Police in the south of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville are trying to negotiate with armed kidnappers for the release of three women who urgently need treatment at the province's main hospital in Buka.
Bougainville's police commander, Paul Kamuai, says the women were hurt in the same attack in which a prominent school teacher, Helen Rumbali, was decapitated last week.
The kidnappers had accused the women of sorcery following the death of another school teacher.
Mr Kamuai says the kidnappers have set up a road block and are demanding compensation before they will allow vehicles in to transport the wounded women to hospital.
"The police are making negotiations with those at the road block. So it is quite difficult for the police of course, with the negotiations as well. They are demanding 10,000 [kina or about 4,500 US dollars] from the accused sorcerers before the three patients can be moved away from the rural health centre to Buka."
Bougainville's police commander, Paul Kamuai