By Malum Nalu
Enga police saved three women in the nick of time from being burned alive over allegations of sanguma (sorcery) on Wednesday night, according to acting police commander Epenes Nili.
Nili told The National yesterday that they were tipped off on Wednesday night that the three women were going to be burned alive at Yakaindis village in Minamba Valley, Wapenamenda, and arrived in time to save them.
He said the three women were accused of killing a man through sanguma earlier this week.
Nili said a group of men, rather than reporting the matter to police or seeking a medical opinion on the cause of death, blamed the three women and took them away to be tortured and burned alive as is the usual practice in Enga.
“They took the three women up into the mountains leading into the jungle,” he said.
“They set up old tyres and firewood to burn the three women.
“When I received the tip-off, I immediately called my police officers, who went into the village and rescued the three women at about 9 o’clock in the night.
“Unfortunately, we did not make any arrests as the men had fled in all directions.
“We rescued the three women, dressed them up, put them in the police vehicle and brought them back.
“If it wasn’t for police, the three ladies would be dead by now.”
Nili, who has been working hard with Enga-based American Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz to fight the increasing incidences of sanguma-related killings in the province, expressed concern at this phenomenon.
“I appeal to these people that what they are doing is against the law,” he said.
“The maximum penalty against people involved in such sorcery-related killings is death.
“I condemn people who take the law into their own hands.
“If there is a death, it must be reported to police or medical doctors, so that we can help them find the cause of death.”
Nili said sanguma-related killings were a new trend in Enga which was now reaching frightening proportions.
“I appeal to the people of Enga to stop this,” he said.
“This is a new thing in Enga.
“If anyone is caught by Enga police, the death penalty will apply, so refrain from such evil activities.”
By Malum Nalu