Last week we looked at the case of the German cannibal Stefan R. who made the early 2022 news when was finally sentenced to life imprisonment for killing and probably eating a man he met on a dating site in September 2020. Justice takes its time. That was our first cannibalism news story for 2022.
Two weeks before THAT, I reviewed 2021 and declared it “THE YEAR OF THE CANNIBAL.” I guess that was tempting fate, since we now have three cannibalism stories in the news in the first two weeks of 2022. Looks like in 11.5 months, we may have to call 2022 the YEAR OF EVEN MORE CANNIBALS.
The German cannibal
Stefan R and mystery of the missing penis. Read about it here.
The Brazilian cannibal
Serial killer who ‘ate eyes and ears of victims’ captured in Brazil.
Djalma Campos Figueiredo, 46, was arrested in Brazil this week. Figueiredo had already been sentenced to 42 years in prison for several other murders and was on the run.
9th Military Police Battalion officers (Brazil’s preventive police force) captured Figueiredo, 46, in the city of Cuiaba in Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, on Tuesday night, January 11. He had already been sentenced by the Court of Justice of Rondonia in the city of Porto Velho to 42 years in prison for several counts of aggravated murder. An arrest warrant for a pending sentence of 26 years and four months in prison was issued against him on September 30 last year. The total number of his victims is still unknown.
According to the Civil Police (Brazil’s investigative police force), Figueiredo would eat his victims’ eyes and ears and drink their blood after killing them. Most of the killings took place in and around the city of Ji-Parana, in the state of Rondonia.
The Nigerian cannibal
Meanwhile, the Zamfara (NW Nigeria) State Police Command arrested a 57-year-old man, Aminu Baba, for allegedly eating and selling human body parts.
Ayuba Elkana, the state Commissioner of Police, paraded the suspect before journalists on Thursday, where Baba stated that he had conspired with three other people, who usually sold the parts to him at the rate of 500,000 nairas per body (about $1,200 US).
The suspected accomplices were identified as Abdulshakur Mohammed, 20; Buba, 17; and Tukur, 14. The suspect and his collaborators were apprehended based on information from the public. Elkana said,
“On December 12, 2021, around 2pm, one Ali Yakubu Aliyu reported at the Central Police Station, Gusau, that his son, Ahmad Yakubu, 9, was missing. On December 28, 2021, around 9.30am, police detectives received an intelligence report with regards to the earlier report, that on the same date around 9am, the corpse of a human being was found in an uncompleted building at the Barakallahu area, Gusau, with the two hands and legs tied with rags, and the head covered with a polythene bag.”
An autopsy on the body found that some of the little boy’s body parts had been removed. Baba was arrested on January 4. The second suspect, Abdulshakur Mohammed, confessed that he had procured the body for Baba and received N500,000, the third time he had done so. Mohammed, Buba and Tukur had tricked a victim into going with them into an uncompleted building, where they killed him and removed his intestines, oesophagus, genitals and eyes.
Mohammed claimed that the parts were taken to Baba, who gave them N500,000.
Aminu Baba is a father of 19 and husband of three women, and a prominent businessman dealing in cars and other vehicles at Aminchi Motors Gusau. The police commissioner said Baba had confessed to the crime, adding that his admissions were assisting the police in the arrest of other members of his gang. He added:
“The suspect further confessed that he usually ate the body parts and identified the throat as the most delicious part. He also sold some of the human parts to his customers. Exhibits recovered from the suspect included intestines, oesophagus, penis and two eyes.”
The Nigerian daily Blueprint Newspaper thundered:
“By being vigilant, we could save lives of those who may be lured into the abyss and also protect the main victims whose blood will be used to water the fortune of their prosecutors.”
The carnival of cannibals
Brazil has been a centre of cannibal stories since the term was invented by Columbus, mispronouncing the name of the Caribs, a little further north in the Lesser Antilles. Brazil is the home of the Tupinambás, a nation for whom cannibalism has never been a source of shame. They were depicted in the film Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês (How tasty was my little Frenchman) and, rather less sympathetically, in slasher cannibal soft-porn movies like Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals. Cannibalism as a metaphor for the rich exploiting the workers was presented in a Brazilian context in the 2018 movie The Cannibal Club. Away from the silver screen, a gang of people calling themselves “The Cartel” were sentenced recently for killing young women and selling their flesh in salgados (salty, deep-fried pastries).
Africa is also a favourite site for fantasies of cannibalism since colonial times. The movie District 9 portrays Nigerian criminal gangs who trade with captive aliens from another planet, and hope to learn how to use their weapons. They want to eat the protagonist of the movie, because he is turning into an alien. From the newspaper headlines, we had reports last year of a commercial driver in Ebonyi biting off and swallowing the fingers of a urban planning inspector, as well as a propaganda war over who was responsible for the cooked human carcasses found at the camp of a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Why are there so many reports of cannibalism these days? As we lurch from crisis to crisis, is our faith in the modern religion of humanism being eroded, so that we become just another prey animal for those who seek flesh? Is the voracious hunger that is the heart of modern consumerism overflowing the artificial walls of species?