Alleged witch tortured and burned in Papua New Guinea.
Assailants stripped, tortured and bound a woman accused of witchcraft, then burned her alive in front of hundreds of witnesses in a Papua New Guinea town, police said Friday after one of the highest profile sorcery-related murders in this South Pacific island nation.
Some of the hundreds of bystanders took photographs of Wednesday's brutal slaying. Grisly pictures were published on the front pages of the country's biggest circulating newspapers, The National and Post-Courier. The prime minister, police and diplomats condemned the killing.
Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old who had a child, had been accused of sorcery by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who died in the hospital the day before, police spokesman Dominic Kakas said.
She was tortured with a hot iron rod, bound, doused in gasoline, then set alight on a pile of car tires and trash in the Western Highlands provincial capital of Mount Hagen, Kakas said.
Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Kauba on Friday blasted Mount Hagen investigators by phone for failing to make a single arrest, Kakas said.
"He was very, very disappointed that there's been no arrest made as yet," Kakas said.The public were apparently not cooperating with police and police carrying out the investigation were not working hard enough, Kakas said.
"The incident happened in broad daylight in front of hundreds of eyewitnesses and yet we haven't picked up any suspects yet. He was very, very curious about that and he blasted the investigators on the phone," Kakas added.
Kakas described the victim's husband as the "prime suspect." The husband had fled the province, Kakas said. Kakas said he did not know if there were a relationship between the husband and the dead boy's family.
Sorcery has traditionally been countered by sorcery in Papuan New Guinean culture. But responses to sorcery allegations have become increasingly violent in recent years.
Kakas said the death was the first sorcery-related murder in Papua New Guinea in a year.
I've been collecting these stories out of sheer amazement that this kind of thing is still going on.