String of Penis Thefts Causes Panic in Congo

Sorcerers are snatching penises again.

Officials in Congo have made several arrests after a rise in penis snatchings.
Reuters reported:

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, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur.

Rumours of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure…

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. The 27 men have since been released.

The local police chief is attempting to soothe the victims on their loss:

“I’m tempted to say it’s one huge joke,” said police chief Jean-Dieudonne Oleko in the city of Kinshasa.

“When you try to tell the ‘victims’ that their penises are still there, they tell you 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?’ ”

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