Indonesian witch doctor tries to jinx Bush trip

An Indonesian man claiming magic powers drank animal and snake blood today as part of a ritual he said would jinx the forthcoming visit of US President George Bush.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, mixed their blood with herbs before drinking the potion and smearing it on his face.

“I don’t hate Americans, but I don’t like Bush,” said Pamungkas, adding he believed the ritual would succeed because “the devil is with me today”.

Bush is scheduled to visit the world’s most populous Muslim nation for several hours on November 20 for talks with the Indonesian president and civic leaders at a palace in the hill town of Bogor.

Bush is deeply unpopular in Indonesia because of the US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Muslim and nationalist groups are calling on the government to cancel the trip.

Pamungkas said he believed the ritual – performed less than a mile from the palace – would cause Secret Service personnel guarding Bush to fall into a trance and believe the US leader was under attack, causing chaos.

Sorcery is banned under Islam, but many Indonesians still believe in the practice, which predates Islam’s arrival in the archipelago.

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