Eleven dead in Congo football riot after use of ‘witchcraft’
Nyuki football club was losing to its local rivals Socozaki in Sunday’s game when the club’s goalkeeper decided to intervene.
Radio Okapi, a local broadcaster funded by the United Nations, said the player dashed up the pitch incanting “fetishist” spells to weaken the opposing team.
The game, a derby match in an eastern province of the Central African country, quickly broke up into a brawl between the two teams of players.
A local police commander then tried to intervene to break up the fight, but he was pelted with rocks by the crowd.
Matters quickly got out of hand as fighting seized hold of some sections of the stadium. Police fired canisters of tear gas and spectators stampeded for the exits.
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The charge resulted in carnage: 11 dead and several others injured.
As is the case elsewhere in Africa, many Congolese hold traditional animist beliefs and use spells, fetishes and charms to practise witchcraft, often combined with other religions like Christianity or Islam.