The first ‘genital disappearance’ case in Koudougou [during the last decade] was on May 2. Since then, I have counted a dozen similar cases in the city. It’s always the same story: someone complains about being approached and touched by a stranger, someone not from the neighbourhood. Immediately, the alleged victims complain of lower stomach pains, tremors, and say they can’t feel their genitals anymore. This only happens with men, and I have been told of it happening in several different parts of town.
After a fight at a restaurant, the alleged ‘penis thief’ was taken to the mechanic’s workshop before being apprehended by the angry crowd.
On Sunday, there was an incident in which the police had to save an accused man from being lynched. Upset residents went to Koudougou’s central police station, where the man they accused was being kept for protection. Over the next few days, many people said that these “penis thieves” should be killed in order to discourage other alleged thieves. And that’s what happened on Monday. The police did all they could, but there were not enough of them to control the crowd’s anger. Later, when medical staff examined the alleged victims of “penis thieves” [including the one from Monday], they couldn’t find anything wrong with them.
A lot of people at the scene on Monday told me the alleged penis snatcher was a foreigner: some say he was Congolese, others say he was Rwandan or Burundian. Without any explanation, people blame “a foreigner”. It turns out that this person was a Burundian marabout [Muslim holy man] from Koudougou’s 8th district.