Cannibalism has not been a factor in recent cases of violence, so it could simply be that the Mad Dog incident was a one-off, a deranged individual. But cannibalism is not so far outside the cultural history of CAR. The anti-balaka soldiers are highly superstitious and many wear amulets around their necks which contain bits of flesh from their slaughtered enemies.
A previous ruler of CAR, self-declared ‘Emperor’ Bokassa (pictured below) who ruled from 1969 to 1979 was rumoured to have cooked and eaten his enemies. There were also tales of him feeding victims to lions and crocodiles for his own twisted entertainment. So the CAR has had some pretty bad figureheads to look up to in the past. It’s no wonder the youth are on the turn.
This week rival militiamen have laid down arms thanks to a truce brokered by the French military. Whether this is enough to turn down the heat on this cultural volcano is yet to be seen. Most aid organisations are bracing themselves for worse to come.
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