10-year-old boy believed to have been killed in case of human sacrifice

10-year-old Jeevan Kohar

10-year-old Jeevan Kohar

One of the 11 people arrested on suspicion of murder is reported to have confessed, saying that his sick child was under the “spell of a ghost”

(AFP)   A 10-year-old boy in south-western Nepal was killed in what villagers described as a case of human sacrifice.

Local media reports said the father of a sick teenager had last Tuesday lured away the 10-year-old, Jeevan Kohar, with a packet of biscuits and the promise of 50 rupees (32p).

The suspect then reportedly slit the child’s throat on the advice of a shaman (traditional spiritual healer), who said his own son’s health would improve if he committed the crime.

Later on Sunday that police arrested 11 villagers on charges of murdering the boy.

“We have arrested 11 people, including four women, for murdering a ten-year-old boy,” said Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, police superintendent of Nawalparasi district where the incident took place.

“All the villagers say the boy was killed in a case of human sacrifice, because the suspects were superstitious and believed in witchcraft,” Mr Upadhyaya told AFP.

“But we cannot confirm anything until our investigations are completed,” he said.

According to a report in The Himalayan Times, one of the suspects, who confessed to the crime, believed that his sick child was under the “spell of a ghost” who could only be “pacified with human flesh”.

The newspaper said his home was later destroyed by residents who found out about his confession.

Other media reports suggested four others had confessed on Saturday.

Shaman healers and mystics are a common presence in the Himalayan nation, especially in remote villages with poor access to healthcare.

Government officials said they would fight against such superstitions.

“[It’s] very unfortunate what happened. From the government level, we are going to launch [an] awareness programme against these superstitions in the villages of Nawalparasi district,” Hari Prasad Mainai, Nawalparasi’s chief district officer, told CNN.