Tomb raiders have dug up more than 100 graves at a cemetery in Benin since Saturday for what authorities suspect is a black-market trade in human organs and skulls for voodoo ritual fetishes.
The incident is the most serious case of grave-robbing in the West African state, the world capital of voodoo where most of the country’s 9 million residents practice a benign form of the official religion.
Authorities in Dangbo, a village 10 km (6 miles) from the capital Porto-Novo, began an investigation after a mason working at the cemetery said he spotted several masked men digging up the graves, from which organs and skulls were removed.
“The desecration of graves is about money in this region,” said Joseph Afaton, director of the cemetery. “It is for sacrifices, or for bewitching.”