Short Stories

Jungle Justice…

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I walked away from the scene the saddest human; lost in my thoughts I felt more guilty than sin.

Jungle justice. I just witnessed a man get pummelled to an inch of his life, with old tyres soaked in fuel and hung around his neck to roast him alive; they said he had kidnapped a child.

Growls of thunder and sudden downpour sent many scattering for cover, the cacophony of those baying for his blood are reduced to a handful. For once, sudden rain showers of the rainy season come at an opportune time.

Maybe the Heavens didn’t like the sorry sight of a human being burnt alive, this made me think of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Shoulders hunched in deep thought, I didn’t feel the rain, neither did I make any attempts to dodge the puddles of muddy water dotting the pot-holed street. The smell of burnt flesh occupied my nostrils and seared into my brain.

I was drenched in no time, yet the evil of what my eye’s had seen made my skin crawl with filth, and through the corner of my eyes I saw a mother hen waiting out the rain under a Mallam’s kiosk, her brood cocooned under her warm feathers.

I fleetingly wondered if she saw what I saw and what were her thoughts?

For once, I wanted the simple life of the chicken; without guilt and running free, at least until the owner who had tied the green bands on its feet decides to catch it for Christmas meal.

© Jacqueline

Note: Jungle justice is very much practised in Africa. Sometimes, people beat criminals to death, or pulp before the police officers arrive on the scene. This story is written from memory of an incident that I witnessed ages ago.

Quick glossary:

Mallam – an honorific title given to a Muslim scholar but carelessly used to address most street vendors from the Northern part of Nigeria.


27 thoughts on “Jungle Justice…

    1. Thank you Van. There was a time in the 90’s that jungle justice was almost a monthly affair in Lagos. Thieves and criminals were tried on the spot by mob and I am almost certain that some innocent men might have lost their lives in such unfortunate manner.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. So sorry about you having had to witness something similar to this years ago. I can imagine how it is sealed in your brain. It is heartbreaking! It is not justice being shown, it is just having another crime committed again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to be burnt to death, or be a witness to it. Something that would be impossible to unsee – so sad that such horrors exist.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The mob mentality is scary – it catches on and catches people who are then caught up in the mood of the moment. One wonders how they feel about it after…..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I got shivers reading this. And I can connect it with what had been happening in India over the last two years… When people take action (in the name of justice) in their own hands, the society steps deeper into the ruthless animalistic kingdom.


  4. Wow. Shocking to say the least. Justice forsure needs to occur IF the man is guilty. but it makes me think that those who chose this kind of justice for the accused and/or guilty man, are no better than him. They wouldn’t think so, but what they do is just as terrible as is supposed crime.

    There has to be a better alternative to dealing with these criminals ( or do they even have fair trials when people are wrongly acccused?). The victims need justice but I always feel it is not up to us to take vengeance this way, to take lives in such a way. An old teacher told me when it came to capital punishment, “Justice is mine, thus sayeth the Lord.”


  5. I am speechless !!!! I had no idea something this horrible actually happened … and you witnessed this. What a nightmare to see !!! I imagine this sight will never leave you. What man does to man is frightening !!! Jan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an awful thing to witness Jacqueline!
    Very well-written! I did wonder whilst I was reading whether this was a fiction prompt.
    Heart-breaking to realise this is a true-life story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And there on that street is where the teaching begins, innocent eyes learn this is the right way to behave. The scene further from any religious belief or thought was as close to evil as it could be. Each of the baying.participants forgot ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and no doubt will convince themselves it was Gods will. A brave post to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a horrible precedent to set for innocent eyes’ I believe that justice should prevail and applied in the right manner. I don’t just understand how people have the stomach for such gory and horrifying behaviour.


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