|Subject: AFP: Three suspects arrested for
killing of Timorese "witches"
Wednesday, January 10, 2007. 10:32pm (AEDT)
Three suspects arrested for killing of Timorese "witches"
East Timor police have arrested three people on suspicion of the murder and burning of three women accused of being witches, officials say.
The three women, aged 70, 50 and about 25, were killed and their house torched on Saturday evening in Liquica, about 40 kilometres west of the capital Dili.
"Regarding the Liquica incident where three women were killed ... police have arrested three suspects," United Nations (UN) police spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues told AFP.
Police say the victims had been accused of being witches and were attacked by unknown people.
"The forensics team from the national investigation department attended the scene and the victims' bodies were removed to Dili Hospital mortuary for autopsies," Ms Rodrigues said, adding the investigation was continuing.
There were spates of arson attacks during unrest in 2006 but this is believed to be the first such case involving witchcraft accusations in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
Unrest in April and May last year led to the deaths of at least 37 people and forced about 15 per cent of East Timor's population to flee their homes.
Stability has largely returned to the fledgling nation following the arrival of foreign peacekeepers at Dili's request and the installation of a new government in July headed by Prime Minister Dr Jose Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
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