Last Monday, a curious Vervet monkey wandered into a settlement just south of Johannesburg in South Africa, and was promptly killed for being a witch.
Tebogo Moswetsi, a resident of the village of Kagiso, told the Star newspaper that he was awoken in the morning by friends and told about a monkey that was making it’s way through the settlement and “talking to people”.
The villagers, frightened that the animal was a practitioner of sorcery, chased the frightened monkey into a tree, yelling “kill that witch!”, while they pelted it with stones and the police shot at it.
Moswetsi, who had joined the hunt out of curiosity, climbed into the tree and retrieved the monkey for the crowd.
“I feel guilty, I shouldn’t have taken it down from that tree. I dropped it down after someone poured petrol on it. I had no choice,” Moswetsi said.
The mob then tossed the “witch” into a bucket and lit a match, burning the creature to death in an end that has angered fellow residents, and gained the attention of animal rights groups.
Cora Bailey, manager for the Community led Animal Watch group (CLAW), was called to the scene after police failed to respond, describing the incident as “devastating”.
Bailey explained to reporters that the animal was likely confused due to deforestation or separation from it’s group.
“It was a quest to find a family,” she said.
More info at The Times.