PNG Men Held Over Sorcery Allegations Surrounding Death Of Former MP

Southern Highlands villagers allegedly detain, publically torture six men

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 11, 2016) – About six men are held captive, allegedly tortured and threatened with death at Rongoma village in Kagua, Southern Highlands province.

Situation is tense as the men held captive are publicly humiliated and interrogated in an open-air kangaroo court in the center of the village in the full presence of the members of the public including the police.

The men are alleged to have practiced sorcery that resulted in the sudden death of one time Kagua Erave MP and peace advocator late Charles Miru Luta who passed away last month.

However, a Rongoma villager on condition of anonymity yesterday denied any allegations of torture and mistreating of the six men.

He said the suspects are all safe, well-fed and looked after so that these suspects help reveal the names of fellow sorcerers as they believe there is a network of this evil practice in the area that has caused the death of several prominent people lately from Kagua. 

Late Luta as chairman of the district peace and good order committee was negotiating for peace over the vehicle accident deaths at Koali-Lombo village when he returned home, collapsed and suddenly passed away one evening last month.

Frustrated and suspicious of his sudden passing, angry relatives burnt down several houses and captured the six men suspected of practicing sorcery that resulted in Late Luta’s death.

The sorcery suspects are believed to be from the Kulumbu tribe of Kala, Kunu, Koali Lombo, Rongoma and surrounding villages.

 Kagua rural police station commander Chief Insp Albert Korin and Southern Highlands Provincial police commander Supt Sibrom Papoto could not answer several calls for comments yesterday.  

Supt Papoto did say in the media that police are trying to save the men held captive as it was illegal.

An eyewitness who requested anonymity for fear of possible repercussions said the relatives have intoxicated the two main suspects (named) with drugs and forced them to reveal the names of fellow accomplices and sorcerers.

He said the alleged suspects are pierced with hot iron roads and threatened with death. 

The source said police are simply outnumbered and over-powered and cannot do much to stop the relatives from hurting the suspects.

 Catholic Bishop of Mendi Diocese Donald Lippert posted on his social media face book wall condemning the actions of the relatives to attack the alleged sorcerers. 

PNG Post-Courier
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