Democratic Republic of Congo – Cannibalism in the Modern Age?

I’m incredibly skeptical of this story simply because of a Universiy teacher of mine who furiously claimed to us that cannibalism was a racist myth invented by evil British Imperialists. He was, I think, inspired by the book “The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy” by William Arens. However, a quick glance at the cannibalism wikipedia page suggests the debate may have moved on since the late 90’s and I assume it will be attened to further in the comments section of this piece.

In short it appears that France 24 are reporting an act of cannibalism as a weird form of vigilante behaviour amid what sounds like continuing mob rule and civil war in the region:

Recent fighting between government forces and rebel groups has dramatically destabilised the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the night between December 2 and 3, a barbaric scene unfolded in the capital Goma, in North Kivu province.

Five men were attacked and killed by a mob in the middle of the night in the city’s northern Majengo neighbourhood. A FRANCE 24 Observer who works for a local radio station was at the scene the following morning and saw burnt corpses. FRANCE 24 journalists have viewed footage filmed that morning showing people crowding around the corpses and a young girl biting off a piece of burnt human flesh. The video was too shocking to publish here.
When we got there, a young girl asked us: “Do you want me to show you what we do with criminals who come here?” Another girl insisted: “Yes, go on, show them!”, and, egged on by the group of people around her, the first girl bit into a piece of burnt human flesh.


The residents told us they don’t believe the justice system works. They feel they’re the ones who have to deal with suspected criminals, otherwise nothing will stop them. The number of crimes, particularly attacks in homes, has increased a lot recently. The residents don’t see any other choice but to take justice into their own hands.


Footage showing the girl biting into the burnt piece of flesh was broadcast on two local television channels in Goma: NishapiTV and Hope Channel. People were extremely shocked footage of such nature – with nothing blurred – was shown without warning the audience first.
Of course, this is for now an isolated and shocking incident so it certainly doesn’t destroy William Arens’ thesis. It does though suggest that there is a very serious ongoing problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second largest nation in Africa, which is being almost entirely unreported by both the UK and the US media.

Nick Margerrison.

Nick Margerrison

I write on Disinfo for fun, I've been a fan of the company for years.

In the real world I'm a freelance TV/radio presenter. I've worked for LBC, Kerrang Radio, The Bay, Edge Media TV, Hallam FM and The BBC.

My podcast is here:

10 Comments on "Democratic Republic of Congo – Cannibalism in the Modern Age?"

  1. Wrong flag. That’s Congo-Brazaville’s flag. DRC flag is blue with a gold star and red diagonal line.

  2. Sonnenritter | Dec 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |

    Cannibalism is no myth. Europeans and Arabs have often claimed something to the effect that “all Africans are cannibals” to justify their invasions of Africa, which is false, but the counterclaim that “no Africans are cannibals” is equally false. Haven’t you heard of albino cannibalism? People hunt and eat albinos for the ‘magical’ properties of their body parts: same thing with Pygmies. Also check out Vice’s documentary on General Butt Naked, who used cannibalism as a war tactic.

  3. Nick, You gotta check out the VICE interview with “General Butt Naked” one country over in Liberia.

    Cannibalism is alive and Well!

    • nickmargerrison | Dec 19, 2012 at 2:32 am |

      That’s some f–ked up shit. I have no idea how my old Uni lecturer would respond to it. Err … I don’t think Evil British Imperialists even get a look in there. Uh, man. That’s f–ked up. Not sure if I can watch another episode but I reckon it might be an education.

  4. InfvoCuernos | Dec 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |

    Why is cannibalism so hard to swallow?

  5. I would guess that we are *all* descendants of cannibals if one goes far back enough in history. Christians should remember that “Holy Communion” is symbolic cannibalism.

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