Blast at sorcerer’s house caused by explosives

Updated at: 01/30/2013 9:37 AM

(AP) 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.

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