Panic gripped Bomariba villagers on Thursdday after word went round that 40 suspected witches were lined up for lynching in Kisii South District .
The scare was sparked by an alleged discovery of a book containing names of leaders of a witchcraft squad and villagers to be killed.
“It is so scaring to see a book containing witches’ names and victims. They had even drawn a plan to exhume bodies,” a villager who sought anonymity said.
District commissioner Mohamud Maalim warned villagers against taking the law into their hands.
Speaking at Ikoba market where police had moved in the previous night to cool tempers, Mr Maalim said the government would not condone cases of lawlessness.
He said some unscrupulous people were hiding behind witchcraft to settle scores with their enemies.
“All these cases of witchcraft are associated with land issues and none can come out to point out a witch even if asked to. The law is very clear and those who break it will be dealt with severely,” Mr Maalim said.
He asked the residents to solve their differences amicably. “We don’t want unnecessary tension here. We want you to live in harmony. You should not use petty excuses to kill your neighbour,” Mr Maalim said.
Cases of lynching suspected witches are rife in the region, with majority of those eliminated being old men and women living alone.