Sorcery Act a mystery in Bougainville


THE Sorcery National Action Plan committee has found that many in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville do not know much about the 2013 Sorcery Act.
The committee said in a report there was no clear understanding of the legislation’s repeal.
“One senior police officer thinks that the act is going to provide a way for police to charge those accused of sorcery,” the report said.
“Another had not heard that it had been repealed.
“The most active place in dealing with these cases is the village courts and the wanbel courts, although some are more effective than others.
“The outcome is often that both parties pay each other something, although the payment by the accused is in no way taken as an admission of guilt.”
There is one ongoing case where the perpetrators were charged with the killing of two men in Tinputz last year.
“Several hundred people are currently displaced as a result of this incident,” the report said.
“There is also a man in jail in Buka serving a sentence for a sorcery-related murder.
“The police do not carry firearms and are often at risk if they try to intervene in sorcery-related cases.
“The general approach seems to be to just wait until the situation has calmed down and hope that the people will forget.
“People we have spoken to say there is knowledge about who the perpetrators are.
“People are very concerned about both sorcery and to a lesser extent sorcery accusations-related violence and want some guidance about how to deal with the issues. They want workshops and awareness.
“In general, people were more informed about the problems of sorcery-related violence in the Highlands than in Bougainville.
“There is little media reporting of the issues.”