By PETER WARI
Five people held captive in relation to a suspected sorcery-related killing in Kagua, Southern Highlands have been tortured, according to police.
Southern Highlands police commander Chief Supt Sibron Papoto has ordered police in Kagua to check the condition of the captives.
He said a senior police officer first went to where they were being held at 9am last Thursday to see the condition but a councillor said they had gone to the nearby river to bathe.
Papoto said he sent in a second group of officers on Friday who forced their way in and saw one of the suspects with a swollen face which they believed had resulted from beatings from the captors.
Last Saturday, Papoto said he was going to send eight police units in Mendi to negotiate the release of the captives, however, he fell sick and travelled to Mt Hagen for medical treatment.
“Because of misleading reports by the leaders in Kagua, I will be strategising on how to attend to this situation.
“I called the councillor to guarantee the safety of the captives and he spoke positive words but lied.
“If I see any bruises or torture marks on their bodies, he as a councillor will be held responsible as it is against the law to torture people in relation to sorcery.
“Armed men are refusing police to enter the domain where the people are held captive but their safety is of paramount importance and police will force their way in.” he said.
Papoto said this was a serious issue and police cannot be forced to stay away from the incident as it was against the law to torture innocent people.
The first suspect was held captive for almost three weeks and four others were take a week following the death of Charles Luta Miru, a former MP and a peace advocate from the Rogoma tribe in Kagua Local Level Government (LLG).
Papoto said there was a very high number of sorcery-related matters in the province but many were not reported to police due to fear of retaliation.
By PETER WARI