Police save 12 women forced to face test in river


ENGA police yesterday saved 12 women at Irelya village just outside Wabag from being tortured on allegations of sanguma (sorcery).
Irelya is the home of Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, who was reportedly irate over the incident.
Acting police commander Epenes Nili said last night that the incident happened after the death of a child at Irelya.
“They (villagers) suspected all the ladies (of causing the death). So they took the 12 ladies down to the river and told them to cross over,” he said.
“They believed that when the ladies entered the water, frogs would jump out of their bodies, and they would be able to find out who was responsible for the death. Fortunately, I was alerted on time and my men were able to rush to the scene and save the ladies. They were released unharmed. No one owned up as to who ordered the ladies to cross over the river. I have ordered police to continue patrolling around Irelya so that there are no more tortures.”
Nili said the belief in sanguma was growing, not only in Enga but around the country, and urged the Government to fund awareness programmes.
“I call on the Government to fund this awareness and set up a task force to attend to this,” he said.
“I also appeal to my people in Enga to refrain from such activities.
“Police will come down hard on people involved in torturing of men, women and children accused of sanguma. This must be stopped immediately.”
Nili said Sir Peter was fuming at the incident happening in his village and had asked police to arrest those responsible.