26 Nov 2009

No proven increase in PNG sorcery killings says researcher

4:38 pm on 26 November 2009

Papua New Guinea's Melanesian Institute says the number of violent deaths linked to alleged sorcery or witchcraft may not have increased despite more reported cases.

Highlands provinces have seen the most reported cases over the past three years, with Simbu province alone reporting an estimated 200 annual witch-killings.

The Melanesian Institute says international reports that the problem is linked to soaring HIV/AIDs infection rates are not accurate for many parts of PNG.

The Institute's acting director Mary Tankulu says there may be a misperception through international media that the problem in PNG is worsening.

"It was already in the traditional societies, like the belief system was already there. Like it was never really reported but it was part of the fabric of the community. So now it's like, there are instances of people reporting it."

Mary Tankulu of the Melanesian Institute