Has the world gone crazier as the new year starts off or is more just coming to light? This week according to multiple reports, a young mother, Kepari Leniata, 20, was burned alive in Papa New Guinea after townspeople accused her of being a witch. She was tortured and killed in front of a mob of hundreds in Mount Hagen. The woman was stripped, covered in gasoline and burned alive on a pile of trash by relatives who accused her of sorcery that lead to the boy’s death. Agence France-Press wrote that the woman admitted to killing the boy who died from stomach and chest pains Tuesday. Police and firefighters tried to save Leniata but were chased away by overwhelming crowds. The photo above shows that on Feb. 6 the young mother accused of sorcery was naked, tortured with a branding iron, tied up, gasoline poured on her and lit up on a pile of rubbish in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea. According to Post-Courier newspaper she was torched by villagers with police outnumbered by onlookers and unable to intervene. The U.S. Embassy and Australia’s high commissioner have condemned the murders and according to BBC, police chief Supt Kaiglo Ambane told the media her killers would be brought to justice. AFP notes that people in the island nation believe in sorcery rather tahn natural causes. Even though the 1971 Sorcery Act outlaws the burning of allege witches, the practice still happens as a woman was burned alive in 2009 for sorcery. According to the Huffington Post:
In a 2009 blog for The Huffington Post, Zama Coursen-Neff, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Children’s Rights Division, said that that this incident and other similar killings have become indicative a larger, more troubling trend.
In Papua New Guinea, research indicates, two-thirds of women experience domestic violence, and 50 percent of women have experienced forced sex. The Australian development agency AUSAID just issued a new report identifying violence against women as a major barrier to Papua New Guinea’s development.