Pakistan suspected cannibal in Punjab re-arrested

Mohammad Arif Ali (left) in police custody, 14 April 2014 Mohammad Arif Ali was arrested on Monday on suspicion of cannibalism

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of cannibalising a young child, police in Pakistan's Punjab province say.

Mohammad Arif Ali, who has previously admitted to cannibalism, was arrested when neighbours reported the stink of rotting flesh from his house.

Police say they recovered the severed head of the child from his house.

Arif Ali and his brother, Mohammad Farman Ali, were jailed for two years for stealing the body of a dead woman from her grave in 2011.

They later admitted to chopping her lower limbs and making them into meat curry. They were sentenced under the law of desecration of the grave, because Pakistan has no law relating to cannibalism.

Their sentences ended in May 2013. Their release from jail sparked public protests in Darya Khan town.

The brothers have since kept a low profile, away from the public eye.

'Body stolen'

Ameer Abdullah Khan, Superintendent of Police (SP) in Darya Khan, told the BBC that police raided the residence of the Ali brothers early Monday morning after reports of a stench coming from their house.

"We found the severed head of a young child, about two or three years old," he said.

"They probably dug up his body from a grave, but the identity of the child and the graveyard from where his body might have been stolen is not clear."

He said Arif Ali, who was present in the house, had been arrested, while the police were still looking for Farman Ali.

"During initial interrogation, Arif has admitted they chopped the body and cooked it, but blames it all on his elder brother and denies he either helped him or devoured the curry," SP Khan told the BBC.

Once married with children, both brothers were abandoned by their wives before their arrests in 2011.

When questioned by the BBC in August 2013, Arif Ali did not appear able to answer queries coherently.

However, he told the BBC that he hoped such episodes would not happen again.

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