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Nepal: Fungus Foragers Convicted Of Beating Deaths

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eople walk as pigeons fly in Katmandu Darbar Square, a world heritage site in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) | AP

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A court in northwestern Nepal has convicted 19 villagers for the beating deaths of seven people from a rival community in a dispute over foraging for a rare fungus known as 'Himalayan Viagra.'

The Manang district court said six of the defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison, while the remaining were sentenced to two years.

Residents of Naar village attacked the seven rivals in June 2009 after they came to nearby mountainous areas to collect yarsagumba, a rare fungus that grows out of the corpses of caterpillars. It can fetch thousands of dollars per kilogram for its reputed effects as an aphrodisiac.

The court reached its verdict on Tuesday.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – A mountain village court has convicted 19 villagers for the beating deaths of seven people from a rival community in a dispute over foraging for a rare fungus known as 'Himalayan Viagra.'

The Manang district court said six of the defendants have been sentenced to 20 years in jail while the remaining have been sentenced to two years.

Residents of Naar village attacked the seven rivals from a neighboring district in June 2009 after they came to nearby mountainous areas to collect yarsagumba, a rare fungus that grows out of the corpses of caterpillars. It can fetch thousands of dollars per kilogram for its reputed effects as an aphrodisiac.

The court reached its verdict on Tuesday.

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