Mob in Papua New Guinea Burn Accused Witch Alive
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea – Hundreds of people stood by to witness an angry mob take a single mother of one and subject her to an ignominious death.
The victim was twenty year old Kepari Leniati whom the mob stripped of all her clothes, seared with a hot iron rod, doused with gasoline, and set ablaze atop a pile of garbage. Residents of this Island nation are highly superstitious, but a violent trend has been rising in recent years of vengeful retribution for acts of sorcery. Moreover, people here are prone to attribute any misfortune to an act of witchcraft or sorcery by another.
In the case of Leniati, a six year old child had died the day before, and his grieving family attributed his death to her. Police believe that as many as fifty people physically participated in the killing. Leniati’s husband is a suspect in her death, and he is now on the run.
The U.S. Embassy and Australia’s high commissioner have condemned the murder. In a statement featured in a report by the Australian Associated Press, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said that “no one commits such a despicable act.”
“Barbaric killings connected with alleged sorcery. Violence against women because of this belief that sorcery kills,” O’Neill said, according to the AAP. “These are becoming all too common in certain parts of the country. 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.”