Reports of ritualistic killings or human sacrifices in the Democratic Republic of Congo are rare. This is not to say that these crimes are not committed in this huge Central African country (its geographical size equals more or less that of Western Europe, see map). Noteworthy, when decapitated bodies are found ordinary people as well as the authorities immediately think of a ‘ritual crime’.
Also in the case reported below the suspicion of a ritual killing arose soon after the discovery of the headless bodies. Roaming armed groups could be responsible for the killings. Three persons have been arrested and are being interrogated.
According to the article below, suspects in the DRC are often questioned in public before any charges are laid, with the interrogation sometimes broadcast on state television. This constitutes a clear violation of the suspects’ human rights. The rule of law and respect for human rights in the DRC are weak, to say the least (webmaster FVDK).
Ritual killings suspected as 5 headless bodies exhumed in DR Congo
Published: September 30, 2021
By: The Guardian, Nigeria
Five headless bodies have been exhumed at a house in the northeast of DR Congo, Red Cross and civil protection sources said Thursday, one of whom said that ritual killing were suspected.
Three suspects have been transferred to Bunia, capital of Ituri province, where they were publicly interrogated on Wednesday by a military spokesman, an AFP correspondent said.
Musasa Sasaka, the local representative of the government’s civil protection service, described the gruesome exhumation on Sunday, saying the decapitated heads were placed between the victims’ legs — a posture suggesting a possible “ritual crime”.
Relatives had reported the victims missing a few days before the killings in Ariwara, a town of 60,000 people in Ituri province near the borders with Uganda and South Sudan.
One of the five was a radio personality, while another was a motorbike mechanic, according to Sasaka and Franco Envi, the local Red Cross coordinator, both reached by telephone.
A few weeks earlier, the remains of a police commander were found at the same address in similar circumstances, they said.
Under questioning by military authorities in Ituri, a province that has been placed under a “state of siege” because of armed groups, one of the suspects said the killings were carried out under the effects of “spells”.
Another said they had already killed 13 people, adding: “We cut their heads off like goats” in response to a question.
The third said: “We kill those who mistreat us. I killed (a shopkeeper) who owed me money and refused to pay it.”
Suspects in the Democratic Republic of Congo are often questioned in public before any charges are laid, with the interrogation sometimes broadcast on state television.
Ariwara is a major commercial centre some 350 kilometres (215 miles) northeast of Bunia.