Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sorcery claim prompts killings

Three women hacked to death, one seriously injured in dawn attack




THREE women were reportedly killed and another is fighting for her life after they were accused of using sorcery to kill a businessman.

The women, from Kilau in Chimbu's Salt-Nomane district, and residents of Two-Mile Hill in NCD, were allegedly abducted around 2am yesterday from their homes by armed tribesmen and taken to a secluded spot where they were hacked to death with axes and bush knives.

The bodies were dumped in separate locations.A survivor helped rescuers retrieve two bodies. NCD police could not be reached for comments yesterday.

But doctors at the Port Moresby General Hospital accident and emergency ward confirmed they had treated a woman with bush-knife and axe wounds.

"She has cuts to her face, ears and legs," a doctor who treated Lea Kopi, the only survivor of the alleged attack, said.

"Her left hand is only held by an inch of skin and one of her right fingers is missing," the doctor, who requested anonymity, said.

A relative of Kopi yesterday said the torture and killing of the women stemmed from suspicions that Lea and the three deceased had practised sorcery to kill the owner of a Port Moresby-based security company.

Gideon Auri, from Oinima, Salt-Nomane, who is a cousin of Kopi, said the businessman died in a road accident in Sabama last Saturday.

He claimed some men, who were related to the businessman, accused the five women of killing him and abducting them from their homes early yesterday.

"They were taken in two separate vehicles to different locations and were tortured and killed," Auri said.

He said a dump truck, carrying Kopi and two other women, headed for the Laloki River outside Port Moresby where the women were thrown into the fast-flowing river after they had been hit by bush knives and axes.

"Kopi survived the attack," he said.

Tepil Tokai, from the Laloki SDA community, said they were heading for their gardens at around 7am when they saw blood on the one-lane Laloki Bridge and then heard Kopi groaning in pain under the bridge.

"Mipela go daun na helpim em na em tokim mipela lo narapela tupla meri tu husait ol ikilim na toromoi wantaim (we went down to help her and she told us about the other two women who were killed and thrown into the river)," Tokai said.

He said they searched downstream and located the body of another woman about 15m from where Kopi had been found.

Tokai said they searched for the third woman but could not find her body.

Angry relatives of Kopi, who were at the hospital, said the other two women taken on a different vehicle were yet to be located.

"We do not know the killers but we will help police find those responsible for the deaths," Auri said.

He said the matter was with police and they would not take the law into their own hands.

Another relative suggested that they block off all exits out of Port Moresby as the killers might escape to other parts of the country.

He suggested that the matter be raised with relatives in the village so that those responsible for the killings, who might try to take refuge there, would be identified and brought to justice.

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