A Church group and villagers yesterday burned two “houses of evil” in Dogotuki Village, Macuata, Vanua Levu.
They claimed that witchcraft, practised in these houses, had been responsible for the death of 20 men in the village.
More than 300 villagers watched with interest as the houses and traditional artefacts went up in flamesto drive away evil spirits.
The event was part of the spiritual cleansing crusade in the chiefly village by the Christian Mission Fellowship (CMF) Church in the Northern Division led by Reverend Setereki Vuki.
The relics included a number of tanoa (wooden grog bowls), bilo (coconut bowls), shark’s teeth and a pig’s tusk. The houses burned were old and vacant. Both young and old braved the cold windy morning to watch the event.
Reverend Vuki, during his sermon, said the Bible expressly condemned all forms of witchcraft.
“The Bible has a lot to say about witchcraft. Witchcraft and its many cousins, such as fortune-telling and necromancy (practice of claiming to communicate by magic with the dead), are Satan’s counterfeits to holy spirituality,” he said.
“Since early times, people have sought supernatural experiences that God did not endorse. The nations that surrounded the Promised Land (Israel) were saturated with such practices, and God had stern words for His people concerning any involvement with them.
“God takes witchcraft very seriously. The penalty for practising witchcraft under the Mosaic Law was death.
“We don’t need to fear Satan’s power, but we should respect it and stay away from it,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the vanua, Vitina tribe’s chief, Peni Cavuilagi, said it was an important step for the village and was bound to bring positive change to the people.
“In villages, we have our belief that God is with us so why not? We have to encourage them because a good, clear mind will attract positive changes,” Mr Cavuilagi said.
“To make changes in life you need a holistic approach, to change the way you think, the way you live, the way you look and the way you walk and it has to start from somewhere.
“The houses that burned down to the ground were believed to have been used for witchcraft.
“They were believed to have caused the death of 20 men in the village. You see that most of the items used for yaqona consumption are closely linked with sorcery,” he said.
A resident, Wainiqolo Tamani, claimed evil spirits were seen in the fire and their presence were felt when ‘sorcery’ items went up in flames.
“I never seen anything like this before, I was and am still amazed of how the Word of God can work in people’s life,” Mr Tamani said.
“Overconsumption of kava was a topic discussed during this evangelical approach to the people. The decision to quit yaqona would be up to the individuals.
“The decision to drink yaqona or not rests on each individual as we have to respect their rights. They say that faith can move mountains and I believe that this step that we have taken today is bound to bring positive changes to the people.
“Cannot wait and see what the rest of the spiritual cleansing week holds in store for us,” he said.
The 21-day spiritual cleansing work will end on July 22.