Horror torture in Hela

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A WOMAN accused of killing a two-year-old boy through sorcery was assaulted, tortured and killed after her limbs were chopped off in Margarima, Hela, last month. According to Hela’s officer-in-charge CID Sgt Daniel Olabe, the woman was Mary Kopari who was in her late 30s. A video obtained by The National showed a horrifying scene of a lone woman, tied spread eagle between two posts and tortured. The video shows the woman, dragged between the posts, hands and legs bound by barbed wire. She screams in pain as her torturers tighten the barb wire around her ankles while other men look on with no one reaching to assist her. Mary was from Halungi village, in South Koroba LLG, Koroba-Kopiago, and was married to a man from Tatape village in the Lower Wage LLG, Komo-Margarima. The relatives of the boy suspected three women, along with Mary, of causing his death. The other women escaped. Mary, who, according to Sgt Olabe, had no idea of what had happened, was busy selling potatoes at the Margarima market when she was approached by the boy’s relatives. They confronted Mary and demanded to know why she was practicing sorcery or sanguma, Sgt Olabe said. “Mary was round up and taken to an area in Margarima where she was tied up between two posts and tortured, hands and legs bound by barbed wire. “From when she was taken at 1pm until 10pm, Mary was tortured, assaulted and burned until they chopped off her limbs, killing her. “Her severed limbs and body were taken to and left at Tigibi, in the Hulia local level government along the road.” Mary is among five women in two months who have been accused of sorcery in four different provinces with the first reported case of a man accused of sorcery in Daru, Western. Meanwhile in Enga last week, a woman who was tortured eventually died from injuries sustained during the torture. It was reported that the woman, who was rescued by police and taken to the Wabag General Hospital, was accused by her late husband’s family, of causing the death of a man in Kopiam. In Eastern Highlands, a mother and daughter who were rescued by police in Goroka are still recovering with police yet to make an arrest on those implicated on the attack on the duo. In Daru, a man was accused of causing the death of five people was dragged out of his home at the Samarai settlement and tortured before police intervened.  However, he died from the injuries he sustained. In the National Capital District, two women from Eastern Highlands were tortured and rescued by police. Both were found tied and burned after being accused of sorcery. From these cases, no arrests have been made. The National has reached out to police investigators with the same report given that while suspects have been identified, it was hard to take in the suspects because they lived near the accused families or they were related. Witnesses are also too scared to come forward because of fear of reprisal. In the recently concluded Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence public hearing the committee heard about the hardships of those who continue to fight against GBV and sorcery cases. Committee deputy chair and East Sepik Governor Allan Bird told The National that “we should not stand around while women and girls are tortured and killed on suspicion of sorcery”. “Those who commit horrendous murder should be arrested and charged.”