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Entries in Namibia (2)

Tuesday
Feb282012

Namibia’s ‘Dog-Headed Pig Monster’ Spurs Witchcraft Debate

Hemera/Thinkstock(OSHANA, Namibia) -- What residents in a rural African village report about a mysterious white beast with a dog-like head and backside resembling a large swine is frightening -- not because the creature will harm them, but because superstition and accusations surrounding the beast could lead them to harm each other.

“This must be the work of black magic,” an official in the Oshana region of northern Namibia told the Informante newspaper.

Regional Councilor Andreas Mundjindi said residents have spotted the beast chasing dogs and goats, and a young man said it tried to attack him as he walked home.

Several residents said they are now too scared to walk alone. One theory has it that the beast may have come from the home of a local elderly man.

“Everyone believes it is his beast and even he knows that we think so,” an unnamed resident told Informante.

Accusations like that can have serious consequences in Namibia and throughout sub-Saharan Africa where elderly people are often accused of practicing the “old ways,” or witchcraft.  Thousands have been forced to flee for their lives, and many do not survive.  Across the continent, there are frequent reports of people accused of witchcraft being murdered by family members, neighbors or frenzied mobs.

“In most cases it is a quarrel or jealousy or just superstition that drives this,” said Phepsile Maseko of the Traditional Healers Organization based in South Africa.  "When people are poor and uneducated they tend to focus on the witchhunt when there is any type of problem.”

Maseko said the widely-held belief in “black magic” in Africa can be a problem for her organization’s members who are sometimes accused of being “witch doctors” because they practice ancient, indigenous forms of medicine.

Maseko believes better education and more legal protections are needed to end witchcraft-related violence in Africa.  Until then, when strange things happen -- or are just rumored to have happened -- she fears more innocent people will be hurt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Germany Fears Terrorists May Already Be in the Country 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HAMBURG, Germany) -- A senior German official said Thursday's bomb scare involving a Germany-bound flight out of Africa was not the cause of this week's terror alert. Instead, the official told ABC News the move was in response to specific threat intelligence and that terrorists planning an attack may already be in Germany.

In Namibia Thursday, authorities found a fuse in a bag that was destined for Germany. Authorities were trying to determine whether the device could have exploded.

The possibly alarming discovering came a one day after Germany elevated its terror alert.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly, said that Germany has about 200 individuals of great concern who are placed under tight surveillance, hinting that Wednesday's threat alert has more to do with people who may be inside the country. The official said Germany has not wanted to jail them yet in order to try to collect as much intelligence from them as possible and collect evidence against them. The concern, however, is how long do you let them try to plan an attack.

Though the official declined to confirm these details, the New York Times reported today Thursday the U.S.' decision to issue a travel alert for Europe last month was sparked by intelligence about 25 al Qaeda fighters, organized into cells of three to five individuals each, who had been planning "commando" attacks in Britain, France and Germany.

Since then, the paper says that about 10 of them are believed to have been killed, most by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. A Pakistani intelligence official told the New York Times that drone strikes in September and October had killed European recruits who intended to strike in Britain or Germany.

On Oct. 5, a Western official confirmed to ABC News that German citizens were among a group of militants believed to have been killed in a recent drone strike in Pakistan.

Many of the plotters, however, are still alive, the Times reported. While several German citizens have been arrested in Pakistan in recent weeks, a European official told the paper many of the plotters may already be in place in their countries.

A German intelligence official tells the paper the suspected terrorists were planning Mumbai-style attacks, but had no specific information on where or when.

On Nov. 26, 2008, teams of terrorist commandos attacked train stations, restaurants and hotels popular with businessmen and Westerners. More than 160 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

When asked today about U.S. efforts to kill German citizens in Pakistan, the German official would only tell ABC News that Germany and the United States are fighting a common enemy and that there is very close cooperation between the their intelligence services. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio