By YVONNE HAIP
WESTERN Highlands provincial police commander Supt Kaiglo Ambane says there are laws to protect the
people from being tortured.
“Only secondary village laws or ples lo, which are made by the people illegally, allowed torture,” Supt Ambane said.
He said this in response to the Post Courier report yesterday about a woman in Banz who had been tortured and was about to be hanged two years ago for allegedly using sorcery to kill her brother-in-law.
“It is a criminal offence to torture a human being,” Supt Ambane added.
In the report, Nolamb Yakimb, from Jimi, and her husband Paul Yakimb, lived in exile after they were accused of practicing sorcery to kill Mr Yakimb’s brother, Peter Buno.
Reports received by The National revealed that the body of Mr Buno was found on the banks of Mombol River in February 2008. He was allegedly murdered.
But back in their Kilip village, people concluded that it was an act of sorcery and brought in a sanguma doctor (witch doctor) to reveal the names of those involved.
The “doctor” accused Mrs Yakimb and during the funeral, the tribe decided that she be hanged for practicing sorcery.
According to investigator John Pel, she had a rope thrown around her neck and was about to
be hanged when the panic-stricken woman, who was also in the late stages of pregnancy, gave birth to her third child, who was later named after Catholic nun Sister Mercy.
Mr Pel said she was later freed and forced out of the village with her husband and three children.
He said Mrs Yakimb returned to her village in the Jimi district with her children but her husband wandered amongst relatives.
“But they were ignored and turned away because the people accused her of being a sorcerer, refusing to give her food and a home.
“Two of her daughters, aged three and one, died of malaria and starvation.
“Mrs Yakimb and her first born Bruce Sia were then reunited with the father last week with the help of the UN office of human rights,” Mr Pel said.
He said such cases were common in parts of the country and thanked the UN for the help given to the family.