"Black Magic" Linked to Brutal Killings of Children in Brazil

BRASILIA, Brazil, DEC. 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Black magic is blamed for the brutal deaths of at least 21 children and adolescents since 1991 in the impoverished state of Maranhao.

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The latest official victim is a 10-year-old boy, discovered Oct. 18 in Codo, southwest of Sao Luis, the state capital.

All the victims were poor. Almost all had been physically abused and their bodies mutilated.

Some of the bodies were enclosed in religious circles or marked by crosses. Others were found near offerings of chicken blood and feathers, yucca, and candles.

In the most recent case, in Codo, a town of 30,000 known as «the capital of witchcraft in Brazil,» a suspect in custody said that he killed and castrated his victim at the request of a local «priestess,» who supposedly paid $35 for body parts.

Authorities think «the black magic» killers of Maranhao practice macumba, a religious cult similar to voodoo. Some macumba practitioners engage in «black magic» rites.

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