TETE, MOZAMBIQUE–Police in the northwestern Mozambican province of Tete have arrested one person in connection with the murder and mutilation of an as yet unnamed man in the district of Angonia, near the border with Malawi.

The spokesperson for the Tete provincial police command, Lurdes Ferreira, told journalists here Monday that a gang of four people murdered the victim and cut off his genitals, presumably for use in a black magic ritual.

The case was reported on Friday night, when a woman alerted the police in Angonia, Tete Province, to the presence of a lifeless body. When a police unit reached the spot, it found that the body no longer had its genitals. In the subsequent investigations the police arrested one of the four men believed to have committed the murder, Ferreira said.

She added that this man, whom she did not name, has confessed to the crime, and claimed that his three accomplices fled across the border into Malawi.

We don’t know why they cut off the victim’s genitals, but we suspect they were following the recommendations of a witch doctor for a ritual supposedly leading to speedy enrichment, she said.

Last year, Angonia was one the Tete districts worst affected by a wave of kidnappings of albino citizens in order to extract their hair, eyes, bones and other body parts.

Such grisly killings result from the belief that albino body parts are imbued with magical powers, and that potions made from them can bestow good luck or great wealth.

There are similar superstitious beliefs about the use of human genitals in magical ceremonies.