Quick action by police stopped a group of people from killing a Lae woman accused of sorcery.
The woman known only as Elizabeth was taken from her home on Tuesday morning and was about to be burned on the banks of the Bumbu river when police arrived.
Just before Eight o’clock on Tuesday morning, a group of men dragged Elizabeth from her home.
Along the banks of the Bumbu River, she was stripped.
They, then forced her to stand on a makeshift platform while they conducted an interrogation. She was forced to admit to killing three of her neighbors using sorcery.
The brutal scene was witnessed by a large crowd including her neighbor, Maryrose Tera.
“They brought her to the front of my house and they wanted to burn her there,” she said. “I said she might be innocent. But they dragged her away.”
Beside where she stood, her aggressors, had already set rubber ties alight in preparation to burn her.
“They carried knives and other weapons and they were cutting her.”
Just as she was about to be torched, a police unit arrived. They fired shots into the air causing the crowd to flee.
Elizabeth lived in a small room in a shack rented from one of the residents. The landlord was woken up early in the morning as the crowd arrived carrying what he described as a bamboo used for divination.
What is most disturbing is the fact that those in the settlement who were present believe and agree that she was practicing witchcraft – a claim they cannot really prove.
Elizabeth is the latest victim of a long list of women who have been accused and tortured because of sorcery allegations.
For police, finding proof of the allegations and getting people to come forward as witnesses to the attack is difficult.
The woman was later taken to Lae’s Angau Hospital for treatment.