Brutal stick fights which have ended in death are staged by warriors to impress local women
THESE stunning pictures show the brutal stick fights between African tribesmen who want to show off their strength to impress local women watching the bloody engagements.
Warriors from the Suri tribe in Ethiopia still stage the savage “Donga” battles – even after many fighters have died from their injuries.
Large groups of around 20 to 30 men from opposing villages gather on each side to show off their masculinity to potential partners.
They dance and sing “I am a hero, who’s going to fight me”, before singling out rivals for duels which are refereed.
Most Donga fighters are completely naked to show their bravery in front of the “most beautiful women in the area”.
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Pretty much anything goes in the gruelling match ups with strikes allowed on any part of the body.
The stick-wielding tribal males are however banned from hitting opponents while they are on the ground.
Killing a rival is also forbidden but deaths have occurred, while vicious blows from sticks have also led to Donga fighters losing limbs and eyes.
Injured warriors will not get compensation – but relatives of those killed are often compensated with a woman or 20 cows.
It is claimed that sometimes battles involving up to 10 men on each side have been staged for the benefit of tourists, and that often warriors get drunk to build up their courage for the violence ahead.
The Ethiopian government passed laws in 1994 banning the dangerous fights, but the tradition has continued.
The Suri are one of three tribes – including the Mursi and Me’en groups – which inhabit the south western part of the country.
Before the Donga fights, the Suri men drink the blood of cattle, because they believe it is full of vitamins which will keep them fit.
Sometimes the warriors are unable to drink all of the blood, and vomit out the hideous contents.
When heading to battles, which take place after the annual harvest, the fighters cross a river to wash themselves and then decorate their bodies in clay.
This dressing up and decoration shows their beauty and virility, attracting the attention of women watching the bloody engagements.
It is reported that Suri tribal people have increasingly covered their torso in body paintings in an effort to attract tourists who pay for the privilege of taking pictures.
In recent years, there have been reports of warriors carrying and using guns.
Winners of the contests are considered heroes by their tribe, and can reportedly take their pick of a local woman.
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