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Benin cult priests charged over anti-voodoo prayer deaths

COTONOU, Feb 17 (Reuters) Four Christian priests from a Benin anti-voodoo cult were arrested and charged today for their suspected role in five deaths during prayers held last month in anticipation of the end of the world.
The followers of the "Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname" died after they were instructed to seal off their prayer rooms, burn incense and charcoal and wait for the world to end, residents and a survivor told Reuters. Others were treated in hospital for severe breathing problems.
The four priests were charged with manslaughter in the capital Porto Novo and were sent to prison pending trial.
The group's young woman leader, Vicentia Chanvoukini, known as "Lady Perfect" and considered a god by her followers, was not charged.
"Those who died are not really members of the church, they are people who came to test us," she told local radio.
The cult, which denounces Benin's local voodoo culture, has thousands of followers in the small West African country. There have been several violent clashes between the Baname followers, who often wear red scarves to identify themselves, and members of other faiths since 2009.
About 40 percent of Beninois follow voodoo, which includes worship of royal pythons at the country's pink Temple of the Python. Voodoo also enjoys its own national holiday.
Voodoo traditions endure despite efforts by Christian missionaries to stamp them out in centuries past. Today, many Christians and Muslims in Benin incorporate traditional African beliefs into their faith.
REUTERS CJ PR2039
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Aussie deputy PM to face leadership challenge

22 Feb 2018 | 2:15 PM

Canberra, Feb 22 (UNI) Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will face a challenge to his leadership when Parliament resumes on Monday, Xinhua news agency has reported.

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NK's Kim Yo-jong baby rumours fascinate SK

22 Feb 2018 | 1:18 PM

Seoul, Feb 22 (UNI) The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un told officials in the South that she was pregnant during a recent visit to the Winter Olympics, South Korean media reports say.

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'You’re an idiot': Hungary’s FM blasts Luxembourg counterpart

22 Feb 2018 | 1:05 PM

Budapest, Feb 22 (UNI) Hungary’s foreign minister has branded his Luxembourg counterpart “an idiot” in a row over immigration, according to an Euronews report.

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Turkey warns of grave consequences in Afrin-Syria

22 Feb 2018 | 12:52 PM

Ankara, Feb 22 (UNI) A spokesman for Turkey’s president has warned of grave consequences after pro-Syrian government forces moved into Afrin in the north of Syria.

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Explosion at US embassy in Montenegro

22 Feb 2018 | 12:39 PM

Podgorica, Feb 22 (UNI) There has been an explosion at the US Embassy in Montenegro, the government said, according to a BBC News report on Thursday.

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