Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hunchbacks Cannibalized after CIA Assassinates Two Liberian Presidents

The Ugandan government recently issued a warning: Ritual murder is on the rise.

Within the last week, if we have successfully untangled several stories that may in fact be the same confused tale:

* In Bwaise, a suburb of Kampala, capital of Uganda, a witchdoctor was arrested (and has since died after being attacked by a mob) along with at least 9 others in connection with the ritual murder of 3 persons after severed legs were found in a latrine. Before dying, the witchdoctor, Musa Bogere, led police to a decapitated rotting corpse in a swamp where multiple dog carcasses were later discovered.

* In Sierra Leon, 14 people were arrested in connection with a corpse that "was missing its heart, tongue, breasts and sexual organs."

A special task force has been set up in Uganda to battle the troubling trend. Children, albinos, pregnant women, and hunchbacks are the favored victims, generally found with missing body parts that have been consumed in West African juju-marabou rituals.

Even more horrifying than last week's news: 3 people in Bibiani were arrested last August for eating a hunchback's "hump". Apparently, multiple victims were found, carved alive and bled to death.

In nearby Liberia, presidency comes with related risk. In 1980, President William Tolbert was either beheaded, disemboweled by future President Samuel Doe, or shot by the CIA, depending on which story you choose to believe. President Samuel Doe, in turn, was stripped naked and had his ears cut off before being murdered, all videotaped by captors sipping Budweisers -- captors supposedly let loose on Doe by, you guessed it, the CIA.

Now the world-weary authors and readers of LoS are probably not shocked by CIA incriminations nor bolted upright by tales of ritual murder (although the eating of hunchback humps while the victims lay bleeding to death is, you have to admit, particularly shocking), there is an element to all this that just doesn't seem to jive with our jaded attempts at understanding such depths of human horror.

Namely, cannibalism--like Holy Communion--is intended to convey some powers of the victim upon the consumer. Indeed, the idea behind the eaten victims detailed in this posting seems to be that the eater will be endowed some particular successes. In Tanzania, for example, "more than 40 [albinos] have been killed since 2007, sometimes right in front of their families, by gangs of men who hack off legs, heads or genitals and run away with them. In the last two years, rumors have spread in East [sic???] Africa that potions made with albino blood, shoes made of albino skin, tendrils of albino hair woven into fishing nets and amulets with albino body parts will make people rich."

Yet juju-marabou seems to single out albinos, hunchbacks, and the mentally disabled as proper ritualistic murder victims because they are believed to be evil.

How then, we wonder, does the consumption of evil bless the cannibals?

But before we get too smug in our attempts to outwit cannibals via logical debates on blogs, we should do well to remember that murder is leading cause of death of pregnant women in the U.S.A.


  1. Googling "juju-marabou" yields some interesting results. Seems like a very important factor in a variety of political and criminal contexts. Any belief system which could inspire such brutal murders is a powerful weapon indeed.

    You've heard of General Butt-Naked? He was a Liberian warlord heavily into ritual murder....

    Hate to overgeneralize, but Africa is a seriously fucked-up continent....

  2. I hadn't heard of GBN, tho' I'd heard of RUF, which has ties to Liberia. There's something esp. horrifying in his believe of personal forgiveness.

    Still curious, though, about the eating of people considered evil. The eating/sacrificing of innocents (e.g., children, Jesus) seems to fit the cross-cultural pattern, but sacrificing *evil* seems to be generally done for forgiveness ... or have I been reading reading too many "throw the virgin in the volcano" tales?

    Juju-marabou, however, seems to invoke this practice for good luck or fortune.


    Parallels to the "classic" cannibals eating British explorers?

  3. I'm not sure if the fact the victims are considered "evil" is the crux. It seems to be that the cannibals are after the supposed powers of the victims; if their evil that just one more bonus: get the powers, get rid of an evil presence....


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