Columbian police have arrested a man accused of using the cover of shamanism to extort large amounts of money from people. Operating from the city of Florencia, Caqueta, the man is suspected of having duped up to ten people. One woman who came forward to police said the man had taken $30,000 to prevent a ‘bad spell’.
Allegedly the fake shaman approached people on the street and convinced them to come back to his hotel where he would show them his shaman clothes and accessories. He would then quiz them on their life, gaining their trust before threatening them with spells that would ensure a future of sadness. There was no violence or firearm intimidation, only the threat of a future filled with unhappiness and bad luck. The victims were mainly peasants and merchants.
Anti-extortion Police commander General Fernando Murillo said they were expecting more people to come forward and called on people not to be afraid to report false shamans or witch doctors.
Even though Columbia is majority Catholic, the practice of going to shamans or healers is widespread.