Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.
Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread...
Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week... They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.
'Rumours of penis theft...'.
Beware of men with gold rings!
Purported victims claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear,
[not a skill I would be bragging about...]
Jeez. You'd think one salesman could recognise another.in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.
"It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.
Unfortunately, people being accused of this kind of witchcraft (hide your wedding band people!) are being beaten. There've even been 'attempted lynchings'.
Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs.
"I'm tempted to say it's one huge joke," police chief Oleko said.
"But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it's become tiny or that they've become impotent. To that I tell them, 'How do you know if you haven't gone home and tried it?'," he said.
Hmm. Good point. (I think...)