You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • NATO gets new chief_one Putin may approve of
    At a time of daunting geopolitical crises, NATO is undergoing its own version of regime change, with the arrival of a new chief official who has the blessing, at least temporarily, of one of the West's
  • Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam’s holiest city Mecca
     MECCA, Saudi Arabia – As a child, Osama al-Bar would walk from his home past Islam’s holiest site, the Kaaba, to the market of spice and fabric merchants where his father owned a store.
  • Protesters heckle Hong Kong leader on National Day
     HONG KONG – Pro-democracy protesters kept behind police barricades heckled Hong Kong’s under-fire leader on Wednesday when he attended a flag-raising ceremony on China’s National Day.
Advertisement

Alleged witch burned alive

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea – A woman accused of witchcraft has been burned alive in front of hundreds of witnesses in a Papua New Guinea town in one of the highest-profile sorcery-rated killings in this South Pacific island country, police said Friday.

The brutal slaying of 20-year-old mother of one Kepari Leniata on Wednesday has been condemned by the country’s prime minister, police and diplomatic observers.

Leniata was stripped naked by several assailants, 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, police spokesman Dominic Kakas said.

Some of the hundreds of bystanders took photographs. Grisly pictures were published on the front pages of the country’s biggest circulating newspapers, The Nation and Post-Courier.

Leniata was accused of sorcery by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who died in the local hospital the day before, Kakas said.

“Investigations are continuing. We’ve got good leads. The husband is the prime suspect,” Kakas said.

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 the sorcery-related killing in Papua New Guinea in a year.

Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga described the killing as “shocking and devilish.”

“We are in the 21st century and this is totally unacceptable,” Commissioner Kulunga said in a statement Thursday.

He suggested courts be established to deal with sorcery allegations, as an alternative to villagers dispensing justice.

Prime Minister Pete O’Neill said he had instructed police to use all available manpower to bring the killers to justice.

“It is reprehensible that women, the old and the weak in our society should be targeted for alleged sorcery or wrongs that they actually have nothing to do with,” O’Neill said.

The U.S. embassy in the national capital Port Moresby issued a statement condemning the killing and calling for a sustained international partnership to enhance anti-gender-based violence laws throughout the Pacific.

The embassy of Australia, Papua New Guinea’s colonial ruler until independence in 1975 and now its biggest foreign aid donor, said in a statement: “We join the U.S. embassy and the PNG government in condemning this murder and join all reasonable Papua New Guineans in looking forward to the perpetrators being brought to justice.”

Advertisement