The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011
By YVONNE HAIP
THE practice of sorcery has been driven to an extent where a seven-year-old boy was stoned by his elementary school mates on Monday afternoon in Kudjip in Western Highlands.
The boy was on his way home after school when his friends teased him and accused him of being the child of parents who practised sorcery.
The teasing had been ongoing for some time, until Monday, when his school mates beat him up and went to the extreme of screaming and chasing him home after school.
The youngster, from Banz in North Waghi, was leaving with a caretaker in Kudjip after his parents, who were accused of practising sorcery, were driven out from their village.
The boy’s mother had been accused of using sorcery to kill a man in 2008 and had been captured by angry relatives of the deceased and tortured many times, during the funeral, to force her to admit that she was a sorceress.
She was in the later stages of her pregnancy at the time, and when she refused to admit that she was a sorcerer, the villagers hanged her.
While she was hanging from the rope, she gave birth to her second child, a daughter, and almost lost her life if it had not been for her husband and others who saved her.
The experience was also traumatising in that she also lost her third daughter while fleeing from angry relatives of the deceased.
Because of these, the seven-year-old was sent to live with a villager who operates a care centre for children and families who had been accused of practising sorcery in Kudjip.
The carer, who was also in the process of registering his association, said the little boy often came home in tears after his school mates teased him and beat him up.
He said this was not right and such were the effects of defaming comments made about the boy’s parents, especially when there was no evidence that they were sorcerers.
He called on the government and relevant agencies to look into this because accusing a person of sorcery and the effects on their children were damaging.
He added that natural causes of death were increasingly being blamed on sorcery and the government had to fast-track the review of laws that it was currently working on.