Authorities have discovered the bodies of 18 young women in the capital city of Cameroon in a string of murders believed to be the work of ritual killers, UPI reported on Thursday, February 28.
The bodies had been dismembered with reports of missing breasts, eyes, and kidneys.
One of the girls was 17-year-old Michele Mbala Mvogo, CNN noted, adding that her corpse was found with four other bodies outside a kindergarten school.
Mvogo’s grief-stricken sister, Deborah Ngoh Tonye, said someone had removed her sister’s genitals, tongue, eyes, hair, and breasts.
The murders have triggered a wave of panic for the two million living in the West African city of Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital.
CNN pointed out that until 1970, Cameroon ritual killings were commonplace, but a growth in education suppressed much of the gruesome activities. However, recent years have witnessed an uptick.
Most recently, a family of seven were reported missing near Nigeria.
Today, safety officials advised women to travel in groups, and families were told to lock their doors.
Meanwhile, men have organized vigilante groups that travel at night seeking out those responsible.
For 41-year-old Sarah Ewang, a jewelry trader in Bamenda, the crimes are nothing new to the region.
Ewang, in a statement to The Global Press Institute, said she had come close to preceding the victims.
“I came so close with ritual killers…. God delivered me from the hands of those evil men,” Ewang said, adding that her brush came in 2005 on a business trip to Douala.
Once there, she entered a taxi cab with two men. The men drove ahead and picked up another woman before pulling a pistol on Ewang and their second passenger.
“I tried to shout, but one of the men slapped me very hard,” Ewang said.
Ewang’s journey extended deep into the forest coming to an end at a hut where she and the other woman were approached by four men carrying cutlasses.
Ewang said she cried out for her life in her native dialect of Bakossi. “Oh my God, I will die and leave my three-months-old daughter to who?… Oh God, please come and help me.”
After that, Ewang added, one of the men must have recognized her dialect and been from the same tribe. As a result, she was driven back to Douala with the second woman from the cab and accompanied by “the ritual killers.”
Once back in Douala, the man holding a gun on her said, also in Bakossi, “fluency in your dialect has saved your soul.”
“Go and look after your three-months-old baby,” the man added. “Extend my greetings to her. Tell her that her forest uncle sends his greetings.”
What do you think drives one to commit gruesome ritual killings like these or cannibalism as seen in the April 2012 case of a trio of killers who made empanadas from their victims?
And do you think these murders are the work of ritual killers, or are some of the crimes unrelated?
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