By Vannessa Knight – EM TV Port Moresby
A woman, who was saved from a sorcery-related attack early this year by missionaries and police in Enga Province, was brutally murdered in front of her family on Monday this week.
The mother of three, identified as Misila, was one of four women who narrowly escaped death, at hands of angry villagers in February after they were accused of practicing witchcraft, when several people in the province died from a measles outbreak.
Lutheran Missionary, Anton Lutz who assisted police in rescuing the women, said villagers and family members stood helpless as ten men believed to be from around a known area, entered the village.
Armed with guns, bush knives with and axes, the men hacked the woman to death outside her house at Fiawena village in the western part of Enga Province at midday, in front of family and villagers.
Lutz speaking to EMTV News this morning said, people from the Hewa area believe in supernatural spirits called sanguma, which they believe is responsible for mysterious sicknesses and deaths.
This killing is related to the February incident, where four women were accused of practicing sorcery and killing several people, who in fact died from a measles outbreak.
A witch-finder has since withdrawn her allegations, citing bribery and coercion by angry villagers, as her reasons for falsely identifying the four as sorcerers.
Misila’s family have reportedly stated, they’ll not retaliate, but let the law take its cause.
Mr Lutz says locals are willing to assist police investigations, but fear retaliation from the group.
Public outcry following a string of brutal public killings in the country in 2013, includes that of the late Leniata Kapari, saw the repeal of the 1971Sorcery Act, to acknowledge the accusation of sorcery as a plausible defence in murder cases, which is punishable by death.