189, Including 69 Juveniles, Charged With PNG Sorcery Murders

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So called ‘house men’ allegedly burnt houses, killed 8

By Dorothy Mark

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 22, 2014) – A group of 120 men and 69 juveniles have appeared in court over the alleged killings of eight people at a village in Madang last Monday.

Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector Sylvester Kalaut said the youngest of the juveniles was 10 years old. The incident happened at the Naho Rawa Local Level Government, in Rai Coast district.

Kalaut led a team of police officers from Madang, Ramu Sugar and Bulolo to round up the 189 in Tauta last Wednesday and locked them up at the Gusap police station in Ramu Sugar.

Kalaut said the men from Ninigo, Gomumu, Ranara and other villages in Tauta attacked one of the villages in the area last Monday, allegedly burnt houses and killed eight people they had accused of practising sorcery.

"They killed seven men and then snatched a three-year-old boy from his mother’s arms and chopped him as well," Kalaut said.

He said this kind of killing could be linked to a cult practice in which people were slashed from the legs up and had their heads cut off.

Kalaut said 120 men, including the 28 ring leaders, were charged with murder, attempted murder, arson and wounding.

The 69 juveniles included the 10-year-old boy and they were charged with being in possession of offensive weapons and other summary offences and were fined K200 each.

They were left back in Gusap.

Magistrate Robert Teko was taken to Gusap from Madang last Wednesday to hear the cases.

He heard the cases from 5pm on Wednesday to 2am on Thursday.

The 120 men were brought to Madang in police vans and two 25-seater buses on Thursday morning.

He said the 120 men were part of the group called "house man" who had been going around the area killing those they suspected of sorcery.

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