December 19, 2009

Four Needles Removed From 'Ritual' Boy's Lung

Doctors in Brazil have removed four needles from a boy's lung after he was reportedly subjected to a month-long series of bizarre rituals.

The two-year-old boy is said to be in a stable condition after the

five-hour operation at a hospital in the northeast city of Salvador.

But a spokeswoman said he will require further surgery

to remove dozens more needles measuring up

to two inches long still lodged inside his body.

"He's OK, the surgery was a success, he's doing fine,"

said Susy Moreno.

The boy's stepfather has confessed to inserting the needles

after being advised to perform a ritual killing.

Police say 30-year-old bricklayer Roberto Carlos Magalhaes

admitted pushing supposedly "blessed" sewing needles

into the child's body because his lover told him to while in a trance.

The rituals were performed over a period of one month

to try to keep the couple together, Magalhaes

reportedly told detectives.

His girlfriend Angelina Ribeiro dos Santos paid a woman

who practiced the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble

to bless the needles, inspector Helder

Fernandes Santana said.

Doctors believe there may be up to 30 needles lodged

in the boy's body.

Magalhaes and dos Santos have both been arrested.

They have been taken to an undisclosed location for their

own protection after a mob threw stones at the

police station where they were being held.

The alleged abuse came to light when the child's

mother took him to hospital after he

complained he was in pain.

Police and medical staff concluded it would

have been impossible

for the boy to have ingested the needles,

which x-rays revealed

were in his abdomen, one leg and his spine.

Afro-Brazilian religions practiced in the South American

country have no ceremonies, rituals or practices involving

harm to people, said the University of Brasilia's director

of African-Brazilian studies, Nelson Inocencio.

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