Democratic Republic of Congo
Cannibalism has existed in the DRC for generations and still takes place in the bush. The indigenous pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are literally being eaten out of existence. Anti-government rebel groups that hide in the jungle, particularly the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, consider the pygmies to be just animals and they hunt them for food. Others actually believe that their flesh can confer magical powers, and so they are sometimes killed for that reason as well. Due to all of the mistreatment and cannibalism, many tribes of pygmies have completely gone out of existence, and others are threatened with total extinction.
The latest practice of cannibalism morphed into a demoralization technique employed by rebel armies during the first and second Congo Wars in order to keep the villagers subservient and according to my sources was directly related to the number of skirmishes between rebel and governmental forces in the Eastern part of the country. No one who has spent time in East Africa would deny the existence of cannibalism in the Congo but most individuals consider it a delicate topic, like incest and politely refrain from discussing it unless specifically asked to do so.
Amuzati Nzoli, refuses to tell his story unless he’s paid. The story is that he watched a group of rebel soldiers cook and eat his family in 2002: “They even sprinkled salt on the flesh as they ate, as if cannibalism was all very natural to them,” he said at the time. His account – and the sensation it caused – helped to mobilise the international community. The United Nations Security Council denounced the “cannibal rebels” and sent a peacekeeping force. What Amuzati saw exactly in the clearing the day his family was massacred. “They were cutting them the way they cut meat,” he tells me. Amuzati watched as his mother, Mutandi, his younger sister, Salam, his older brother, Mangbulu, and his nephew, 5- or 6-year-old Zipoa, were dismembered by rebel soldiers. Amuzati says he never saw anyone eaten, although he’s certain that’s what happened after he ran off into the jungle.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor ordered his militias to eat the flesh of captured enemies and U.N. soldiers, a former close aide testified in 2008 at Taylor’s war crimes trial. “He (Taylor) said we should eat them. Even the U.N. white people — he said we could use them as pork to eat,” Joseph “ZigZag” Marzah, who described himself as Taylor’s former death squad commander, told the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. In 1989 the First Liberian Civil War erupted. In 1980, Samuel Doe headed a coup d’état to overthrow the government.
The war began in 1989 because Charles Taylor, a former government minister, moved from a neighbouring country with the intention of starting an uprising meant to topple the government headed by Doe. Those who supported Taylor were named the Armed Forces of Liberia. In 1990, these forces executed Doe in the capital Monrovia. Civil Wars have been a common occurrence throughout history, but what makes the Liberian Civil Wars so notable is the presence of cannibalism.
By delving into the life of Joshua Milton Blahyi, otherwise known as General Butt Naked, we can truly see the barbarism that occurred during the wars. He told the South African Star that before leading his troops into battle, he would ‘get drunk and drugged up, sacrifice a local teenager and then drink the blood’. This was due to the fact that Blahyi claimed to regularly meet and talk to Satan and sacrificing a victim for battle and the fresh blood as a result of this would satisfy the devil. Usually a small child’s blood was most agreeable. He admitted to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that ‘he would enter the water where children were playing, grab one and break his neck. Sometimes accidentally, sometimes just to slaughter them’. In his confession to carrying out human sacrifices, after killing an innocent child they would pluck out the heart, divide it into pieces and share it amongst his troops. This ritual meant that in addition to war fatalities, they also produced a high death toll outside of battles.
Central African Republic
Reports of cannibalism and other horrific acts of violence surfaced in the Central African Republic in 2014 as Christian militias went on the rampage following the resignation of the country’s Muslim president. Shocking photographs emerged in the same year of a cannibal by the name of Mad Dog eating the flesh of a lynched Muslim man for the second time in as many weeks. In one, ‘Mad Dog’ – real name Ouandja Magloire – cut a portion of meat from the body of a murdered Muslim lying burning on a roundabout in the capital of the Central African Republic, with the body of another a few yards away. Another photograph showed him licking a bloodied knife as he stands over a body, wearing the same T-shirt he was pictured in during the previous act of cannibalism.has said he did it because he was looking to revenge the death of his family.
He has said he did it because he was looking to revenge the death of his family. Ouandja Magloire told the BBC that his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law and her child were all killed by Muslim militiamen, and he wanted to avenge their deaths. He led a mob that dragged a Muslim man from a bus in the country’s capital, Bangui, stabbed him to death and then set his body on fire.
Forced cannibalism, gang rapes and death by burning are among the atrocities marking the brutal civil war taking place in South Sudan, according to an African Union (AU) report. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war, making it the world’s youngest nation. But it has been embroiled in conflict since December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his fired deputy, Riek Machar, of trying to oust him through a coup. Since then, militias loyal to both men have battled against each other. The nation divided along tribal lines — the Nuer community backs rebel leader Machar, while the President is from the Dinka tribe.
“I have seen people being forced to eat other humans. Soldiers kill one of you and ask the other to eat the dead one. Women are raped, people burnt. I was a student in Nairobi, Kenya — I am not a military.” Most of the atrocities were carried out against civilians with no active role in the conflict, the commission found — by both sides. It said the use of child soldiers was “pervasive” and had been witnessed by commissioners during their inquiry.
You can Donate to keep African Explorer Magazine running: