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Nightmarish ordeal in violent Highlands

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 5, 2008) – Two women were beheaded inside a house and their bodies burnt after suspicions of sorcery in Togoba outside Mt Hagen yesterday.

The women from Chimbu and Western Highlands went through a nightmarish ordeal since Monday when heated pieces of metal were poked through their bodies and hot wire coils rolled around their bodies.

The woman from Chimbu was married to a local man and had four children.

The Western Highlands woman is a divorcee and has a son.

According to two eye witnesses, the women were suspected of removing the heart of a PMV driver last Friday through sorcery, causing his death. Locals Paulus Tepra and Kuri Kuimbil said relatives of the dead man, allegedly led by his son, held up the two women on Monday and started assaulting them inside the house of one of the women.

The two men alleged yesterday between 7 and 8am, all the villagers agreed that the two women should be killed.

They claimed the son of the dead man went into the house, chopped off their heads and that angry villagers surrounding the house set fire to it.

"We just came from there about an hour ago. The house is still burning and the bodies are inside. The whole community is watching the drama," Mr Tepra and Mr Kuimbil said.

They said the two women were suspected for causing the death of many people in the community.

The cause of death through sorcery and murders in retaliation are not common in the Western Highlands, although it is common in Chimbu and Southern Highlands pro-vinces.

Highlands divisional police commander Simon Kauba has spoken on many occasions of people taking the laws into their own hands and murdering others, especially women suspected of sorcery.

Assistant Commissioner Kauba said any people involved in murdering those suspected of sorcery would face the full face of the law.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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