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Pakistani held for cannibalism after eating newborn baby

  • Pakistani villager Mohammad Arif (R), arrested on suspicion of cannibalism, sits next to an officer at a police station in Bhakkar district on April 14, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/STR)

LAHORE, Pakistan: A Pakistani man was arrested Monday on suspicion of cannibalism when the head of a newborn baby was found at his home – three years after he was jailed for the same offense.

Police raided the house in a remote village in Punjab province after neighbors complained of a foul smell and found the head of the 2-day-old baby inside.

Householder Mohammad Arif admitted eating the child after his brother stole the body from a graveyard in Darya Khan village, around 300 kilometers south of Islamabad, officers said.

Arif and his brother Farman Ali were arrested for eating human corpses in the same village in April 2011 and served two years in prison, in a case that shocked Pakistan.

“Arif has been arrested and he has confessed that his brother brought the dead body of the newborn from the nearby graveyard,” Ameer Abdullah, police chief of Bhakkar district where the village is located, told AFP. “Arif told police that both of them later cooked the dead body and ate it.”

There is no specific law against cannibalism in Pakistan, so as in the 2011 case Arif has been charged with desecrating a dead body and public order offenses. In the earlier case, police found the body of a 24-year-old woman who had recently died of cancer at the men’s house – minus a leg, which they had eaten.

A hunt is under way to find Ali, Abdullah said, while Arif will undergo psychiatric tests.

Zafar Iqbal, a police official in Darya Khan police station, where Arif is being held, told AFP that the men’s wives and family members had left them some years ago and both were living in the house in isolation.

“The neighbors complained to police of a foul stench and police raided the house immediately. We arrested him after discovering a head of a baby. Arif has admitted his crime,” Iqbal said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 15, 2014, on page 11.
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Summary

A Pakistani man was arrested Monday on suspicion of cannibalism when the head of a newborn baby was found at his home – three years after he was jailed for the same offense.

There is no specific law against cannibalism in Pakistan, so as in the 2011 case Arif has been charged with desecrating a dead body and public order offenses.

Zafar Iqbal, a police official in Darya Khan police station, where Arif is being held, told AFP that the men's wives and family members had left them some years ago and both were living in the house in isolation.


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