Security officers in the southern Mali town of Fana have discovered a fresh decapitated body the ninth such unsolved homicide in two years, AFP reported that a local official said.
A string of grisly decapitations has plagued the area since 2018, spreading fear among the town’s roughly 36,000 residents, who suspect ritual murder.
Investigators are yet to identify either a motive or a culprit, despite increasing pressure to do so from townspeople and occasional media attention in the West African nation.
Mali has been struggling to contain a brutal jihadist revolt since 2012 — which has killed thousands of people — but Fana lies in a sleepy cotton-growing region far from the country’s conflict zones.
Fana’s latest beheading victim was a man in his fifties, who was married with four children. Security officials discovered his decapitated body in his bedroom on Wednesday morning.
The town’s public prosecutor, Boubacar Diarra, said the murder appeared similar to previous ones.
“The head is cut off, the blood is taken, and the body and head are left,” he said.
Diarra added that investigators suspect the nine killings are all linked, and that a ritual motive is a “working hypothesis”.