A man from Mozambique has been jailed by local police after he was caught exhuming the bodies of his own parents in exchange for a motorcycle.
The man, whose identity has not been publically announced, was allegedly caught by the authorities in the northern Nampula province. According to a report by British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, the man was motivated to commit the criminal act after a businessman made him a strange offer.
The businessman wanted to get his hands on the human bones of people: "who died without getting sick", for which he would exchange him with a motorcycle and more than $300 (£234) in cash.
According to The Mail, the perpetrator stated: "The boss told me to look for bones from people who died without getting sick. In exchange, you will get a motorbike. I went to a family cemetery, dug up the bones from my father’s, my mother’s and my uncle’s graves."
The perpetrator allegedly traveled to meet the businessman, who was allegedly involved in the exploration of mineral resources, but the man never materialized at the agreed rendezvous point. Police believe that the businessman wanted the bones in order to perform some kind of hexing ritual.
Commenting on the relevance of witchcraft in the developing world, Sahara reporter Olabisi Deji-Folutile recently wrote: "Already, different societal ills resulting from government’s failures at various levels are being attributed to the activities of witches and wizards by some folks in this country. There is the need to change this narrative."
She adds: "It is disheartening how some [people] quickly conclude that spiritual powers are at work whenever they are faced with difficulties that they don’t seem to have answers for. Unfortunately, religious groups take advantage of this and make people go through many harrowing experiences all in a bid to finding solutions to problems that ought not to be in the first instance."