Christians in Bangladesh who were accused of practicing witchcraft narrowly escaped being burned to death earlier this month.
On Nov. 5, a group of young Muslims burned the homes of the said Christian families in Kamarpara, Panchagarh. The Bangladeshi Christians, who recalled how the Muslims hurled bricks at their houses and publicly abused them, were accused of witchcraft, according to a UCA News report cited by Charisma News.
"For more than a year, Muslim youths from a neighboring village accused us of practicing witchcraft and told us to leave the village …" Charisma quotes victim Ramni Das' statement to UCA. "They wanted to kill us by burning us alive, but we managed to escape. We have lost everything."
Abul Hossain, a chairperson of a local government organization in Bangladesh, testified that the victims of the burning are good people. The official also said he had publicly announced that the witchcraft accusations were not true, but the extreme efforts to kill the Christian families still continued, Christian Today reports.
The incident on Nov. 5 is not the first time that such a level of persecution happened in the region. In 2014, seven elderly Christians in Tanzania died at the hands of the mob. Jafari Mohamed, the chief of police in the region Kigoma, told Agence France-Presse that the villagers had accused them of practicing witchcraft and burned them alive. Some of the victims were hacked to death, he said.
Authorities detained some people suspected of carrying out the mob killings. Discovery News said the local witchdoctor was one of those arrested.
In the same year, at least 1,200 locals attacked Sajjad Maseeh and his wife Shama Bibi. The people reportedly picked up the couple and threw them inside a brick furnace.
For now, the Bangladeshi Christians' attackers are believed to have escaped. The local authorities are doing what they can to serve justice to the families and raise money to help them start new livelihoods.