A group of eleven suspects have been arrested for murdering and eating the organs of 17 people in black magic ceremonies, according to a local newspaper.

The 11 members of a secret society "ate up their victims in a mystical way at night after having become invisible," the Nouvelle Expression newspaper said, quoting police sources.

An investigation was launched in February in a village close to the town of Abong-Mbang, east of the capital Yaounde, where the lifeless body of a woman was found with several organs missing.

Confession


Witchcraft is commonplace in Cameroon, where the courts handle such cases as a matter of routine.

The victim's husband filed a complaint with the police against one Joseph Mekomo, accusing him of sorcery.

Mekomo admitted to the charge and said another 11 witch doctors were involved. "We have already killed 17 people," he said. Mekomo died shortly after his arrest but the 11 others were rounded up and the victim's missing organs recovered.

Witchcraft is commonplace in Cameroon, mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country where the courts handle such cases as a matter of routine.

Soccer sorcery

Last year Cameroon's football team were accused by Malian military police of using black magic to weigh the odds in the semi-final of the African Nations Cup against the host nation.

After their goalkeeping coach was wrestled to the ground for allegedly dropping a magic charm on the pitch, they triumphed over Mali and went on to win the final.

Cameroon's minister for sport, Bidoung Mpkatt, sought to play down the witchcraft incident at the time. "I hope it was an individual error on the part of the policemen involved," he said. "But if it's something more than that we will take appropriate action."

Before the tournament, CAF had banned witch doctors and their work from the African Nations Cup, explaining, "The proscription against so-called team advisers is to distance the tournament from presenting a Third World image. We are no more willing to see witch doctors on the pitch than cannibals at the concession stands. Image is everything."