Monday, June 9, 2008

Cannibalism in DR Congo: Zainabo's agony


More gruesome than the most horrific ideas Steven King or Dean Koontz.

Some highlights:
Approximately half an hour later, in the middle of the bush at Muvuta Bangi, armed men in army fatigues appear. They are about 18 in number. Only one speaks to the women in their native tongue, Swahili; the others remain silent. He who speaks tells the women to take off all their clothes, after which the armed men examine with attention each of the women?s genitals. What are they looking for? Their war fetish: long vaginal lips. Zainabo is the only one who meets this criterion. Her life is spared; the others are ruthlessly massacred. Zainabo is alive, but is mutilated, the men cut off her prized vaginal lips. As if that were not enough suffering, she is then raped by the so-called spokesman of the group. The others follow his lead. Zainabo, in excruciated pain, believes she will die there in the fields. Instead, she faints.

When she regains consciousness, she sees her attackers sharing the piece of flesh they cut from her loins. They cut into her right foot, her left forearm, and underneath her right breast, in order to extract her blood. Five among her attackers, no doubt the leaders of the group, shallow a mixture of her blood and water, along with pieces of her flesh. After this ritual, they take her and her three children farther into the brush, some 2 kilometers away. Zainabo is totally lost. They arrive somewhere that seems to serve as a sort of kitchen, where she sees human bones. A ?cook? is skewing pieces of a human body over an open flame. Meanwhile, more cooks are heating up oil and water.

The men in uniform seize Zainabo?s two girls, 10-year-old Alima and 8 year-old Mulassi, and submerge them, one after the other, in the barrels. They mix them with a large iron rod used as a spoon and pierce their stomachs in order to ensure a proper ?cooking?. They eat one of the bodies with foufou (a Congolese specialty, dough made of manioc) and they save the other body for later in the night.

The ?spokesman? explains to Zainabo that the ritual is to continue with her body, by cutting into her stomach and placing a piece of wood wrapped in white paper. Zainabo?s baby, he promises, will be spared. Zainabo muster the courage to ask of him one favour: that her body and the remains of her baby be left on the main road, so that someone of good faith may find them and give them a proper burial. The man simply proceeds to cut her stomach open. She faints.

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