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Unveiling parallel legal systems in Papua New Guinea

Friday 9 October 2009, by siawi2

Witch suspect brutal murders

By DAVID MURI in Goroka

FOUR people – three sisters and a brother – were brutally murdered in a
gruesome fashion in jungle at the northern outskirts of Goroka town
yesterday.

An eyewitness at the killing scene told this reporter that their bodies
were severely mutilated and dumped off a cliff at Zauka. The elderly
siblings were suspected of killing a young mother through sorcery at Komiufa village on Sunday. The four were killed when 26-year-old woman, Joki Robin, who was severely interrogated at a kangaroo court, testified that she witnessed the siblings sharing the young woman’s heart
at the village. Those who died included Mrs Robin’s own mother. “I saw them eat the woman’s heart and told villagers when they tried to kill me. They spared my life when I admitted what I saw,” said Mrs Robin. When asked if she really saw her mother partake in the heart party, Robin replied: “Yes, I saw her with her brother and sisters sharing it. They boiled it and ate it at a hut in the village,” said the severely beaten woman, who lost her entire family in the tragedy. Her three little children were also missing. “I don’t know their whereabouts now,” she said.

The witness said the four people were rounded up by the dead woman’s
relatives at midnight and led to the jungle where they were executed.
The young woman died at the Goroka Base Hospital on Sunday, allegedly from labour complications after delivery.

But her relatives immediately sought advice from a witchdoctor who
pinpointed her death to have been caused by the family. The killing,
being perpetrated by many in the village, took place after the young mother’s body was laid to rest on Wednesday afternoon. The woman’s baby was removed from the hospital by relatives yesterday.

Provincial police commander Augustine Wampe was not aware of the
multiple murders when contacted late yesterday. “We’ve received no
reports on the killings,” he said.

Highlands divisional police commander Simon Kauba said he could not
verify the reports but added that he was stunned by the attack on the
four people.

“I am alarmed about this report. Police in Goroka are there to enforce
the law and whoever saw what happened should have reported and those
responsible should be arrested,” Mr
Kauba said.

He called on community leaders in the area to help police apprehend
those responsible for the barbaric act of genocide.