PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- At least 45 people, most allegedly voodoo priests, have been lynched in Haiti since the beginning of a cholera epidemic, officials said.
The cholera outbreak hit Haiti after the January earthquake that killed about 220,000 people, but angry mobs are now blaming the voodoo priests for spreading the disease, CNN reported.
"People who practice voodoo have nothing to do with the cholera epidemic," said Max Beauvoir, the head of a voodoo organization in the Caribbean country.
Forty of the victims were found in one area in southwest Haiti; some were killed with machetes and some were burned alive by mobs that used gasoline and tires to fuel the fires, the report said.
Haitian Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Lassegue said the victims were targeted because of "misinformation" circulating that voodoo practitioners were spreading cholera through witchcraft.
"It was necessary to increase awareness of the disease and educate the population countrywide instead of getting into a religious war that has no ending," Lassegue said.
A cholera outbreak since the earthquake has killed more than 2,000 people, health officials said.