Six Hostages Held Over Sorcery Allegations In Papua New Guinea Released

Men were held in Southern Highlands over the death of former MP

By James Gumuno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 25, 2016) – Six men accused of sorcery and held hostage for six weeks in the Kagua district of Southern Highlands were released last Saturday.

The men held under tight security at Rogoma village over the death of former Kagua-Erave MP Charles Miru Luther were set free by the locals with a warning not to return to Kagua or settle in any part of the province.

Police commander Chief Superintendent Sibron Papato told The National that the release of the men came as a result of mediation and negotiation by police with local leaders.

Papato said that the Kagua-Erave district was known for the killing of those accused of practising sorcery and causing death of the leaders. But Kulumbu and Suya tribesmen are changing their attitude.

“This is a very rare case to see such things happen in Kagua and I want to commend the people and their leaders for keeping the alleged sorcerers alive and releasing them,” he said.

Papato, who travelled to Rogoma last Saturday to receive the six men released by villagers, said a professional approach was taken by police in negotiating with the leaders.

He said if police wanted to force the issue, there would have been many casualties.

“I want to thank some educated elites and some community leaders behind the scene who made it possible,” he said.

Papato also commended his criminal investigation officers from Mendi, Kagua and Mobile Squad 10 from Mendi for carrying out the negotiation and handling of the case.

He said that the villagers, while releasing the hostages, called on the government to revisit the Sorcery Act which was abolished in 2013 and re-enacted it.

Meanwhile, Papato said the six men were under police protection while going through medical checks and police were getting their statements.

He said the matter would be investigated.

The National
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