Witchcraft claim leads to deadly soccer riot

A riot broke out at a soccer match in the Congo yesterday, apparently after one of the players was accused of using witchcraft. Thirteen people were killed, most of whom were teenagers. From the Associated Press:
Radio Okapi said police tried to control the violence at Matokeo stadium by firing into the air to protect their commander, who was hit in the head and wounded by fans.

The two local clubs involved were Socozaki and Nyuki System, the radio said.

Dozens of teenagers marched through Butembo's dirt streets Monday in protest, and the regional governor, Julien Mpaluku, paid a visit to the hospital.
"Witchcraft rumor sparks riot at Congo soccer game" (Associated Press)


  1. That’s right… Witchcraft might shrink my genitals, but bullets can kill me right now!

    Be the ball, they said. Bend a ball like Beckham, they said. I’d rather play ping pong.

  2. They’re superstitious beliefs go far beyond being quaint when it starts a riot. Of course this also applies to more mainstream and western superstitions, but still… the shrunken genitals card gets played a bit too much, really.

    Supposing witches did exist and could perform the black arts as they claim, wouldn’t they have something better to do than going around shrinking genitals all of the time?

  3. Wasn’t there a story in the past few years about a referree being accused of witchcraft? It’s a step beyond diving, that’s for sure.

  4. With all respect David…..
    Big fan of BB but I prefer to see posts that are unusual, unique, interesting.
    Posting AP Wire items is a bit of a let down.
    I believe most of us on here are fairly well informed so we would have encountered theses sort of items in our daily news perusal.
    Stick to connecting us to the esoteric, innovative and just plain odd, leave news regurgitation to Drudge.

    Just a thought.

  5. Don’t laugh…even today, Witches/Wiccans in Canada and the US get discriminated against for their religion. Sure, both countries have religions freedom…but only if you are on the approved list of religions!


  6. With a strong enough belief, the world is flat, enigmas mere gods, and we all live forever, and ever, and ever…

  7. “soldiers had fired into the air to calm angry crowds.”

    Must’ve been Opposite Day in Congo.

    Man, I loved Opposite Days, but nobody ever died.

  8. yes, all cultures in the world are equal. This is certainly the kind of diversity we’d like here in the US because, you know, it gives a nice flavor to the big boiling pot.

    Hey, who are we to say there are no witches shrinking genitals or altering soccer matches?

  9. JG @5, Thanks for the attempt at constructive criticism, but there’s only one filter I use when determining whether to post something or not: interestingness. If something is interesting to me, I post about it, and I don’t care if it comes from the most mainstream source around or the most obscure. If you are a big fan though (and we appreciate that), our tastes must be aligned a lot of the time. That’s good news!

  10. Since when do soccer (futbol?) fans need an esoteric excuse like witchcraft to start a bloody riot? Isn’t a missed call by the ref, or an imagined obscene gesture by the wrong player enough anymore? Sheesh, what’s the world coming to?

    (I kid of course. There are enough real reasons in the world for violence, mayhem and riots. I’ll never understand why blood is spilled over ANY sports match.)

  11. They have a lot to learn about the proper way to deal with witches– if you hang them like we did in Salem then you don’t have to worry about riots. Yep, a few hangings puts everything in perspective, keeps the people in line.

  12. Sometimes, I feel very thankful in a very quiet and personal way for the life I’ve lived thus far. To live in a nation where violence is suppressed enough that intellects are allowed to bloom and innovation reaches higher, year by year.

    We all have corruption, of course. But look at this! You’re reading these typed thoughts of some man whom you’ve never met in your life, and who you are highly unlikely to ever meet. We can just sit around like this, strangers, and chat via our sophisticated communication network about the violence the Congolese are dealing with.

    It’s difficult to parse my entire viewpoint, but reports like this do make me very thankful for this life I’ve been given.

  13. So the outcome is that a bunch of soccer fans died?
    Maybe superstition has its upsides?
    (Just kidding, I love futbol. I really do! Put the knife away!)

  14. #2: <sarcasm> Oh those Africans and their quaint beliefs. We shall just have to civilise them, shan’t we? </sarcasm>

    #5: Don’t CATFOTFIC.

    #8: Interestingly, the U.S. army’s actually fairly tolerant, in principal, of Wicca. (See the entry in their chaplains’ handbook.) This is not to say that a Wiccan wouldn’t get similar treatment to the atheist mentioned above by Takuan (#18), but at least in principal and policy the organisation practices tolerance.

    #14: I think you hit the nail on the head there. Football violence is football violence. I’m quite sure the witchcraft accusation was merely an excuse, just as it has very often been for a very long time in human society. The cops really didn’t think here, though, and neither did the idiot who wounded their commander.

    #23: Well phrased. <sigh/>

  15. Before mocking too much, let’s remember the views of a certain VP candidate – and a scarily large amount of her fellow reality-denying Americans.


    Mckng n ds nt prcld th mckng f th thr.

    Bt whn y hv nmpts lk th crrnt RS prsdnt Mbk syng tht ds s csd by bd j-j nd sch lk sy t’s tm th wst bndnd frc.

    Th cntnnt s bskt cs frm tp t bttm.

    sthng pl f sprsttn, crrptn mtltn dcy plg fmn ncmptnc trbl bckrng nd gncd.

    F*ck m.

    bt th nly thng Mgb vr sd tht gr wth s rpns shld stp mddlng n frcn ffrs.

    Lt thm g frth nd wrk t t fr thm slvs.

  17. @ Error404

    By ‘them’ you ,of course, mean we Africans?

    Sure hope we didn’t cause you any inconvenience with our suffering.

  18. @#23 Jzrl


    ” lt f slf-cngrtltry Frst Wrld bckpttng gng n hr”

    Bldy rght, nd wll dsrvd t.

    vr ntcd hw thr hs nvr bn n d pckg frm frc t….wll NYWHR.

    vr ntcd hw n sn r rpn sght rfg stts n frc?

    frc nd frcns hv th ptntl nnt t ll hmn bngs fr thght lrnng nd rtnlty, nlghtnmnt nd prgrss, b t grcltrl r ndstrl, scl sxl r pltcl…. bt t s stll ffctvly th drk gs fr mst frcns.

    sggst tht wt lbrls stp wrngng thr hnds nd plshng thr cncrn,wstrn gvts t gt thr ft nss t f th plc nd lt thm wrk t t fr thmslvs.

    Mllns my d n th prcss… bt gss wht? hndrds f mllns hv dd n th lst 20 yrs frm strvtn nd ds nd NTHNG th wst dd chngd th ndrlyng rsns fr ths dths.

    gnrnc sprsttn rlgs zltry trblsm grd nd ndffrnc.

  19. JZRL.

    Np y ddn’t cs m ny ncnvnnc n th lst.

    nd dn’t try th “Thm” thng t nly wrks n glty wstnrs wh ctlly blv tht y…tht s t sy y frcns r th wht mns brdn, nd trmtclly nfntls yr whl cntnnt s chldrn wh nd lkng ftr.

  20. Error404,

    “Africa and Africans have the potential innate to all human beings for thought learning and rationality, enlightenment and progress, be it agricultural or industrial, social sexual or political…”

    Wow, that’s really progressive of you. I’m a real boy, I’m a real boy!

    Let me just outline the rest of the argument so that we don’t actually have to go through it…

    I’ll bring up colonialism. You’ll say stop blaming us, it’s so last season. I’ll say ‘Wow
    it’s sureee fun inflicting 400 years of brutal oppression on a continent and not so fun dealing with the consequences. You’ll say that now Africans have power and look what they’ve done.
    I’ll say your momma’s ugly. You’ll agree.

    It’ll be awesome.

  21. ERROR404, I think he also meant the “them” in “f*ck ’em”.

    And by that he means us.

    Fuck you, too.

    That out of the way, let’s start with some rational responses:

    #26: Arabic imperialism, followed by European colonialism, followed by U.S. imperialism, followed by Chinese imperialism?

    #28: Mbeki entertained some marginal medical views that AIDS was caused by malnutrition and other medical factors rather than HIV. This was still extremely wrong and very likely resulted in a lot of unnecessary suffering and death, but get your facts straight. Please.

    The rest of #28 is just venomous bigotry that I feel no need to respond to.

    #30: The west got itself where it is by climbing over the bloody corpses of people like Africans. This goes for the last century as much as the time before. There is nothing “well deserved” there.

  22. And by the ‘Them’ comment I was merely pointing out the fact that you’re not talking about some tribal ‘ju-ju’ wielding monkeys here.

    You’re talking me and the people I live and work with.

  23. “You’ll say that now Africans have power and look what they’ve done.

    I’ll say your momma’s ugly.”


  24. Jezrael & Kieran O’Neill –

    I’ve read down the thread, but still cannot find what it is you’re upset about. Your entire argument appears to be “shut up you filthy westerner and keep sending aid packages to Africa.”

    So you can take your tiny little righteous indignation and stick it.

  25. r y dn yt wth yr Bd Whty rnt?

    Hr’s th thng, whn s t VR gng t b bt frc dng fr th frcns?

    sd tht frcns cn d ll f th thngs ndd.

    t s ntrly n thr hnds.

    nd wht d gt?

    “Ww, tht’s rlly prgrssv f y. ‘m rl by, ‘m rl by!”

    Nw thr sy y nd ll frcns hv th cpblty t d ll tht s ndd nd gt chrctrsd rthr bzzrly s ptrnlstc bgt, r sy ll frcns r bsclly chldrn wh nd Whty t d t fr thm…nd gt clld ptrnlstc bgt.

    t sms tht y gt t cry bgt n mttr wht th sttmnt.

    S whch s t?

    Wll frc cntn s bskt cs lrchng frm fmn t cvl wr t rlgs /trbl gncd t th nxt dsstr?


    Cn frcns fd ll thr wn nd b wrld ldrs?

    nd cn y jst stp ths Whty dd bd bd thng nnsns.

    f y nvk slvry thn y wll hv t ccpt tht t ws frcns sllng frcns, s wh’s th bd gy thr?


    S nyhw, hr w r.

    sd fck m…sr, s m xsprtd t th shmbls f frc.

    h srt f n “h fck t” t th whl sttn rthr thn n ndvdlly wrppd nd prsnl fck y t y.

    Cnstnt ptrnlstc rpn ntrfrnc hs dd n n, sy rp t, lt frcns sttl t.

    Yh tht’s m lst f th rd ht rcsts, wth my crzy crzy ds f slf dtrmntn dctn nnvtn nd slf rlnc fr ll th ppls f frc.

    Bgttd ntns f lctng ppl wh r nt bhldn t th MF Wrld bnk Wshngtn r Mscw, wh ctlly pt thr wn pl frst , hd f nw Lprd skn dmnd ncrstd ht, r bldng slss drm cts n th mddl f dsrts, r prnncng thmslvs Gd mprrs whl thr cntry mn strv.

    S rcst mncs lk my slf r ll fr th mprvmnt f frcs lt n th wrld.

    Nxt thng ‘ll b sggstg tht t mght b gd thng nt t lct th nsn r sttl ny cnflct lng trbl lns r cndct rlgs wrs r ct t th gntls f grls r rthlssly xplt ppl nd kll thm whn thy bcm ncnvnnt.

    nd s fr ths fntsy tht th wst rds n th bcks f frcn crpss, t’s pwrfl mg bt t s nt ctlly tr.S frcns sllng frcns nt slvry p thrd.

    Y my gt chkd p bt tht mg nd fl ht trs prck yr ys nd fl mr “nvlvd” wth frc…. bt tht s jst wht lbrl hnd wrngng.

    t mks y fl bttr bt bnfts n frcn n ny wy shp f frm.

    frc s n trrbl stt.

    2 chcs, frc cn d t thm slvs, nd crv t plc fr thmslvs, r th wst cn mddl.

    nd sng s t’s bn whtys flt ll lng, why wld y rjct th d tht WHTY mght wnt t gt thr nss t?

    Cn’t gt t bth wys.

  26. @RJ:

    I think what they (and I) am upset about is the attitude that all Africans are lazy, stupid, uneducated masses who want aid but aren’t willing to do any work.

    If you’ve ever been to Africa, you’ll know that’s not true on just so many levels.

  27. @Error404:

    “Now either I say you and all Africans have the capability to do all that is needed and get charecterised rather bizzarely as a paternalistic bigot, or I say all africans are basically children who need Whitey to do it for them…and get called a paternalistic bigot.”

    Yeah, I see what you’re saying. But it wasn’t what you said that characterized as a paternalistic bigot, so much as the way you said it. It really did come across as incredibly patronising.

  28. Krn ‘Nll


    #28: Mbk ntrtnd sm mrgnl mdcl vws tht DS ws csd by mlntrtn nd thr mdcl fctrs rthr thn HV. Ths ws stll xtrmly wrng nd vry lkly rsltd n lt f nncssry sffrng nd dth, bt gt yr fcts strght. Pls.

    h stnd crrctd, t s mprtv tht , pstr n Bng Bng gt th xctly crrct gbbrsh tht Mbk gt th S gvt t gv p fnds fr n fvr f drgs prvn t hlp DS sffrrs.

    Wht dd sy?… bd j-j.

    Yh, ‘m th bd gy n ths lttl vnt.

    cld nt b bthrd t wrt t th xct flvr f gbbrsh, whch ncdntlly knw n dpth nd prfctly wll, jst dcdd t ws nt wrth rptng.

    Bt ‘m bvsly sm wht gy s t s mprtv t pbrd m bt ths nd blthly glss vr th NSNTY f th ldr f th Sth frc pblcly spsng ths HRS SHT nd csng ctly lttl fwcn ppl t fckng D.

    thnk t s mr mprtnt tht ldr f n frcn stt hs ll whls n cntct wth th rd t ll tms.

  29. @Error404: I said *attitude*, not “quote”. And it’s not all coming from you, either (although to be honest, it mostly is).

  30. @Error404:

    “But I’m obviously some white guy so it is imperative to upbraid me about this and blithely gloss over the INSANITY of the leader of the South Africa publicly espousing this HORSE SHIT and causing actualy little afwican people to fucking DIE.”

    I think you’ll find that some of us are white, too… and as Kieran himself said, Mbeki was still wrong. Not all of us are too keen on his stance on AIDS either, or on a lot of other things.

  31. CJ

    sttmnt f th nnt cpblts f ll hmn bngs t b bl t d wht vr s ndd.

    Tht ws …ptrnsng?

    s thr srt f dmntd lbrl nvrtr dmn tht lvs n yr r ?

    S f n frcn sys, nythng t s btfl nbl nd shld b md nt n nsprtnl pstr, prhps hv t lmmntd, whl nythng ny n wh s…lt’s sy… WHT, sys s tmtclly vwd n th wrst pssbl lght?

    Srt f n d fltr tht mks vrythgn snd srcstc?

    Hll thy’r wht ppl, wh’d blv wrds thy sy?

  32. CJ

    @rrr404: sd *tttd*, nt “qt”. nd t’s nt ll cmng frm y, thr (lthgh t b hnst, t mstly s).

    ddly f ddn’t t ny pnt sy frcns r lzy nd wnt hnd ts fr nthng.

    Bt ddly y gt tht vb frm m tN PNT syng ny sch thng…. tht cn nly mn tht ths thghts wr….cmng frm y!!


    CryptRcst, Thght Crmnl. Whty!!

    S wht hppns whn w stp ctlly dlng wth th fcts f wht ppl sy?

  33. Error404, you’re looking more and more trollish as this goes on. You’ve certainly started a flamewar, in which you’ve done most of the flaming.

    I’d be a lot more inclined to engage with you if you could adopt a civil tone.

  34. @#33 Kieran O’Neill

    And I quote, verbatim….

    “Fck y, t”

    #47 Kieran O’Neill

    “I’d be a lot more inclined to engage with you if you could adopt a civil tone”

    Yet it is my tone is not civil?

    Oddly I don’t take kindly to “Fck Y” Keiran.

    So I would advise you to get your own house in oder before you call me a troll.

  35. You do understand that that was a direct response, and delivered fairly dryly? Otherwise, I think I’ve kept my temper. You’ve got 11 posts in a 48-post thread, each of which is several paragraphs long, and each more hysterical than the last.

    Calm down. You may have a point somewhere amongst the vitriol, but it’s a little difficult to find right now.

  36. And how does a “direct reponse” excuse saying Fck y to someone?

    Especially to subsequently advise that THEY adopt a civil tone?

    Yes I have posted a lot on this thread, in “direct response” to being called a bigot and a racist, to having words attributed to me wrongly.

    My points are clearly and well made, there is no vitriol.

    Vitriol is abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will

    I was sarcastic, even caustic, and I do heap derision on a lot that has been said on here, but at no point was I vitriolic.

    Vitriol wouldbe to open an argument with an insult directed at the person not their argument, say such as…. FCK Y.

    And who made you the postings monitor?

    It’s the internet dear boy, it’s not like you have to pay for this “electric Paper” that we have all written on.

    and that wasn’t vitriol either, that was snide piss taking.

  37. #31 Krn

    “Th rst f #28 s jst vnms bgtry tht fl n nd t rspnd t.”

    Th rst f #28 ws

    sthng pl f

    sprsttn… wtch dctrs nd mgl pns thvs.

    crrptn…nm m n frcn stt nt crrpt t t’s vry cr.

    mtltn..fml crcmcsn

    dcy……s pns thvs.

    plg ….DS s csd by ftg Mr Mbk, s ls dct/sprsttn

    fmn…frmng prctcs r mdvl, nt fln rprtd bt lt f th fd prblms n frc r xcrbtd by trdtnl nd whlly wrng frmng prctcs tht prsst n th fv f ctstrph.

    ncmptnc…mn Mgb Sn Brr Bkss Mbt…cld ls b fld ndr dcy.

    trbl bckrng tht n s srly slf vdnt…k Bfr Rwnd

    gncd….S Rwnd.

    Bt Krn fls tht nn f ths nds t b rspndd t.

    ‘m sr ll th ppl wh dd d t ny ths pnts wll wrmly ppld yr dcryng m s vnms bgt.

    r myb thy’d rthr nt b dd?

  38. The “fuck you” was a “fuck you, too”, and was said in anger. Sorry – I shouldn’t have fed the troll.

    Which is worse, saying “fuck ’em” to an entire continent of 900 million people, or one of those people responding by saying “fuck you, too”?

    Hand-picking selective examples to justify such a broad, sweeping statement is just bad logic. The equivalent would be to say that because there are neo-nazi street gangs in Scotland, Scotland is a “seething pool of fascism”. I’m definitely *not* saying that.

    As for the rest of post #28, you left out “The whole continent is a basket case” and “Fuck ’em.” Those don’t sound like clearly or well made points at all. They do sound like “abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will”.

    Nobody has been screaming “whitey”, “crypto-racist”, or any of that nonsense. That’s purely projected on your part. The argument about charity and aid has so far consisted of you putting up a strawman and then hacking it to pieces, with not one word on the matter from the other side.

    Your tone, which in your own words is caustic, derisive and snide, and which seems to be directed at the entire African continent, isn’t helping you on the bigoted front, either.

    And lastly, there were one or two mildly sarcastic comments from Jezrael and I on the mildly patronizing tone some of the posts took, yet our posts were still on-topic. What you have done is hijack the discussion thread as a means of venting your personal (and rather distasteful) views about Africa and Africans.

  39. Considering that America has had hundreds of years to educate itself and only 40% of the population accept evolution we need to cut Africa some slack.
    Of those Americans that are fundamentalist, belief in Satan and also widespread belief in demons and witchcraft shows that it’s a difference in degree rather than kind.

  40. Error404 @50:

    Yes I have posted a lot on this thread, in “direct response” to being called a bigot and a racist, to having words attributed to me wrongly.

    When you collectively denounce the entire continent and all its inhabitants on multiple issues, you have to expect that people will take it that way.

    I certainly have. Some of your comments are about to suffer for it.

    You’re better on other topics.

    My points are clearly and well made, there is no vitriol.

    First, those are orthogonal characteristics. Second, you’re wrong.

    I was sarcastic, even caustic, and I do heap derision on a lot that has been said on here, but at no point was I vitriolic.

    You would have to have pinpoint-precise control of tone to be able to indulge in sarcastic, caustic, and derisive speech, while remaining sure you hadn’t strayed into being vitriolic.

    You don’t have that kind of control — or that degree of control, either.

    And who made you the postings monitor?

    No one. That’s my job. I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back now.

    Just so you know, Antinous has my full backing. He’s also smarter than you are.

    It’s the internet dear boy, it’s not like you have to pay for this “electric Paper” that we have all written on.

    It’s Boing Boing, old chap, and the moderation guidelines are linked from the main page.

    and that wasn’t vitriol either, that was snide piss taking.

    You wish.

    Must try harder.


    And with her vorpal disemvowellor in hand, and wit sharpened to a razor edge, she leaps straight out of the hospital bed and sets to work!

    Welcome back!

    (I’m really really sorry about this whole flamewar – I’m sure I’m at least partly responsible, and you’re supposed to be resting.)

    It’s great to have you up and about, though.

  42. Kieran @56, it’s great to be home again, even though I’m being all whiny and nitpicky just now.

    Antinous @3, mustn’t be unkind to those less fortunate.

    JG @5, I’m sure you don’t mean to sound like you have Internet Affective Disorder.

    FarrellMcGovern @8, we prefer no .sig lines.

    WickedAshTray @12: And what was that supposed to be in response to?

    Ill Lich @15, some of those were my relatives. (I can also tell you’re joking.)

    RJ @36, I’m fairly sure you’re misreading Jezrael and Kieran. I can see how it would be hard to sort out the arguments, though, with Error404 throwing introducing so much noise into the channel.

  43. TNH welcome back!! I hope you’re doing well.
    You must be feeing better.
    Good to see you pickin’ those nits again!

    Good to read your input as well.
    I thought this grease fire needed a bit more napalm tossed on it!

  44. Keiran posts a “F*ck you” to me, and it doesn’t get disenvowelled, not even the U, but when I repost his “F*ck you” after he scolds me for my lack of a politeness it does get disenvowelled, that seems crazy.

    Get well soon

  45. #3 Antonius

    “Like exactly the opposite?”

    Well before I ever said anything.

    #60 Antinous

    “You’re referring to Economics?”

    Well after I’d been snipped.And not even refering to me.

    #55 THN

    Just so you know, Antinous has my full backing. He’s also smarter than you are.

    I have no idea what that means. I give my full backing to Greg Palast, I think he’s a lot smarter than you (seeing as I don’t know you I wouldn’t presume, unlike yourself.)

    But I don’t see how our confident endorsements of these two fine individuals pertains to anything that was said/disenvoweled.

    Get well soon.

  46. I am a Witch (Wiccan style) and I really can do all the things I claim. Not, of course, the things that other people claim. I make it a policy to claim only what I can actually do.

    Shrinking someone’s genitals has never been a big priority for me, I must say. However, should the need arise I would apply cold water like anyone else; and if the enlarged genitals lasted more than four hours I would urge the hapless victim to seek immediate medical attention, and stop abusing the little blue pills.

    And yes, I have used magic to make someone’s genitals grow larger (with his consent, of course).

    I have no idea whether my use of magic (note: not a fan of the appended ‘k’, which I regard as an affectation) could influence a soccer game, and I never will know, because I regard such interference as deeply unethical and have in fact sworn an oath never to do magic that is baneful, coercive, or manipulative.

    Use of magic by the players can absolutely influence a match. Nearly all players of any sport do some kind of magic to help them win; it’s the nature of athletics. I’m counting the “lucky socks” and so forth.

    And it’s certainly true that being a Witch can lead to discrimination and even violence. People have been burned out of their houses for it IN THIS CENTURY. I myself lost at least one job because of my religion; Margot Adler was passed over for host of All Things Considered because NPR was afraid Jesse Helms would really go after them if they had a Witch in their top spot.

    But all this is tangential, since Wicca is not the kind of witchcraft at issue in this story, and the accusations were probably entirely baseless, like the ones that killed some of Teresa’s relatives.

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