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.