8 Jan 2009

PNG police say 2008 saw 50 sorcery-related killings in Highlands

2:28 pm on 8 January 2009

The Papua New Guinea police say more than 50 people were wilfully murdered, some in gruesome fashion, for allegedly practising sorcery in two Highlands provinces last year.

The Post Courier reports the Eastern Highlands provincial police commander, Teddy Tei, as saying more than 30 people were reportedly killed in the province while Chimbu police commander Joseph Tondop confirmed more than 20 cases.

However, they also say they believed there to be more unreported cases.

Mr Tei says in some cases people suspected of sorcery were tied and burnt alive while some were simply killed in front of other people .

He says the people of Eastern Highlands need to know that sorcery in itself is a crime but it is hard to prove in court, and they shouldn't take the law into their own hands.

Mr Tei says many of the sorcery suspects killed were innocent people.