IN the past decade in Papua New Guinea, hundreds of men, women and children have been accused of witchcraft or sorcery, and publicly tortured and murdered by vigilante mobs.
Endemic fears of black magic haunt Pacific Island communities, fuelling the violence.
“It is a public mob-mentality packed action. It is not just killing, but torturing, to try to get a confession out of them,” says Kate Scheutze, Amnesty International’s Pacific researcher.
In April 2014, six people – including two children – were murdered in Sasiko village in the Madang province on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea by marauding men from a neighbouring village.
Nearly one year earlier, a 20-year-old mother in Mount Hagen, in the Western Highlands, was burned to death after being accused of using sorcery against a 6-year-old boy who had died.