Assistant Police Commissioner and Highlands Divisional Commander Teddy Tei said last Monday, two women were tied to pillars by relatives of a girl they were accused of killing through sorcery.
However, Tei said the eight-year-old girl the women were accused of killing was “gang-raped and killed by two known suspects”.
The women, from Enga’s Kandep district, were being tortured near Kagamuga Airport in Mt Hagen, Western Highlands, were saved by officers who arrived after receiving a tip-off from a witness to the attack.
Tei said police rescued the two women and also arrested 20 suspects who were now behind bars at the Mt Hagen police cell.
He said the relatives of the girl, also from the Kandep, accused the two elderly women of performing sorcery and killing the girl on Jan 29.
The relatives of the deceased engaged a man claiming to possess supernatural powers, commonly known as “glassman” who identified the two women as sorcerers and blamed them for the death of the girl.
Tei said the “glassman” and the two rape-and-murder suspects, together with those ready to set the two women on fire, tied up the women.
“Police know their identities and they will be arrested sooner or later,” Tei said of those who managed to escape from the suspected group.
He appealed to the people not to take the law into their own hands to attack innocent and helpless people.
“What evidence do they have to produce to court for sorcery-related killing and torturing?
“It’s just a belief,” Tei said.
Relatives who were not sure of the cause of the death, were encouraged to take their love ones to the hospital and ask the doctors to carry out post-mortem to determine the cause.
He said people with other motives usually accused others of sorcery.
Tei said the “glassman” was money-driven and could point at anybody to obtain money.
The 20 suspects arrested would be interviewed
and charged accordingly by the police criminal investigations unit.
Tei said police would also arrest and charge the relatives if they helped or assisted in the interrogation and torturing of the two women.
He said police expected to arrest more people in relation to the torture and killing of Kepari Lanieta last Wednesday.
It is understood that police are also looking for Lanieta’s husband for questioning.
Tei said the cases were a priority and they were working hard to solve them.