Girl’s torturers will be arrested, says O’Neill


A POLICE taskforce will investigate and arrest those responsible for the torture of a six-year-old girl recently in Enga over sorcery allegations, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
O’Neill told parliament yesterday that he would talk to the police minister and commissioner to send a taskforce team to investigate the incident and arrest the perpetrators.
“If the local police is not taking charge of the incident then the police headquarters must take charge,” he said.
“Provincial, districts and the LLG judiciary systems, leaders at the ward level, must all stand together to address the issue.
“The acts of violence against our women are unacceptable and a gross abuse on society’s vulnerable.”
O’Neill said in colonial days, such acts of violence against women did not happen. We have parliament acts and laws already in place to protect our women and children but the problem lies in implementing these laws.
“So we need everyone to work together to address the issue,” he said.
O’Neill said that the Government had allocated K40m in the 2018 Budget for public awareness on sorcery-related violence, gender-based violence and other forms of violence against women and children.
“We have to educate our people and teach them that what they are doing is wrong. So starting from next year, we will do awareness on media, run workshops and awareness programmes,” he said
O’Neill called on MPs to use some of their DSIP funds to enact the laws to protect women and children.
The six-year-old girl’s mother, Lenieta Kepari, was accused of practising sorcery and was tortured and burned alive in 2013 in Mt Hagen.
Police said some villagers, believing that Kepari’s daughter had inherited her powers, tortured her, allegedly with an intention to kill her.