An African man in Koudougou, Burkina Faso was lynched by an angry mob last week after someone accused him of making his genitals disappear.
According to reports, the ordeal started after a fight at a restaurant quickly escalated. One man accused another of casting a spell on him and stealing his penis, and during the fight, he called the police. Before police arrived, however, an angry mob surrounded the accused man, who was reportedly from out of town, and decided to publicly lynch him right in the busy street.
"The police did all they could, but there were not enough of them to control the crowd’s anger,” wrote journalist Cyrille Zoma in Burkina Faso’s Observateur Paalga.
Startling reports claim that this isn’t the first time someone has been accused of stealing another person’s genitals in this region. Yameogo Baggio, a resident of Koudougou and researcher on this topic, says that many times, con artists will tell people that they’ve stolen their genitals as a way to sell them a product.
“Often, con artists take advantage of people’s gullibility and scam them,” said Baggio. “There are usually two or three accomplices who carry out this scam in three parts: first, someone who claims to have magical powers touches a victim and persuades him that they’ve stolen his genitals. Then, another accomplice approaches the victim and drives home the point by saying that if the victim doesn’t buy a specific product, he’ll lose his ability to reproduce. Finally, the victim pays a hefty sum for a Viagra-like medicine that is supposed to make his genitals work again.”
“It had been several years since I had heard of any such cases in Koudougou,” continued Baggio. “There were a few isolated cases in nearby areas about 10 years ago, but they quickly stopped. This time, though, the first cases in the beginning of May were handled very badly: local authorities didn’t intervene immediately to calm the crowds, and a lot of people were caught up in the hysteria. I don’t think the lynching of this man has calmed tensions.”
Local government officials say they are working to put an end to these types of incidents and have even set up crisis centers for people who claim they’ve had their penises stolen.