Africa

Nigeria police arrest traditional priest after laying curse

St Philip Catholic Church Ozobulu Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The killing of 13 people at the St Philip's Church last year was thought to be connected to rival drug gangs

A 94-year-old traditional priest has been arrested in Nigeria after cursing the alleged perpetrators of a recent spate of violence.

Anazo Ilomuanya was hired by a group of youths attempting to end killings affecting Ozubulu town, in the south-east of the country, police say.

The police arrested the traditional priest after local people complained.

The conflict, thought to be between rival drug gangs, led to the killing of 13 churchgoers last year.

It is believed that the perpetrators mistakenly thought the intended target of the attack was attending the St Philip's Church.

At the time, police said the shooting was the result of a feud between Nigerians from Ozubulu who were living abroad and that the violence could be linked to drug-trafficking.

"The youths of the town, under the name of Concerned Indigenous People of Ozubulu in seeking a means to end the killings, consulted the traditional priest to lay curses on the people involved," police spokesperson Haruna Muhammed told BBC Igbo.

But others in the town were unhappy and reported the priest and the youths to the police, Mr Muhammed added.

Those arrested are due to appear in court, but it is unclear what they will be charged with as it is not a crime to lay a curse on someone under Nigerian law.

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