In South Africa, seven men will appear today (Thursday) in the magistrates court in the quiet Natal midlands town of Escourt to face cannibalism-related charges.
One of them intends pleading guilty, meaning the case will be escalated to the High Court.
The major of Estcourt Jabu Mbhele says the allegations of cannibalism have set the normally quiet town back several decades.
She was in court last month when seven men appeared on charges of murder‚ conspiracy to commit murder and possession of human body parts.
The case, now in the hands of the South African police services Occult Crime Unit, follows traditional healer Nino Mbatha walking into the the local police station to report that he was in possession of body parts and was tired of being forced to eat human flesh.
Mbatha led police to his home where more body parts were recovered.
Mbhele is a personal victim of the alleged crime. A grave belonging to her husband was dug up and desecrated earlier this year.
She’s worried the case, which is attracting international media attention, is making the people of Escourt look primitive.
Mbhele now feels the work of rebuilding the community fragmented by this lies squarely on her shoulders.
She addressed hundreds of protesters outside the court‚ urging them not to take matters into their own hands.
Among those protesting was placard-wielding Zama Ndlovu‚ who wants the police to act swiftly when the community report missing people‚ especially children.