AFRICA/DR CONGO - The tragedy of outcast children accused of witchcraft

Monday, 3 April 2017


Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) – Outcasts accused of witchcraft : thousands of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rejected by their families, accused of practicing black-magic, bringing bad luck or just because of a nervous tick, are subject to all sorts of maltreatment and even sent away by their families. To escape maltreatment many run away from home. The phenomenon concerns the most vulnerable, orphans and street children. According to reports received by Fides , some 30,000 children live on the streets of the capital city Kinshasa.
The accused children are subjected to sessions of so-called purification or exorcism used in certain Pentecostal communities where it becomes a business whereby pastors grow rich and families rid themselves of troublesome or embarrassing children. After the exorcism is performed and paid for and the pastor confirms that the child a witch, the family can hand it over to the community. Even when children are said to be healed, most families refuse to take them back and the children are left to fend for themselves on the streets, eating what they find in refuse dumps, begging or stealing. The girls are forced into prostitution . (AP) (3/4/2017 Agenzia Fides)