A photograph uploaded on Facebook of a white South African man posing like a hunter near an apparently lifeless body of a black child has created a furore as South African police try track him down.

 

Facebook picture that has sparked a police investigation: The authorities have asked members of the public who can identify the man in this picture to come forward to assist them in their investigation. The child's face is hidden to protect his identity.

 

 

The man has a Facebook user profile with the name Eugene Terrorblanche, an apparent play on the name of Eugene Terreblanche, an extremist Afrikaner leader murdered last year, and has 590 friends as of Saturday. Authorities are yet to confirm the authenticity of the undated picture and have not ruled out the possibility of photograph manipulation.

According to the South Africa Sunday Times, which first reported the story, the search is now on for the person or persons responsible for the picture, for whoever created the user profile and for those who have seen the photograph but failed to report it.

Surprisingly, the photo was uploaded June 24, 2010, but went little noticed until now. It took more than a year to be spotted by authorities as none who saw the picture reported it or posted a comment condemning it.

Regardless of whether the picture is fake, everyone party to the posting and those who have viewed the image are under a potential prosecution threat, authorities said.

Human rights groups have expressed their concern for the child in the picture who could have been wounded or dead.

The director of Women + Men Against Child Abuse, Miranda Jordan, said she found it incredibly disturbing not knowing the child's fate.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing ... this is sickening and disgusting. Is this child hurt? Is he dead? Who would take this kind of picture? she said. This hate image incites racism that almost all South Africans have fought so hard to eradicate.

Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa's spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said the minister has ordered an immediate investigation and called on the man in the picture - or anyone who recognized him - to come forward to assist in the probe.