Peruvian villagers burn alive on a bonfire woman accused of being a witch

By @vitthernandez on
Traditional Witches
A group of traditional witches (Kandelhexen) dance around a bonfire during their traditional "witches sabbath" carnival performance in the Black Forest village of Waldkirch, Germany, February 6, 2016. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

A 73-year-old Peruvian woman was burned on a bonfire on Sept 20. The Shiringazu Alto community sentenced her to death because she allegedly made people sick using witchcraft.

Because the community is located in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest, authorities learned of the incident only now, says Prosecutor Hugo Mauricio. A witness provided Mauricio a cellphone video of the incident showing the hands of Rosa Villar Jarionca tied while a pile of dry logs and branches surrounded her.

A man is seen in the video dousing the log and the woman with gasoline. Another man throws a lit match on the bonfire, while Villar’s screams are heard, reports New York Daily News. The villagers burned her body on the pyre for three days so there would be no traces of the incident, says Mauricio.

However, authorities located some bones when he and 20 police officers visited the area and got some evidence of the burning. Other proof of the sentence exists since the decision to burn Villar was written by hand in the community’s log book and authorities saw the entry. The decision states majority of community leaders voted to burn the old woman to be an example to members of the Shiringazu Alto against the damaged caused by Villar’s alleged practice of witchcraft, reports Associated Press.

The community is part of Mauricio’s jurisdiction under the Puerto Bermudez district of Peru’s central rainforest. It includes 300 indigenous communities where it is common for people to accuse others of practicing witchcraft even if the rest of the global community rely more on medicine and science to explain ailments.

The backward way of thinking is because of the lack of strong government presence in Peru’s remote areas as residents hardly have access to justice, health or education.

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