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article imageS.Africa Man Accused of Murder Had Cooked Head of Relative

By Christopher Szabo     Feb 8, 2010 in Crime
A man has been arrested in South Africa’s North West Province for murder after the cooked head of a relative was found in his possession, provincial police say.
The Independent Online website says the 30-year-old man was arrested after the family of 57-year-old Gopolang Elias Serache reported him missing to the Atameleng police. Police Superintendent Lesego Metsi said:
During their preliminary investigations, the police went to one of the relatives, a 30-year-old man, who was last seen with him. The man informed the police that he took Mr Serache to his house in a wheelbarrow and that he started cutting off Mr Serache's body parts, some of which he then cooked, including the liver and head.
The man, who cannot be named until he is formally charged, told police he killed and cooked his relative under instructions from his ancestors.
The murder has all the aspects of a so-called ”muti killing”, or ”medicine murder,” the aim of which is to strengthen traditional medicines by adding human body parts. In South Africa, traditional herbalists are properly called Inyangas, and in neighbouring Zimbabwe and some other countries, N’gagas.
Wikipedia says anecdotal evidence of such murders exists since the 1800s, and that medicine murders increase in times of economic or political pressure.
Reports of murders relating to witchcraft and officially outlawed traditional practices have recently featured in the South African media.
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