The Witch Hunt Continues in Papua New Guinea as Two More Are Beheaded

As police standby last week, two elderly women were beheaded after three days of torture by an angry mob which is the latest in a string of sorcery related crimes. According to the Post-Courier police could not overtake the angry mob leaving them helpless to save the two women from a grisly public death. As Bougainville police inspector Herman Birengka explained to the paper: “We were helpless. We could not do anything” as his officers were threatened while trying to release the women. He described the killing as barbaric and senseless as the women were held captive since Tuesday by relatives of a former school teacher who died recently. He explained that, “The two women were rounded up and taken to Lopele village after they were suspected of practising sorcery and blamed for the death of the former teacher, who was from Lopele village.” The report states that the two women were tortured for three days, suffering axe and knife wounds, before the beheading in front of the police who were there to mediate. The reports comes only days after another report that six women accused of witchcraft were tortured with hot irons in an Easter sacrifice in the southern Highlands and just last month a women accused of the same was burned to death by a mob. Amnesty international  is calling for the government to end the sorcery related violence in Papua New Guinea and stamp out the practice where there is a widespread belief in sorcery and where people do not accept natural causes to explain a death. In recent years, there has been several of these cases as well as cannibalism in the country even reports of a man eating his screaming newborn as part of a sorcery initiation ceremony in 2011.

 

Accused ‘Witch’ Kepari Leniata Burned Alive By Mob In Papua New Guinea (GRAPHIC PHOTO)

woman burned alive sorcery

Accused ‘Witch’ Kepari Leniata Burned Alive By Mob In Papua New Guinea (GRAPHIC PHOTO).

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.