Indon Police Hold Man For Cannibalism

Indonesian police have arrested a man from Purbalingga district of Central Java after he was was found to have stolen a human corpse and eaten it to obtain supernatural power.

Purbalingga police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Agus Sofyan Abadi said Sumanto, 31, a resident of Palumutan village, had admitted to digging the corpse of Rina from her grave and eating parts of the body.

"He took the body to his house before mutilating it into pieces as his meal, which is part of the spiritual requirement to obtain the so-called supernatural power," he told the ElShinta radio station, here.

Sofyan said Sumanto was arrested after villagers discovered that the corpse of Rina, who died at the old age of 80, had dissappeared from its grave on Sunday, a day after she was buried.

The villagers organised a search for the missing body and discovered pieces of human meat in a wok and inside three bottles in Sumanto's bamboo house, some 3km from the cemetery the following day. They then informed the police of the gruesome find.

Sofyan said interrogation of Sumanto showed that his cannibalistic act was not because he was insane but out of his delusion in possessing the supernatural gift.

Stories about people searching for mystical strength abound in Java and some parts of Indonesia through various means such as meditation in caves or at the graves of known leading figures said to be endowed with supernatural power during their lifetime.

Although, human sacrifices in possessing the supernatural powers is not uncommon, cannibalism for such purpose is very rare in this country, where many of its population in backward areas indulge in the ancient cult.

Sofyan said that this might not be first time that Sumanto had taken human flesh, as evident from the discovery of other human bones in his house.

Sumanto is also a suspect in the disappearance of a man from the same village in the middle of last year.