March 12, 2009

Lynchings in Congo as penis theft panic hits capital

This strange event had occurred in Congo.

Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Some Kinshasa residents accuse a separatist sect from nearby Bas-Congo province of being behind the witchcraft in revenge for a recent government crackdown on its members.

A penis panic is a mass hysteria event or panic in which male members of a population suddenly experience this belief. Penis panics have occurred around the world, most notably in Africa and south-east Asia Asia. Penis panic tends to reflect a certain xenophobia among some groups, whereby foreigners are often blamed as the ones behind the "attacks".The belief has triggered waves of panic in Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, , Nigeria, Sudan, Senegal and Zimbabwe at various times in the last decade.
Documented cases have not typically indicated actual instances of penis shrinkage or retraction. As one academic work states, in a culture where sexual anxiety is high and stories exist of death by genital retraction, a man in the right frame of mind could panic at the observation that his genitals are shrinking in response to cold or anxiety.


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