A so-called witch was burned alive in Papua New Guinea in front of hundreds of witnesses. The case is one of the highest profile sorcery-rated murders in the country, according to police.
The 20-year-old woman was brutally murdered on Wednesday. Kepari Leniata, a mother of one, was assaulted by several people.
ABC News notes that her assailants stripped her naked, tortured her, bound her, doused her with gasoline, and set her on fire on a pile of car tires and trash in Mount Hagen.
Police spokesman Dominic Kakas added that some of the bystanders took photographs of the gruesome crime. Pictures have since been published on the front pages of Papua New Guinea’s largest papers.
Kakas added that Leniata was accused of being a witch by relatives of a young boy who passed away at a hospital the day before. He added, “Investigations are continuing. We’ve got good leads. The husband is the prime suspect.”
The Associated Press notes that sorcery accusations are not uncommon in Papua New Guinean culture. However, they are usually countered by other sorcery. This has not been so in recent years, however.
The young woman’s death was the first sorcery-related murder in the country in more than a year. Prime Minister Pete O’Neill released a statement about the so-called witch’s grisly murder, asking that police use all their manpower to bring her killers to justice. O’Neill added:
“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.”
Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga also commented, “We are in the 21st century and this is totally unacceptable.” So far no one has been arrested in connection with the so-called witch who was tortured and burned alive.
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