Skull-trafficking ring busted

Eight individuals in Libreville, Gabon, West Africa, were busted for stealing human skulls and femurs from cemeteries for resale to healers. Each skull sold for approximately $620. From the Associated Press:

"People placed orders with me. Then I went to get them," (ringleader Jean Martin) Moussavou said…

The skulls were then ground down into a powder that healers use in various drinks and amulets believed to give the wearer strength or power, he said. Moussavou added that he sold many skulls for use in a common initiation rite, known as Bwiti, in which young men and women drink a potion that is expected to bring on visions.

In Gabon, the knowledge that human bones are used in the potion was nearly as shocking to many as the news of the graverobbing operation.

"I was initiated by Bwiti. I'm scared that I ate a person's body," said Jeanne Mba, a middle-aged housewife in Libreville.

Skull thieves (AP)