Source: The National, Thursday, February 7, 2013
A YOUNG mother of a baby girl was burnt alive in front of a crowd in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, yesterday.
Relatives of a boy she was accused of killing through sorcery, tortured her with a hot iron rod, stripped her naked, tied up her hands and legs and threw her into the fire.
Police and hospital staff who arrived at the scene could not save her.
They later took her body away in an ambulance.
The mother of one, identified as Kepari Leniata, 20, from Paiala in Porgera district, Enga, was married to a man from Laiagam. Their daughter is only eight months old.
Provincial police commander Supt Kaiglo Ambane condemned the killing, saying police were treating the case as murder and would charge those responsible.
Ambane said police knew those involved and would arrest them soon.
Head bishop of Gut Nius Lutheran church David Piso also condemned the killing, saying taking a life was against the teachings of the Bible and the laws of the country.
“Sorcery and sorcery-related killings are growing and the government needs to come up with a law to stop such practice,” he said.
Piso said many innocent and helpless people had been killed and tortured.
Witnesses in Enga and Southern Highlands told The National yesterday that the relatives of the boy stripped the woman before marching her to the Warakum road junction at about 5am.
They tied her legs and arms and threw her into a pile of burning tyres.
The relatives, from Muritaka in Laiagam district spared the lives of two other women from Gumine in Chimbu as they had also been accused of sorcery.
Police rescued one of the women but the other was still missing.
Sources said the two women admitted that they practised sorcery but did not kill the boy.
They blamed Leniata who later admitted to the boy’s relatives that she killed him.
The relatives then tortured the woman in her house with a hot iron rod, burning her all over her body before taking her to the main road, stripping and burning her.
Police said the boy had been complaining of pains in the stomach and chest and was taken to the Mt Hagen hospital on Tuesday morning.
He died in the afternoon.