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article imageItalian expat arrested in Burundi for smuggling human skulls

By Anne Sewell     Nov 11, 2013 in Odd News
Bujumbura - When searching the Burundi home of Italian national, Giuseppe Favaro, police found dozens of human skulls. Favaro had been trying to export the skulls and has been arrested.
According to Burundi officials in a media statement on Sunday, the Italian expatriate, 56-year-old Favaro, has been in custody in the central African nation since late October.
Initially officials at Bujumbura airport found two human skulls in a package that Favaro was attempting to export to Thailand. Police then searched his home and found a further 36 skulls, along with other incriminating evidence.
Police spokesman Helmenegilde Harimenshi told the media:
"We discovered a package at Bujumbura airport containing two skulls, and investigations established it was sent under a false name by Giuseppe Favaro, an Italian."
"Police then discovered 36 human skulls during a search of his house, along with other incriminating evidence," he added.
Harimenshi added that Favaro, who has been living in Burundi for about 10 years, had been buying the skulls for around €40 ($53) each and selling them for €300 ($400).
Favaro apparently hails from the town of Scorzè in the Veneto region of Italy and was previously a dealer in Venetian antiquities. In Burundi, he apparently started selling tribal art, paintings and jewelry, and also exported local raw materials in the mail.
Harimenshi said that the find has shocked the country: "Everyone in Burundi is stunned and shocked by this, because it's the first time we've had such a thing. Even anthropologists stopped doing this kind of thing a long time ago."
It is still unknown what the intended use of the skulls was, and why they were being exported to Thailand. Burundi has now asked Interpol to aid in the investigation.
The Telegraph reports that there has been a suggestion that the skulls could belong to murdered albinos, but this has not yet been confirmed. Reportedly trade in albino body parts is lucrative in Burundi and neighboring Tanzania, due to locals believing that they hold medicinal healing powers.
According to police, three accomplices have also been arrested.
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