By ANDREW ALPHONSE
A LOCAL councillor yesterday said one of the men who was reportedly burnt to death over accusations of practising sorcery at Ban village outside Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province, on Sunday afternoon is still alive, The National reports.
Cr John Rok of the Moge Kimininga tribe, Ban village, who claimed he witnessed the incident, said only the son was chopped to death and his house set alight while the father survived despite being chopped in the back and on his hip.
The National yesterday reported that both victims were killed and burnt.
Cr Rok told The National yesterday that the old man was fighting for his life at the Mt Hagen General Hospital while the body of the son was at the morgue.
He said the villagers brought the wounded father and his son’s corpse to the hospital late at night after police, fearing repercussions, did not attend to the crime.
Cr Rok claimed that about 400 villagers were involved in the incident following the death of a community leader last month.
He said bush knives and axes were used in the attack, and not guns as claimed by police.
According to Cr Rok, the father and son had continuously postponed a community “hearing” to resolve the death of another man.
Angered, the villagers decided to act against the pair, leading to the attack, he said.
Cr Rok said he tried to intervene but was “outnumbered and overpowered” and could not save the two men.
He said he would assist police with their investigations.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Douglas Young of the Catholic archdiocese of Mt Hagen yesterday described the killing and attack on the two men as “senseless and ridiculous”.
Archbishop Young said such barbaric killing was not the right way to seek justice, especially in a civilised society where rule of law and respect for human life should prevail.
He said even if someone was guilty, they must be proven guilty or innocent in a court of law and not through tribal justice.
Archbishop Young also said that police, due to lack of logistics and manpower, also contributed to such incidents because people were no longer looking to them as agents of Government to protect lives and properties.