Riots at trial of ‘cannibals’
Police force back crowd hurling insults at three men acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up crowds hurling insults at a group of men accused of cannibalism.
More than 500 people gathered outside the magistrate’s court in Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday as the men sat inside, hiding their faces with hooded tops and their hands.
Authorities originally charged seven men after police said one of them had walked into a police station in August with a human leg and a hand. Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said yesterday he had confessed that he was tired of eating human flesh.
The court acquitted three of the men yesterday on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, saying there was a lack of evidence. The other four were held in custody and the case adjourned until October 27.
“We have not charged them with cannibalism, as no such charge exists as far as I know,” Mbele said.
“No one has seen them eating any of the human parts they had in their possession, but we are still investigating,” she said.
Officers were also investigating the suspects for the offence of possessing human remains, said Mbele.
Police blocked streets outside the court. They fired tear gas and grenades to keep the crowds at bay as security officers drove all seven men back to jail – the three acquitted men were released later.
Members of the crowd shouted back at officers. “Where were you when they were eating people?” said one.
Some protesters told local media they feared missing loved ones may have been eaten.
Others have linked the deaths with witchcraft. –
MAYHEM. Police push protesters back using stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets after seven alleged cannibals appeared in court in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday.
ACCUSED. The alleged cannibals in the dock yesterday. They face charges of murder and attempted murder in Estcourt.