Sanguma ops seeking funds


THE police chief in Enga says there is an urgent need for the Government to fund a sanguma (sorcery) task force to combat the evil which is spreading like wildfire across the province.
Acting Superintendent Epenes Nili said this yesterday after a spate of sanguma accusation-based killings which culminated in the torture and burning of a six-year-old girl at Sirunki two weeks ago.
The girl, the daughter of the late Kepari Leniata, the Enga woman burned alive in Mt Hagen in February 2013 over allegations that she was a sanguma, was rescued at the Tukusanda aid post at Sirunki last Wednesday.
Police, until yesterday, had not made any arrests.
“Police have been patrolling the area but the suspects have fled into the jungle,” Nili told The National.
“It is a remote area, and although we have a road going there, it is a bush road which makes it difficult for police.
“Police have asked local leaders to hand in the suspects but no-one has owned up.”
The acting superintendent said he had set up a sanguma task force, and appealed to the Government for ample funding and resources.
“The Government can purchase a vehicle for the task force, which already has 10 men under my command, we can go out and immediately attend to sanguma cases,” he said.
“This thing has already instilled fear among all the communities in Enga.
“People believe that sanguma is real.
“If one dies of TB, malaria or any other sickness, the quick conclusion the villagers come up with is sanguma.
“In order for them not to believe in such nonsense, awareness must reach these areas.
“This is a relatively new phenomenon which has come into the province.
“We have never had this thing in the past.”