Church reports more sorcery-related violence in PNG

There have been at least 12 attacks on women in Enga this year in cases related to sorcery, according to American Lutheran church missionary Anton Lutz.

“That’s just in Enga and not counting the border areas of Hewa and Paiela,” he said. “And the number of sorcery-related cases might in fact be higher.”

Lutz said the latest attack last Saturday at Pompabus, Wapenamenda, left one woman dead and another with serious injuries after they were burned with hot irons and cut with razors.

The two women were blamed for causing the death of a three-year-old child.

Enga provincial police commander George Kakas said a post-mortem showed the child had died after choking on a piece of sweet potato.

Anton and Julie Lutz are based in Enga Province and have been active there in combating sorcery-related violence.

In June the Immigration Department attempted to have them deported.

The allegation made at the time was that the sponsoring church organisation no longer employed them.

It is not the first time they have been threatened with deportation – one particular occasion in 2014 was related to a dispute in the Gutnius Lutheran Church hierarchy between one-time Head Bishop David Piso and his former Deputy Nickodemus Aiyane.

Julie Lutz has been a missionary in Papua New Guinea since 1986.

Anton first came to Papua New Guinea with his family in 1986. He then returned in 2004 as a full-time missionary.

Anton’s late father Dr Steve Lutz served in Enga as a missionary surgeon for more than twenty-three years until his death.

The Lutzes are missionaries of the USA-based Lutheran Church’s Missouri Synod.

The church has been working in PNG since 1991 under a group called Concordia Lutheran Professional Mission Services.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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