Avoid dark arts, Chechens told

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The leader of Chechnya, in Russia’s mountainous Caucasus, has ordered a crackdown on faith healers, psychics and sorcerers.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed strongman who runs the overwhelmingly Muslim region, has called on Chechens to steer clear of people claiming to have magic powers.

He said “turning to wizards and false healers won’t bring them any relief and is banned by Islam”. He added that practicing the dark arts was illegal and un-Islamic, and anyone doing so would feel the force of the region’s feared security services.

Many locals believe Chechnya is a hotbed for Islamic spirits drawn there by the destruction from two separatist wars.