Lamest Excuse Ever or Worst Superstition Ever?

Sometimes, humanity can be really barbaric. But usually there's a reason (however irrational): ethnic conflict, revenge, psychological impairment, mob mentality. But the most grotesque and tragic kind of barbarism has got to be the kind bred by stupidity and superstition. Take the case of Kano, Nigeria. The AFP is reporting that child rape is becoming an increasingly regular occurrence there:

In the last six months of 2007 the police recorded 54 reported cases of child rape and made 60 arrests in connection with them. . . This is a radical increase compared to 36 cases [they] recorded in the first six months of 2007. In some cases the victims are gang-raped . . . [T]he suspects are usually between the ages of 45 and 70 while their victims are mostly girls of between three and 11 years.
But wait, it gets worse:
Some rapists mistakenly believe child rape is a ritual that can lead to instant riches, while others think they can cure themselves of AIDS and various sexually-transmitted diseases by having sex with a virgin. . . People rape small girls . . . because their cult leaders tell them that is a precondition of becoming rich. It is a daily occurrence.
What? I'm sorry, but if this is true, it has to be the number one worst superstition of all time. Worse than tossing virgins into volcanoes. Worse than burning witches at the stake. I'd compare these people to suicide bombers, but even that makes more sense. To accept this superstition requires not only an ignorance of basic science (which is common), but also incredible selfishness (or apathy) and detachment from basic human impulses.

On the other hand, if this crazy superstition is just an excuse for regular old depravity, I think it might be the lamest excuse ever. Worse than "the dog ate my homework," or "God told me to do it."

P.S. - How do we expect any amount of financial aid to affect the spread of AIDS in places like these? If this kind of thinking is becoming more accepted as time goes on, no amount of condoms or lecturing will do any good. I hate to be pessimistic, but come on!