©REUTERS - The men suspected of cannibalism in the court in Escourt.

Two South Africans accused of cannibalism were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

Judge Peter Olsen ruled that 33-year-old Nino Mbatha and 32-year-old Lungisani Magubane had been guilty of “the most horrible crime”.

Traditional healer

Last year, the two men killed the 24-year-old Zanele Hlatshowayo, only to consume her body parts. The case came to light when Mbatha, a traditional healer, introduced himself to the police in Estcourt, in the province of KwaZulu Natal. The man had a bag with a human leg and a hand and said he was “tired of eating human flesh.”

The police did not believe the man at first, until he took them to a house where more human body parts were found.

South Africa has no legislation prohibiting cannibalism, but it is illegal to mutilate a corpse or to possess human tissue.

The police are trying to keep the crowd under control during the lawsuit against the suspected cannibals in Escourt.

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