Thursday, February 14, 2013
A witch doctor has been arrested in the Congolese town of Kwenge last week. Authorities decided to take the man into custody after a Community Radio station reported that he had been scamming several locals. The fortune teller told the victims they were possessed of the devil. In exchange for 'curing' them he demanded goats, chickens, money and clothing. 'Community Radio in Congo once again proves that it is capable of tracking down these charlatans', jokes Leon van den Boogerd, team-leader at Free Press Unlimited.

Unfortunate fortune teller
A local priest found out about the fraud and told the man to stop his activities, but the swindler ignored him. Locals informed journalists who sent out a warrant for the man's arrest on the radio. The unfortunate fortune teller heard this warrant on the local radio station and decided to run. The police was able to arrest the witch doctor before he could escape from the community.

Community Radio in Congo plays a role of social protection
Stories like these are often considered funny by people who live in western countries. Nevertheless, this is a good example of the role of social protection that Community Radio plays in Congo. 'Thieves are getting caught regularly and stolen goods or cattle are given back to their rightful owners', says Van den Boogerd. The Community Radio training-center in the central Congolese town of Kiwkit opened its doors last year. For most people in the vast rural regions of Congo, radio is the only source of reliable news.