By REBECCA KUKU
A WOMAN who was accused of sorcery, tortured and burnt along with her sister, passed away in a hospital in Enga last week.
The attack on the sisters occurred in a village in Enga in July.
Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz told The National that the 50-year-old woman (whose name was withheld to protect other family members who are still in hiding) died a month after her sister from injuries sustained in the torture.
“A man from their village passed away, and they were blamed for it,” he said.
Her other two family members managed to get away but the 50-year-old and her sister were captured and tortured.
“We had to bring it to the attention of the Police Minister Bryan Kramer before police actually came in.
“The two sisters were rescued and brought to the hospital.
“This was in July.
“One passed away and the other one just died.”
Lutz said such cases in the upper Highlands were often not reported to the media.
“For example, so far, this year, more than 25 women have been attacked in Enga alone.
“Some have sustained minimal injuries and simply relocated to other places.
“Others were badly hurt, and some were killed or died of their injuries in hospital, like these two sisters.”
Lutz said the country needed an effective system in place to respond to sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) cases in a coordinated way. “This included rapid response by police, managed care in hospital and long-term support and case management for victims and their families,” he said.
“We live in communities, however, for communities to be safe, this requires leaders to stand up and be counted in every village and haus lain.
“We need leadership both at the national level and in every household.
“When Papua New Guineans decide not to torture and murder the vulnerable, but instead, to show them gutpela pasin, then this epidemic of SARV will be over.
“This means that the work of changing hearts and minds remains to be done.”
Lutz also called on Sunday school teachers, health workers, teachers, pastors, missionaries, police officers, village court magistrates, public servants and journalists to do their part.
“We should speak the right words and act the right way so that false beliefs about sanguma (sorcery) and acceptable violence do not destroy another generation.”
By REBECCA KUKU