Complaint lodged with police over PNG sorcery death

4:06 pm on 27 May 2015

A missionary in Papua New Guinea says an official complaint has been laid with police over a brutal murder in the Highlands region.

The alleged axe murder of a woman was prompted by accusations of sorcery.

Anton Lutz, a Luthern missionary in the area, was able to prevent three women accused of sorcery from being attacked earlier in the year, but says one of them was repeatedly hit by a man with an axe in her home on Monday.

Police say they are appealing to local MPs for funding to charter a plane to the remote village and investigate, but Anton Lutz says stopping the violent attacks is a long-term ideal.

"This woman, she's been accused over years of causing children to die of measles, and causing old men to die of pneumonia and causing people to die of malaria and they've been blaming her for this for a long time and so she's been trying to survive and raise her children and so on, but on Monday they walked up the hill and didn't give her any chance to explain herself and just killed her."

Anton Lutz says the primitive belief in ancestral spirits, called "sanguma", is behind the sorcery accusations.

Papua New Guinea showing border with Indonesia's Papua region

Papua New Guinea Photo: 123RF