Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clansmen admit to wrongdoing in hideous sorcery-related killings

By ELIAS LARI in The National (Papua New Guinea’s leading daily newspaper)


MEMBERS of a clan living near Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province, yesterday admitted they were wrong to murder a father and his son whom they suspected of sorcery.

Members of the Moge Kimnika clan, peace mediators and relatives of the deceased met in Mt Hagen as members of the clan expressed remorse in last February killing of two of their own.

Plak Doa and his son Anis were attacked and tied up, placed inside their own house and burnt to death last Feb 8 at Ban village.

Clansmen had accused them for the death of community leader Pora Mel through sorcery.

Police said the clansmen had tied them up and burnt them because that was the only way to remove the “evil spirit” in them.

At the time, police were prevented from entering the village by heavily armed men.

More than two months after the gruesome killing, the Moge Kimnika clansmen admitted they were wrong, and publicly apologised to the relatives of the deceased.

They said they had no evidence that the two had used sorcery to cause the death of Mel.

The village leaders said they attacked and killed their own tribesmen based on rumours and gossips.

Anis Tipi, one of the family members of the two deceased, said Doa and his son lost their lives for nothing.

Provincial peace mediator Thomas Berum said even though people believed in sorcery, it did not exist and many innocent and defenseless people had been accused and put to death.

Mr Berum said this was a mentality in the Highlands region presently that needed to be discarded.

Community policing officer Snr Const Kolo Traota praised the two parties for coming together to resolve the matter peacefully.

However, Mr Traota told the leaders that police would not release the two suspects that had been detained in connection with the killings.

A date is yet to be set by the Moge Kimnika clansmen to pay compensation to the family members of the deceased.

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