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Blast at sorcerer’s house caused by explosives

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

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)