25/08/2017 12:55 SAST | Updated 25/08/2017 13:07 SAST

Estcourt Cannibalism Case: It’s Not True That 300 People Have Confessed To Eating Human Flesh

Don't be misled, caution police.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

KwaZulu-Natal police on Friday denied media reports that 300 people from Estcourt had confessed to eating human body parts.

"Not one person from the community has come forward to the police confirming these claims," police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele told HuffPost SA.

Mbhele was responding after several media houses, both local and international, reported that hundreds of people confessed to eating human flesh in Escourt.

This follows the arrest of five suspected cannibals, two of whom are traditional healers. The men appeared in Estcourt Magistrate's Court this week on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and possession of human parts.

It's alleged the men, aged between 22 and 32, raped, killed and cut up the body of a woman, whose parts they later ate -- allegedly to gain wealth.

One of them turned himself in last weekend and allegedly confessed that he was "tired of eating human parts." When he was questioned, he produced part of a human leg and a hand.

He later led police to a house in the Rensburgdrift area in Estcourt, where more human remains were discovered.

Mbhele further clarified that the identity of the woman's body is not yet known, despite a family coming forward to claim her.

"You can't say because someone wore a red dress, it is definitely your family member. A red dress is common."

She said other families had come forward to report missing relatives and have submitted DNA samples for analysis.

The spokeswoman also clarified that only one body had been discovered so far.

The suspects were remanded in custody until their bail application on Monday.