By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
POLICE have identified eight suspects in the killing of Mary Kopari who was tied spread-eagled between poles in public, tortured and mutilated by several men on May 7 over sorcery allegations in Hela’s Margarima. And East Sepik Governor Allan Bird, a member of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) that held a public enquiry recently, said: “We should be moving aggressively to arrest everyone involved in accusing and carrying out extra judicial killings of an innocent woman. This is not normal behaviour.” The inquiry focused much on horror and barbaric violence in sorcery-related issues and outbreaks. Officer-in-Charge of Hela CID Sgt Daniel Olabe told The National that because of the killing, “there was a confrontation between the woman’s family and the husband’s family”. “Police are unable to move into the area in Margarima,” he said. “However, from the video, we have identified eight men who tortured the woman. “We are currently trying to get the suspects to come forward and tell us what happened.” He said that “we are aware they are hiding in the surrounding mountains”. Kopari was accused of killing a two-year-old boy through sorcery.
A video obtained by The National showed a horrifying scene of a lone woman bound by barbed wire. She screams in pain as her torturers tighten the barb wire around her ankles while other men look on with no one reaching to try to help or rescue her. Kopari, who was from Halungi village, in South Koroba Local Level Government, Koroba-Kopiago, was married to a man from Tatape village in the Lower Wage LLG, Komo-Margarima. The relatives of the boy suspected three women, including Kapari, of causing his death with the use of sorcery. The other two women fled their village. Kopari, according to Sgt Olabe, had no idea what had happened, was busy selling potatoes in the Margarima market when she was approached by the boy’s relatives. They confronted Kopari and demanded to know why she was practising sorcery or sanguma, Sgt Olabe said. “Mary was forcibly taken to an area in Margarima where she was tied up between two posts and tortured, hands and legs bound by barbed wire. “From 1pm until 10pm, Kopari was tortured, assaulted and burned by her tormentors and killers, until they decided to severe limbs, killing her. “Her severed limbs and body were taken to and dumped in Tigibi in the Hulia Local Level Government along the road.”
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA