A scar that will remain for life

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A YOUNG Jiwaka man who was attached by knife-wielding men who accused him of practising sorcery is now recovering and has forgiven his attackers.
Twenty-one-year old Tom (real name withheld) has come out bravely to tell of his ordeal.
Tom and three others were accused of killing a small boy, who went missing in the Minj River, through sorcery in 2016.
They served 11 months in jail before being released after the court could not find any evidence against them.
Tom was freed five months ago but could not return to his village because of the stigma associated with the accusation.
He was attacked on Nov 1, after returning from Goroka, where he had gone to apply to study at Kamaliki Technical School.
“Because of the long bus ride, I was so tired that I lay on the bed in my house at Minj junction,” Tom said.
“At around 9 pm, they (attackers) put out the lights and kicked open the door and entered the room where I was sleeping.”
Tom said men with their faces masked, swung bush knives at him.
“I was defenceless, I felt that if I hadn’t raised my hand they would have chopped my neck off. I recognised one of the faces, so when I called out his name, the rest retreated and left me bleeding,” he said.
On Nov 3, counsellors from human rights organisation Voice for Change Jiwaka and Minj police took him to Kudjip Nazarene General Hospital.
The tendons from his right hand and fingers were cut off, he sustained deep cuts to his head, back and left hand and fingers.
“I had done nothing wrong, but I  forgive them. What I feel so bad about is that I am very young and my reputation has been damaged. The scar of me being called bad names will remain with me all my life,” Tom said.
He said he was very disappointed that police could not do anything to protect him or bring the perpetrators to justice.
Voice for Change director Lilly Be’Soer said a lot of men, women and children in Jiwaka had been falsely accused of sorcery and were rejected by the community.