Cannibal cult nabbed in Papua New Guinea

2012-07-13 17:31
<a href="">Shutterstock</a>


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Papua New Guinea police have arrested members of an alleged cannibal cult accused of killing at least seven people, eating their brains raw and making soup from their penises, a report said Friday.

The 29 people, who appeared in court this week charged with murder and cannibalism, were part of a 1 000-strong group formed to combat errant sorcerers who The National newspaper said had begun charging exorbitant fees.

The cost of a witch doctor revealing a cause of death or casting out an evil spirit was usually 1 000 kina ($475) cash, plus a pig and a bag of rice, but some were also demanding sex as payment.

"It's against our traditional ethics and morals for a sorcerer to have intercourse with a man's wife or teenage daughter," said one local cult leader in the Tangi area.


"That was the main cause of frustration that led to the forming of a group to hunt down sorcerers.

"Over time, as suspects were released to carry on as sorcerers, we got tired and fed up."

There is a widespread belief in sorcery in the impoverished Pacific nation where many people do not accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune, illness, accidents or death.

In 1971, the country introduced a Sorcery Act to criminalise the practice.

But Papua New Guinea's law reform commission recently proposed to repeal it after a rise in attacks on people thought to practice black magic.

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, the report said.

"We ate their brains raw and took body parts such as livers, hearts, penis and others back to the hausman [traditional men's houses] for our chief trainers to create other powers for the members to use," one of those arrested said.


The killings saw police raid Biamb village last week and arrest 29 people, eight of them women. Their case in the Madang district court was adjourned until 17 August so police could collect more information.

A local expert in the supernatural cited by the newspaper said the group operated differently to traditional Papua New Guinea hausman practice, where specific people are typically trained to hunt a sanguma (sorcerer).

"But these people never kill sorcerers in broad daylight, mutilate and eat sorcerers' flesh, livers, and hearts or make soup from the penis of sorcerers," he said.
"This is insane and the cannibalism [of this group] goes beyond the local culture."

Madang provincial police commander Anthony Wagambie urged other followers of the group, believed to number more than 1 000, to surrender.

"It is the tip of the iceberg and more needs to be done to educate locals to eradicate the movement," he told The National.

"Police cannot do it alone. It requires collective effort from government, responsible agencies, non-governmental organisations and the churches to work together."

There have been several other cases of witchcraft and cannibalism in Papua New Guinea in recent years, with a man last year found reportedly eating his screaming, newborn son during a sorcery initiation ceremony.

In 2009, a young woman was stripped naked, gagged and burnt alive at the stake in the Highlands town of Mount Hagen in what was said to be a sorcery-related crime.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Wallabies win, Boks to face Wales
Scots beat Samoa, end Japan's dream
Woodcock's career ended by injury
Major Payne as Ireland lose star centre
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.