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Leader of United Seychelles, 1 Tanzanian man and 6 Seychellois charged in witchcraft case

The accused will reappear before the courts on November 3. (Seychelles Nation)

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(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged eight individuals including Dr Patrick Herminie, the leader of United Seychelles, the main opposition party, in an ongoing witchcraft case.

The other individuals who have been charged are Alli Said, a Tanzanian national, and six Seychellois –  Yvon Legaie from Ma Joie, Jules Radegonde from La Digue, Kenneth Evenor from Grand Anse Mahe, Simon Dine from Anse Aux Pins, Marcel Naiken from Baie Lazare and Bashir Umarji from Quincy Village.

The accused were summoned to court for the charges of being in possession of anything intended to be used for the purpose of witchcraft, conspiracy to exercise witchcraft, counselling and procuring another person in exercising witchcraft and soliciting any person to advise on any matter for any purpose whatsoever by witchcraft.

Seven of the accused signed a SCR30,000 ($2,094) bail bond for their release while the Tanzanian national remains in police custody.

The Tanzanian national was arrested by the authorities at the Seychelles International Airport on Thursday, September 21, in possession of a number of items that have been linked to witchcraft.

Among the items were black wooden artifacts, stones, small bottles of brownish liquid, an assortment of powders, and a number of documents with strange language and symbols that were described as demonic and satanic.

It was through police interrogation of the Tanzanian national that the names of the five Seychellois suspects were mentioned and subsequently apprehended.

Herminie (1st right) with seven others appeared in court on Monday. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

Herminie told reporters on Friday that when he asked about why he was being arrested for witchcraft, the police responded by telling him that his name had appeared in a Whatsapp exchange between a Seychellois and a Tanzanian man.

Dr Patrick Herminie, who earlier this year expressed his intention to stand as a candidate for the presidential elections in 2025, said that his arrest was a politically motivated attempt to destroy his image and that of his party.  

The accused will reappear before the courts on November 3.

The witchcraft case is related to the investigation of an incident where two dug up corpses were discovered on August 8 at the Takamaka cemetery on the main island of Mahe.

The bodies of an elderly woman and a young man were found next to a pyramid composed of blocks and pieces from other graves, as well as the images of President Wavel Ramkalawan, Herminie, and two other individuals, who were not named by the police.

Furthermore, the prosecution has said that the symbols on the documents found in the Tanzanian’s possession were similar to symbols found in places that were vandalised in Seychelles among which were Catholic churches around the island. 

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