Witchcraft: PNG woman axed to death

A mob in Papua New Guinea has hacked to death a woman accused of being a witch.

The woman – known as “Misila” – was one of four women saved by missionaries in January after a measles epidemic killed several people.

The women were accused of being witches by a “witch-finder” who was paid by villagers to identify the believed source of the measles outbreak.

Anton Lutz, a Lutheran missionary, said the woman was axed to death last week.

“What we’re hearing is that on Monday about 10 men came and axed her while she was with her family,” he told ABC News.

New laws in Papua New Guinea mean now that any ‘black magic killing’ is treated as murder and punishable by death.

However despite the reforms, the belief in witchraft continues to spread and there have been increasing reports of violence against women in many remote parts of the country.

“It’s a very specific ancestral belief that this group has about all sickness and death being the result of these spirit beings that live inside of mostly women and their children,” Lutz said.

Police said the villagers later agreed to perform a stone-turning ceremony in which they turned over stones to indicate that they would no longer make accusations of witchcraft.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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