Police in Papua New Guinea have arrested 29 members of a cannibal cult that has been accused of killing at least seven people they believed to be sorcerers.
The arrests involved members of a 1,000-strong group that was formed to hunt down errant sorcerers throughout the country. Once found the sorcerers brains would be eaten raw and their penises would be cooked and consumed.
The arrests have led to murder and cannibalism charges.
The group decided to hunt down and murder the sorcerers after they began charging exorbitant fees ($475) while demanding a pig and a bag of rice. In some cases the sorcerers demanded sex from a person’s wife or teenage daughter as payment.
The impoverished Pacific nation has a long-held belief that sorcery can help stave off misfortune, illness, accidents and even death.
Because of rampant corruption among sorcerers the country in 1971 passed the Sorcery Act which criminalizes the act.
According to the AFP:
“Locals determined to get revenge on the profiteering witch doctors sought their own supernatural training from village chiefs, using their “possessed” bush knives to hunt down and kill seven people since April.”
After eating each victims brains their livers, hearts, penis and other organs were taken back to the huasman where chief trainers used the body parts to create “powers” for other group members.
The members arrested this past week were all from the village of Biamb. The arrest included 21 men and eight women.
Officials are still collecting information to present at trial against the sorcerer hunters.