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Two Charged in Brutal Killing of Papua New Guinea "Witch"

Papua New Guinea police have charged two people with the gruesome killing of Kepari Leniata. The 20-year-old mother of one was burned alive in front of hundreds of people, including young children, after being accused of witchcraft.

According to the Associated Press, Leniata was stripped naked, tortured with a hot iron rod, bound, doused in gasoline and then set on fire on top of a pile of car tires and trash

Janet Ware and Andrew Watea have been charged with murder for the slaying of Leniata. Ware and Watea are believed to be the mother and uncle of a 6-year-old boy who died in the hospital. Relatives of the boy believed that Leniata had somehow used sorcery to cause his death. The exact way in which she supposedly used witchcraft to kill the young child is not known.

More than 40 other people were detained last week in connection with Leniata's killing. Although only Ware and Watea have been charged at this time, police have said that more arrests are expected.

Witchcraft is often blamed for unexplained misfortunes in rural Papua New Guinea, so what happened to Leniata is not a complete shock. However the brutal manner in which she was killed has been met with outrage across the South Pacific island nation. Murder in punishable by death in Papua New Guinea, although no one has been hanged since the country became independent in 1975.

At the time of the murder, police were on the scene. They were unable to prevent Leniata from being burned alive because they were vastly outnumbered by the mob calling for the young woman’s blood. Even so, an internal investigation is under way into the police's actions at the scene.

Source: (The Big Story)


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