Sorcery ‘killings’ start fights

National, Normal

The National,Monday16 January 2012

THE work of police is being made harder as sorcery-related violence continues to take its toll in rural areas, acting Jiwaka police commander Bill Kombel says.
He said although most cases were unreported, the practice of sorcery “is becoming widespread and families are being affected by it”.
Kombel said in Jiwaka, a gun battle broke out within a clan in Nondugl, in North Waghi, and as a result, two houses were razed and several villagers were nursing minor wounds.
Two gunmen, who were reportedly hired for the fight, suffered pellet wounds. One man was shot on the legs and the other under the chin.
Kombel said it was a clash between two sub-clans who fought after the death of a boy more than three months ago.
The deceased’s sub-clan accused another sub-clan of using sorcery to “kill” the boy.
That resulted in the fight, which could have turned nasty if police had not intervened, Kombe said.
He said the Minj and Banz police station commanders were deployed to the area and brought the situation under control.
Kombel said the sub-clans hired gunmen for the fight.
He said despite suffering gunshot wounds, the gunmen had not been taken for medical treatment and had been kept in hiding by their tribesmen.
He said the practice of sorcery was increasingly becoming a belief and was making the work of police harder because it could not be proven.
He asked disputing factions to stop hiring “so-called” gunmen and warned the hired men to “stay out” of such issues.
Unconfirmed reports said a sorcery-related incident took place in Minj, South Waghi, during the festive season.
It is claimed a woman was beaten up by her husband’s relatives and forced to admit she had practised sorcery to make her husband sick.