Zimbabwe sorcerer's home explodes, killing him and 4 others

Neighbors were afraid the sorcerer, known in the West as a witch doctor, had been manufacturing lightning, a Zimbabwean superstition. Army officials say they found no trace of a bomb or accelerants.

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Police in Zimbabwe say they are investigating a massive explosion at a tribal sorcerer's house outside the capital, Harare.

Police officials said Tuesday the blast killed five people.

The sorcerer, often known in the West as a witch doctor, and a man seeking to improve his failing finances were among the dead, witnesses said.

The explosion damaged 12 nearby houses in the Chitungwiza township.

Witnesses said crowds began sprinkling salt on nearby streets and sidewalks afterward, a traditional belief to ward off evil spirits.

Army bomb disposal experts told neighbors they found no remnants of a bomb or gasoline or gas containers.

In Zimbabwe superstition, sorcerers can use lightning, common during current rainstorms, to eradicate enemies. Neighbors told reporters they feared a "lightning manufacturing process" was being carried out Monday.

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