A GROUP of four women, along with their 13 children and grandchildren, are at risk of being murdered after being accused of witchcraft, in Papua New Guinea a missionary says.
Reverend Anton Lutz, a Lutheran Church missionary in Enga, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that while details were still coming in, the church, Government and non-government organisations were trying to see if they could help.
He said a “witch-hunter” pointed them out when villagers were investigating a measles outbreak that had killed several people.
“A witch-hunter, as it were, travelled from a village called Wanakipa ... to the place where these women were and to identify them,” he said.
He said their lives were in serious danger.
“This is happening in the Hewa language (group), which extends between the northern part of Hela province and the western part of Enga province. It’s a very large group and they are well known for murdering women,” he said.
Lutz said he knew of at least 25 women killed over the past 10 years after being accused of sorcery in the western part of the Hewa language group, with no arrests being made.
He said it was difficult to get the authorities to help because the community was only accessible by one airstrip and reports had only just emerged about the imminent killings.
“It’s an extremely remote part of this country. We’re still trying to notify the authorities and we’re waiting for calls back from the police right now.”