in their wake. “The witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for the children,” the official said. “So they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family.”