'Witchdoctor' Charged With Murder Of Five Family Members In Fiji
A man, believed to be a witch doctor, has been charged with murdering five members of the same family in the Fijian highlands.
Fiji Police on Monday laid charges over the deaths of Nirmal Kurmar, 63, his wife Usha Devi, 54, their daughter Nileshni Kajal, 34, and Kajal's daughters Sana, 11, and Samarah, eight, last month.
The family members were found dead at the bottom of a cliff in the Nausori Highlands, in a case that has shocked and baffled Fijians.
Police discovered the bodies of two adults and two children in the highlands of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, on August 26, later discovering a fifth victim a few metres away.
According to police testimony and local reports, an eyewitness first raised the alarm when they found a one-year-old baby crawling roadside near the scene of the alleged crime.
The baby, referred to by local media as the "miracle baby", has since been released from hospital.
The five victims were found with no visible injuries, and police said a post-mortem examination showed their deaths were caused by ingesting an allegedly harmful substance.
The father of the two child victims told local outlet the Fiji Sun, his father-in-law -- who was also among the deceased -- was interested in witchcraft.
"I never saw anyone or any family so much into witchcraft than my in-laws," he said.
"I used to see my in-laws and other witchdoctors making a doll from dough and poking needles in it. I always took my daughters away into the bedroom.
"My wife and daughters were obviously also dragged into it."
Three days after the victims were found dead, investigators questioned a "person of interest" who is known to the family.
Local outlets identified the person of interest as being a man with permanent residency in New Zealand. According to the Fiji Sun, a police officer involved in the investigation said he is believed to be a witchdoctor.
The man has reportedly been released from custody, but he and his wife have been issued with a court order to prevent them from leaving Fiji while the deaths were investigated.
It was enforced after a court rejected an application to detain them for longer than 48 hours, under Fijian law.
On Monday, police announced they had charged the person of interest with five counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
He is expected to face Nadi Nadi Magistrates Court later on Monday.