Sorcery just like murder, mayor says


SORCERY should be treated as murder because people believe in it and it is part of traditional belief system, Aitape Mayor Ian Welisai says.
Welisai was speaking after an incident at Suain village, in the Aitape-Lumi district, where a man who was accused of sorcery by the villagers retaliated with the help of his relatives and destroyed at least 13 houses.
“Sorcery is embedded in our culture and tradition and there is no law or legislation to prosecute those who are suspected it,” he said.
Suain village spokesman Kingsley Maningu, who also lost his house, said the attack on the village was the result of someone being accused of sorcery and a fightover land.
The accused, he said, “was having conflict with some of our villagers regarding a land boundary”.
Maningu said the accused threatened to use sorcery to hurt those he had issue with over the land.
“Because he already threatened the villagers, they also threatened him and told him that if anyone died within that period, he would get the blame,” he said.
He said the accused and 16 relatives returned and destroyed the houses of more than 10 families. A14-year-old boy was hurt with a knife.
He said police had been told.