23 Feb 2006

Witchcraft feared in Fiji baby disappearances

8:08 am on 23 February 2006

Witchcraft is now feared to be the reason for the disappearance of the bodies of two babies from the morgue at Lautoka Hospital in Fiji's west.

The Fiji Sun says doctors at the hospital admit there is a possibility that the missing bodies could be used for witchcraft.

But they say there is no evidence from within the hospital to prove this.

Relatives of the first baby whose disappearance was discovered on Monday say they believe a cult is operating from the hospital.

They say there is no other reason why the bodies of premature babies would disappear from the mortuary.

Sailosi Natadra, the grandfather of one of the babies, says indigenous Fijians know that dead babies who have not set foot on the ground are powerful tools for witchcraft.

The health minister, Solomoni Naivalu, says he is baffled by the disappearances while the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says they are bizarre.