Sex cult clash leaves 17 dead

PEOPLE in the Upper Lai area of the Enga province attacked and killed 17 people last week for allegedly being involved with a new sect movement that was promoting forced sex with young girls in the area.The Upper Lai area is in the Wabag district of the province.

The Enga provincial government's media unit reported that the sect movement had been operating in the area for a while and people were aware of it.

Its members are mostly young men, who gather on a mountain called Mt Sinai for worship. They also camp there.

The media unit said as part of its worship, the cult group makes offering of live pigs, chicken and foodstuffs.

The group then started enlisting young women from the area forcefully, often taking them to the place of worship and holding them captive there and forcing them into having sex with them.

They would allegedly strip the young girls and place them at the entrance to the worship place.

Because the members of the sect movement were armed with high-powered weapons, people could do little to stop them. They would threaten the girls not to tell anyone what was going on with them, and the girls were reduced to sex slaves.

People in the area became enraged when they found out about what the group was doing to the young women in the area. The mobilised and attacked the cult members, and a gun battle ensured, resulting in the death of 17 people.

The media unit said the clash developed into a tribal fight, and the situation was very tense in the area.

Wabag police have been unable to confirm the incident.