Fear of witchcraft 'spreading like wildfire' in PNG: police

8:22 am on 28 May 2015

Police in Papua New Guinea's remote highlands say the belief in witchcraft and sorcery is spreading to new areas.

The Highlands Highway in Papua New Guinea

The Highlands Highway in Papua New Guinea Photo: PNG PM's Office

The Provincial Police Commander for Enga, George Kakas, says people moving from village to village, intermarriage, and the remoteness of the villages have all contributed to the growth of the belief.

On Monday a woman, known as Misila, was hacked to death with an axe in Fiyawena village in Enga province, by ten men who blamed her for a measles epidemic last year.

George Kakas says he has received an official complaint and is now writing to local MPs to ask for money to fly a plane to the village to investigate.

"The practice of witchcraft and sorcery is slowly coming out of the province now, it's spreading now, it's spreading like wildfire into places where there was never any practice of sorcery. Just the movement of people, moving around and starting to believe what other people believe."

George Kakas says resources are low and it costs almost $1500 US dollars to charter the plane.

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