Police arrested 11 villagers in southwestern Nepal after finding the body of a boy with his throat slit, whom they believe was the victim of a human sacrifice.
Kodai Harijan, 35, his brother Suryabhan Harijan, Bijay Harijan, shaman Ganga Harijan, neighbor Rudal Harijan and four others were arrested after police in Nawalparasi found the decomposing body of Jivan Kohar, 10, of Kudiya Thursday.
Kohar—who had been missing since Tuesday-- was found dead with his throat slit on the bank of the Patera river, the Kathmanadu Post reported.
The newspaper said Kodai had confessed to killing Kohar "to chase away the evil spirits" from his own ailing son, Bijaya, on the advice of a village shaman.
Kodai allegedly solicited the help of family and neighbors to lure the boy to an isolated place with a pack of biscuits and 50 rupees—or less than $1, Sky News reported.
Police believe the man then performed a religious rite, killed Kohar, and dumped his body in a bush.
"All the villagers say the boy was killed in a case of human sacrifice, because the suspects were superstitious and believed in witchcraft. But we cannot confirm anything until our investigations are completed," said Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, police superintendent of Nawalparasi district where the incident took place.
The father believed that his sick child was under the "spell of a ghost" who could only be "pacified with human flesh," The Himalayan Times reported.
Villagers have suspected that the same group might be involved in the disappearance of another boy, Punarbasi Harijan, 14, from the area last year. The teen lived in Kodai’s neighborhood.
More than 80% of Nepal's 28 million people are Hindus. Many frequently sacrifice animals such as goats or buffalo to appease the gods. Shaman healers and mystics are commonly consulted in the Himalayan nation, especially in remote villages with limited access to healthcare.