Published January 30, 2013
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Police in Zimbabwe say they have found traces of explosives at a tribal sorcerer's house where a massive blast killed six people and damaged 12 nearby buildings.
Police official Charity Charamba said the sorcerer and accomplices, one of them a former police officer, were suspected of trying to extract a compound of mercury sometimes used in the manufacture of explosive materials.
Five people, including the sorcerer, sometimes referred to in the West as a witchdoctor, died on the spot on a township outside Harare on Jan. 21 and the sixth died later. Neighbors at first feared the explosion was a traditional ritual to produce a deadly lightning bolt meant to strike down enemies or evil spirits.
Charamba said mercury compounds are often believed to fetch huge prices on illegal markets.