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Fear grips South Africans amid cannibalism case

IANS | Johannesburg |

Fear, grief and anxiety has gripped South Africans amid news that seven men suspected of cannibalism appeared in a South African court on Thursday.

Angry residents gathered outside the courthouse in the rural town of Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal province, as the case was adjourned until October 12.

“I can confirm that the seven accused of cannibalism appeared in court on Thursday. However, investigations are going on,” Xinhua quoted Natasha Ramkisson, a police spokesperson from KwaZulu Natal.

It is the state’s case that the accused, all in their 30s, are charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and possession of human parts, Ramkisson said. One of the accused is believed to be a traditional healer.

“It’s hard to believe the news. How can a normal human being eat another person? The world is coming to an end,” Thembakadzi Nwenya, a university of Witwatersrand student said.

Professor Gerard Labuschagne, clinical psychologist and former Head of the SAPS’ specialised Investigative Psychology Section, said people who eat human flesh usually have mental health problems.

“In my experience, it usually has nothing to do with muti (medicine) rituals, as is often believed,” he added.

On August 18, one of the daring suspects approached a police station while carrying a bag containing a human leg and a hand, and confessed to the police officer, he was “tired of eating human flesh.”

After his confession, the police escorted him to his house where more body parts were found.