PNG VILLAGERS SWEAR OFF SORCERY

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By Nikints Tiptip

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Mar. 1) - Villagers living near the Ok Tedi copper mine, near the Fly River in Western Papua New Guinea, are planning a big gathering to declare an end to the practice of sorcery and black magic in the township of Ok Tedi.

A spokesman told The National yesterday that villagers from Telefomin, Star Mountains, Oksapmin and other surrounding areas have come together to eradicate the evil activities associated with sorcery once and for all.

Michael Rameng from Ok Tedi Mines said the villagers have had enough of deaths related to sorcery and have promised to do away with the practice once and for all.

He said the gathering was expected to draw crowds from nearby villages and the Governor of Western province, Bob Danaya, was also expected to witness the event.

He said that because of the plane crash last week, people from Telefomin, Oksapmin and Star Mountains have started walking into Ok Tedi town since last week because MAF has been the only airline servicing these very remote areas.

Rameng said churches are also involved in this gathering to help end a practice that has been practiced for many generations and which some people believe may recently be growing.

Some of the things to be surrendered include sticks, stones, animal blood and other "sacred things" that have been used in their practice, he said.

"Those who actually practice sorcery and black magic will surrender themselves and start a new life," he said.

Rameng said these remote areas are known for sorcery and evil practices that they say have resulted in several deaths.

March 2, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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