Bougainville police detain woman accused of using black magic
Police on Bougainville are investigating the violent murder of man who was taken hostage with three others, one of whom police have detained and accused of using black magic.
Police on Bougainville in Papua New Guinea say they are investigating the torture and killing of a man who was accused of practising sorcery.
Albert Bute, from the Bana district village of Nokaia, was last week accused of using black magic to cause the death of a woman three weeks ago. The woman's relatives then raided the village and kidnapped him and three others.
Mr Bute was killed and the others held hostage, one managed to flee on foot while police managed to negotiate the release of the other two.
However, one of the hostages is now being held by police in the provincial capital, Arawa, after she allegedly admitted to practising sorcery.
The commander of central Bougainville police, Januarius Vosivai, says that despite no scientific evidence police are still looking to charge the woman, despite the Sorcery Act - which outlawed sorcery- being repealled by the national government after a wave of high profile killings last year.
He spoke to Jamie Tahana.
JANUARIUS VOSIVAI: There was an incident where a woman died after a long illness. So, after she passed away there was this information [that suggested] that she died from sorcery so the suspect was this old man.
JAMIE TAHANA: Have there been any arrests? Where are you at with the investigation?
JV: There still haven't been any arrests, but we've put together an investigation team and our officers from central Bougainville are trying to work on the investigation. We are trying to investigate the allegations, allegations of sorcery, and at the same time the murder of the sorcery suspect.
JT: OK, so you've got two investigations going on, the accusations of sorcery and the subsequent murder?
JV: That's right.
JT: How is this the case? Wasn't the Sorcery Act repealled?
JV: Yes, that's the problem we are facing now. The Sorcery Act in Papua New Guinea has been repealled and we have a situation where one of the hostages has admitted to using sorcery to kill the woman who died three or four weeks ago. So that is the situation we are in now, we are trying to find alternate means of how we can deal with this. I mean, one of the hostages has admitted to practicing sorcery.
JT: How does this hostage think they've committed sorcery?
JV: Well when we managed to negotiate the release of the two other hostages we took the lady to Arawa police station and we had one of our officers do an interview of the woman and she admitted that she and the deceased did actually agree to kill the woman using sorcery.
JT: Scientifically, how is this possible?
JV: I mean, that's the problem that we are currently experiencing. I mean, there has to be some scientific evidence to prove that what these two people used was able to cause the death of the woman.
JT: So you're investigating into her admission, are you? As well as the murder - seperate investigations here?
JV: Yes, that's right. We are trying to investigate the sorcery but at the same time the matter of the old man. We will have to consult with our lawyers to find alternative charges to lay on the old woman. I mean, she's admitted to sorcery, but because of the appeal we have to find alternate charges.
JT: Is the option of not laying any charges there? Because if there is no scientific basis for sorcery...
JV: Absolutely, but I mean we'll try and consult our criminal code act and I mean because these two people, the late Albert and the old woman who we are keeping at Arawa conspired to kill the woman so maybe if there's any chance of charging her for conspiracy to commit murder of something, I think we could use that. Otherwise if we have no other options we have no choice but to have the woman released.
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