UK & World News

  • 13 February 2013, 20:41

'Witchcraft' Pair Rescued From Burning Alive

Two women who were about to be burned alive by a mob after being accused of witchcraft have were saved with moments to spare, according to reports.

The last-minute rescue in Papua New Guinea came just days after a young mother accused of being a witch was set alight and died in the same area.

The 20-year-old was stripped naked and doused with petrol before being set on fire in front of a crowd last week.

She had been accused of causing the death of a six-year-old boy using sorcery and had earlier been tortured with a branding iron.

The National newspaper said the latest incident, also in Mount Hagen, involved two elderly women who were accused of playing a part in the death of a girl aged eight.

However, police spokesman Teddy Tei said the youngster had in fact been raped and killed by two known suspects - and that they were part of the mob who had rounded on the two women.

With them was a "glassman", a man who claimed to have supernatural powers and who had identified the women as sorcerers.

Mr Tei said 20 suspects were arrested at the scene after police were tipped off by a witness.

There is widespread belief in sorcery in the Pacific nation, where many people refuse to accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune and death.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has described killings associated with sorcery as "barbaric" and has instructed police to bring anyone involved to justice.

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