Mob beats up 4 sorcery suspects

West Taraka, Papua New Guinea - FOUR PEOPLE accused of sorcery were badly beaten by a mob at West Taraka in Lae, Morobe province last Sunday.

Three of the sorcery suspects were women and the other is the husband of one of the women.

The attackers also raided the home of one of the victims and cut down banana trees and other food crops around the house.

Eye witnesses yesterday told The National that sorcery was suspected by relatives of a community leader, who is sick.

They claimed that after the sick man returned from the hospital, he said that hospital staff at the Angau Memorial Hospital was not able to diagnose what was wrong with him.

The eye witnesses said the relatives then hired a witch doctor, who performed his “secret ritual” and identified the alleged sorcerers as being the cause his illness.

One eyewitness said the first victim was picked up, beaten and tortured. She was poked with hot metal rods. While some men were torturing her, the others started a bonfire to burn her alive.

“They dragged her to the fire and were about to throw her in when she gave in and promised to own up and cooperate with her attackers,” Assembly of God pastor Chris Pati said.

“She did that to save herself but poor woman, she was badly tortured,” Pastor Pati added.

Two other women, Anna Api and Joan Kunma, were in church when they were dragged out by the attackers and beaten up.

“They punched me all over my body. I am not a sorcerer and neither are my husband and children,” Mrs Api said, and promised legal redress.

The sick person and the victims are from Gembogl in the Simbu province and reside at West Taraka in Lae.

Sorcery claims and attacks against innocent and defenceless people among Simbu and Eastern Highlands people in Lae city is common.

In February this year, two elderly women from Eastern Highlands were burnt to death after they were suspected of dabbling in sorcery.

In September last year, National Court Judge Nicholas Kirriwom jailed Ba Samson Rusty, from Simbu for 14 years after he was convicted of torturing and brutally raping a mother of three after accusing her of sorcery.