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Witchcraft rumors start deadly riot in Congo

Allegations that a soccer player was using witchcraft during a local match in eastern Congo sparked a riot that killed 13 people, a U.N.-funded radio station reported Monday (USA TODAY).

Most of the victims were between the ages of 11 and 16 (Chicago Sun-Times). According to an article found in the Chicago Sun-Times, most of the victims suffocated during the mayhem Sunday in Butembo in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province.

Dozens of teenagers marched through Butembo’s dirt streets Monday in protest, and the regional governor, Julien Mpaluku, paid a visit to the hospital (Chicago Sun-Times). Mpaluku said the government was investigating the riot.

Radio Okapi said police tried to control the violence at Matokeo stadium by firing guns into the air to protect their commander, who was hit in the head and wounded by fans (USA TODAY).

The governor never mentioned witchcraft as a motive to the deadly riot, but confirmed that soldiers had fired into the air to calm the angry crowds at the soccer game. Instead, the shooting provoked panic. Most of the dead were children, only two or three were adults, said sources (USA TODAY).