14/10/2010 01:15:03
New Bell: Woman Hassled Over Witchcraft
«Mbamba» was tortured for hours by crowds which accused her of merciless witch practices. Observers have described the scene as "more dreadful than Mary Magdalene's, some 2000 years ago, in the city of Galilee.
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Last Sunday noon, an enraged mob paraded a weary old woman, half naked, along the streets of the New Bell neighborhood in Douala, for close to two hours, reproaching her of reeking witch practices. The furious prosecutors said "Mbamba" as the more than 80-year-old woman was fondly called, had mysteriously swallowed several children at the New Bell locality, and lures many pregnant women to enigmatic miscarriages.

"No pregnant woman finds peace in the neighborhood," said one of the actors. "In their dreams, nearly every expectant woman gets involved in a titanic duel with the old woman. Children scream and pant in their sleep, pronouncing the name of the same old folk. We have lost more than four healthy children in the locality, and different soothsayers have named "Mbamba" as the cause," the young lady, who had sweated from neck to waist, recounted.

The perilous screams had begun as early as 11 a.m, when men, women and children shrieked and squealed to the top of their voices, clanging and banking on every billboard, rusted irons and zinc sheets, planks and Indian bamboos, along the main streets. They chanted and danced, forward and backward, hurling pebbles, dry leaves, pieces of cloths and newspapers against the octogenarian, who panicked and staggered helplessly, under irretrievable pressure mechanised by the brutal crowd.

Age had really victimised "Mbamba", who moaned and quivered with an antic rucksack slung across her chest. The old woman had become as bald as a retired monk; had lost every tooth, and the least taste of beauty. Hundreds of undulated cracks and gullies had robbed her jaws and forehead, rendering her countenance a spider web. Her breasts and buttocks, which were contemptuously sheltered with a tattered piece of polyester, seemed to have gradually melted, with time, leaving her wiry trunk perched upon the sunky hipbones. 'Mbamba's puny eyelids had also been inundated by the tumbling eyebrows, through which she peeped, and beckoned for rescue. With her rheumatic-bruised limbs, "Mbamba" marched less than 30 meters per hour, cursing and swearing.

The "skimmington" ride was only interrupted by 1 p.m. at the Carrefour Shell New Bell when the mobile intervention police squad cut in. Observers have described the scene as "more dreadful than Mary Magdalene's, some 2000 years ago, in the city of Galilee. At press time, the accused was too weak to talk.

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