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By Robert L. Iroga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 11) – An angry mob burned down nine houses in a Guadalcanal village in what police described as a payback attack over sorcery claims.

The incident occurred at Bokororo village, Aola District, last Thursday.

[PIR editor’s note: Aola district is on Guadalcanal’s north coast, at the end of the island’s road system.]

Reports say the attackers vented their anger after one of their tribesmen was struck down by a sorcerer (known as "vele" in Guadalcanal) from another tribe.

Police confirmed the incident yesterday, describing it as the first major arson to have occurred on Guadalcanal since the ethnic tension.

A spokesman said seven dwelling houses and two locally built kitchens were torched by the mob.

"They were angry and turned on the man, his relatives and their houses," police told the Solomon Star.

Sources said it was just fortunate that the homeowners fled when their houses were set alight, otherwise someone could have been killed.

"The entire village was on fire – it looks very frightening," a source said.

Police said they have arrested three people in connection to the incident and charged them with arson.

The trio appeared in the Central Magistrate Court yesterday.

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