Nigerian mob burns two suspected fetish killers

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LAGOS, Oct 23 (Reuters) A mob has burned alive at least two people in Nigeria suspected of killing people for body parts used in rituals, police said today.

Trouble started following a rumour that fetish killers had kidnapped a little boy in Ikire in the southwestern state of Osun yesterday.

Coming after the body of a woman was found in the town on Saturday with her genitals removed, news of the kidnap spread fast, prompting youths to go on rampage.

They pursued some suspected ritualists to the palace of the local chief where they ran for safety.

''The youths set the palace ablaze after the staff refused to release the suspects to them. Two people were killed,'' said a police spokesman. They also torched several vehicles on the palace premises. An investigation has started.

Local media put the number of people burned at four.

Killing for rituals is common in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, where many believe witchcraft involving the use of human organs can make them instant millionaires, or provide protection.

Nigeria is roughly split between Christians and Muslims, but many mix these foreign faiths with traditional beliefs.

Reuters GL DB2146

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