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article imageYoung mother burned alive as witch in Papua New Guinea

By Roderick Eime     Feb 7, 2013 in Crime
Mount Hagen - A young woman has been publicly tortured and burned alive in front of crowd of onlookers, including schoolchildren, in the central highland town of Mount Hagen
The victim, 20-year-old Kepari Leniata, was stripped naked and tortured with a branding iron by relatives of a six-year-old boy who accused her of killing the child with back magic.
As a crowd gathered to witness the spectacle, police and emergency services were outnumbered and chased away by the angry mob who ultimately bound the woman, doused her in petrol, and threw her onto a pile of burning rubbish.
"No one commits such a despicable act in the society that all of us, including Kepari, belong to," Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said in a statement reported in The Courier Mail.
"Barbaric killings connected with alleged sorcery. Violence against women because of this belief that sorcery kills. 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."
Belief in sorcery is strong in PNG and difficult to tackle with the conventional legal system.
"Right now you can't try any sorcery claims in court, but it is part of PNG culture and people do die because of it," said PNG police spokesman Dominic Kakas to the AAP newswire service.
"We need an outlet or avenue to address sorcery allegations. People believe it's something that exists, but it's a crime. People will have to be arrested. It's a crime."
Images of the crime taken by onlookers have appeared in the local newspapers and on websites, generating horror and outrage.
Provincial police commander Superintendent Kaiglo Ambane condemned the killing, saying the case was being treated as murder and would charge those responsible.
More about Murder, burned alive, Papua new guinea, Sorcery, Witch
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