Zim Diaspora

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Zimbabwe "witches" to undergo psychiatric tests

BY AP

HARARE, Zimbabwe –  Court officials in Zimbabwe say two self-confessed witches who claim to have flown on a magical grain threshing basket are to undergo medical and psychiatric examinations.

Prosecutors said Thursday two women were arrested earlier this month after they were found naked in the yard of a home in the town of Chinhoyi, 110 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of Harare. The women are charged under witchcraft laws carrying the penalty of a fine.

In local belief, the flat, traditional hand-held winnowing basket is equivalent to a witch's broomstick in Western fable.

Officials said a Chinhoyi court on Wednesday set another hearing for July 11 to hear medical reports and testimony from tribal healers.

The middle aged women claimed the basket "ditched" them in the yard after a naked night ritual nearby.

Belief in witchcraft and tribal superstition is common in Zimbabwe.