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Dismembered Head Linked To Witchcraft Killings

Panafrican News Agency, 8 August 2000

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (PANA) - Police have recovered a dismembered human head believed to be that of a male victim, in the latest incident related to witchcraft murders in Tanzania.

The head was recovered at the weekend in the southern region of Mbeya, where murderous gangs had camped in 1999 to conduct an illegal interstate business in human skins.

A local news agency, the Press Services Tanzania, quoted regional police commander Laurian Sanya as saying that the head had been recovered at Kasumulu village, in Kyela district.

He said the victim's eyes had been dislodged and the head skinned, pointing to the resurgence of the human skin business which police had reportedly repulsed.

Mbeya came to the limelight in 1999 following the prevalence of the illegal business, which had links in Zambia, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several lives had been lost before Tanzanian police, acting together with their counterparts in neighbouring countries, managed to stamp out the murders.

The human skins and other body parts, including vaginas and penises, are said to be in demand by sorcerers who use them to make powerful concoctions, which are potent enough to make the rich richer, and the mighty mightier.

No arrests related to the latest incident have been made so far.