Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

Categories: Africa | History | Nations

From the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, there was a Leopard society in West Africa — a secret organization of people who practiced ritual murder and cannibalism among their tribesmen.

The authorities of Sierra Leone were the first to face the cruel rites of local residents. English travelers who visited these parts told about fierce cannibals dressed in leopard skins. Later, a man was burned alive in the town of Port Loko. Another 40 years later, a resonant event occurred, known as the "Tongo Scandal".

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

In 1891, the chief of the tribe called all influential people from nearby settlements to Bogo to participate in the Tongo game. At the end of the game, eight people caught specifically for the ritual were burned alive — the men were allegedly suspected of being werewolves.

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

Everyone present was shocked by what had happened. Tongo and other games of power were officially banned, and those who decide to break the law were promised to be sent to prison. Despite this, news of similar brutal murders regularly appeared over the next few years. Then the authorities realized that they were not dealing with the antics of local wild natives, but with something more serious.

Then there was a secret society of leopard people operating in Sierra Leone. Its members were dressed in leopard skins, and on their feet they wore special shoes that left traces like this animal. The members of the secret society had weapons imitating the claws and fangs of a leopard — special bracers with spikes and three-pronged daggers.

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

Leopard men attacked the victim at night, tore the jugular vein, and the body of the murdered man was slashed with their weapons. In 1934-1935, a huge number of victims of these predatory animals were found on the territory of the Belgian Congo, but, as it turned out later, the real killers were not animals, but people.

All the police forces were thrown into the fight against the criminals, but the murders did not stop.  Then the authorities organized a special operation — they connected the army, imposed a curfew, and promised a large reward for any information about the leopards. In 1912, more than 400 suspects of brutal murders were arrested. The defendants denied involvement in the secret society, but evidence found in their homes pointed to the opposite. Among the finds were "fangs", and special shoes, and animal skins…

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

After a successful "werewolf hunt", the activity of "leopards" within Sierra Leone weakened, but spread to other countries - Congo, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon, etc. There could be from 80 to 200 brutal murders per year. The worst thing is that there were many children among the victims. Finally, large-scale arrests yielded results, and the police had the first statements from witnesses and suspects. And what they found out shocked many.

It turned out that the actions of the "leopard people" were led by local sorcerers. Cults of numerous sorcerers-werewolves have existed in Africa since ancient times — boa constrictors, crocodile people, etc. But it was the "leopards" that left the most terrible mark in history.

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

They called themselves the guardians of order. Sorcerers considered themselves omnipotent rulers of the law, guarantors of harmony and justice. And they allegedly punished only for misdemeanors and crimes, claiming that "murders for the sake of murders" were committed by their imitators. Nevertheless, the very ritual of joining the society of Leopards was characterized by extreme cruelty.

To begin with, anyone wishing to join the "leopards" had to ask the head of the society for "borfima". This is a drug that was prepared from several ingredients — egg white, cock's blood, a handful of rice, as well as human blood, skin and fat. The last components were to be obtained as a result of the sacrifice. Members of the society believed that this mixture gave them incredible strength and power and gave them power over their fellow tribesmen. But it was not so easy to get it…

To obtain the potion, the neophyte (novice) first went to the leader and asked him for approval to join the society. Then he had to walk along the path into the jungle and tell the people who would be waiting for him at the end of the way that he was looking for borfima to play jag. It was a kind of secret cipher.

The novice recited the oath and followed on to the box where the elixir lay. There he also found the leopard's dagger — he had to tap it on the box and say another oath, in which the man promised to always keep the secrets of society a secret. This is one of the reasons why it took so long to get statements from suspects.

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

At this point, the ritual was put on pause for three days. After this period, the neophyte was allowed to taste human meat without his knowledge. The next stage of joining the society was sacrifice. The newcomer had to kill a young girl.

The victim's relatives were aware of the impending murder, as members of the society asked for their permission. Often the victims were the older children of families. The parents could not resist this atrocity, because they understood that if they refused, the "leopards" would cut out the whole family.

The novice was previously dressed in the skin of an animal and given "claws". The victim was walking alone along a forest path, followed by other "leopards". When the girl reached her destination, the "werewolves" let out a heart-rending roar, after which the newcomer attacked the victim and cut her throat. The body was dragged away and "taken apart piece by piece" — the liver, the skin from the forehead and the fat from the kidneys were left to finish cooking borfima.

After the effective actions of the authorities, the bloody activity of the "leopards" subsided for a long time, but in 1994 they showed their claws again. A high-profile murder occurred in Liberia. Eight tortured bodies of women and children were brought to the representative office of the International Red Cross. The staff was strictly forbidden to touch them, threatening with reprisals to anyone who disobeys.

Most of the doctors and nurses fled in fear, leaving only a nurse and a Puerto Rican surgeon. The latter examined the bodies and saw that one of the women and the child were still breathing. However, they were so scared that they could not utter a word.

Leopard People are cruel and mysterious killers from West Africa

The local police were also scared. Only one officer came to the hospital, who immediately declared that the murders were the work of "leopard people". The next day, both the doctor and the nurse were found dead, and the surviving woman mysteriously disappeared. Interpol was involved in the investigation, but it was not possible to find the killers. To calm the locals, the authorities blamed the crime on a gang of criminals.

The "leopard people" themselves have not gone anywhere. From time to time they continue to perform bloody rites, knowing that the police will be afraid to look for them. Moreover, some "leopards" are not particularly hiding. For example, William Vakanarat Tubman was the President of Liberia from 1944 to 1971, and before that he headed the secret Poro community.

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