Facebook Post Sparked Mob Murder; People Kills Alleged Witch

By @jenillecristy on
facebook, reuters
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with a Facebook logo. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A Facebook post sparked outrage to the mob leading to the killing of a woman suspected as a witch in Guarujá, Brazil 86 kilometers from Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city.

According to the Folha de São Paulo report, a local tabloid news outfit called Guaruja Alerta posted on its Facebook page an alert about a woman abducting children and using them for witchcraft. The alert came with a sketch of the said child abductor. The post caused panic to the locals and started a witch-hunt drive.

The victim, 33-year-old Fabiane Maria de Jesus, resembled to the released sketch, thus raised suspicion to people who had seen her. She was suspected to be held responsible for the abductions as posted in Gauruja Alerta page. The suspicion resulted to mob murder after the confrontation and mauling.

Two videos of the lynching was released. On one of the video a woman screaming to the mob not to do what they are doing can be heard. Another conversation where one person said that they had killed the woman and another said that the victim has the same face with that in the sketch on the Facebook post. The video also showed a person riding over the victim's head with his bike, tied her in one hand and dragged her.

After the lynching, some resident called the police. de Jesus was rescued and was sent to Santo Amaro Hospital on May 3 and was diagnosed with very serious injuries. She died in the morning of May 5.

Guaruja Alerta released a statement on their Facebook page saying that the child abductions in their local are always referred to as rumors and that they were just victims of a smear campaign.

The administrators of the new outfit Facebook page denied that they were responsible for the lynching and that the news outfit only released the rumor as a public service but never claimed that the issue of child abduction in relation to witchcraft and black magic is true.

Meanwhile, de Jesus' husband, 40-year-old Jailson Alves das Neves and her cousin and brother-in-law already gave their testimony about the incident to the Guaruja police.

As of this writing, the local police are still investigating on the case.

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