Two charged over 'witch' burning

Last updated 21:01 18/02/2013

Relevant offers


Kiwi woman 'overbalanced' and fatally fell from Melbourne apartment - police Suspected killer Michael Vance broadcasts getaway from US police on Facebook Live Plane crashes on takeoff at Malta airport, five aboard killed France rumbles 'The Jungle': Fear and questions hang over doomed migrant camp Shakespeare's Henry VI co-author finally gets a writing credit, 400 years on Galaxy Note 7 recall: More than 500 sue Samsung for $616 Rurik Jutting: British banker 'filmed killing and torture' of two women in his luxury Hong Kong high rise, jury told 'The leaning tower of San Francisco': Scandal as 58-storey high-rise for the city's well-heeled sinks 'Hitler reborn' jailed for killing Australian man he blamed for his father's death Iceland braces for a Pirate Party takeover, as Western politics continues 2016 shake-up

Papua New Guinea police have charged two people with the grisly killing of a woman who was burned alive in front of hundreds of people, including young children, after being accused of witchcraft.

Janet Ware and Andrew Watea were charged with murder over the slaying of Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old mother who was stripped, tortured with a hot iron rod, doused in gasoline and set alight on a pile of car tires and trash by a mob earlier this month.

Leniata had been accused of sorcery by relatives of a 6-year-old boy who had recently died in a hospital. Ware and Watea are believed to be the boy's mother and uncle, police said in a statement.

The two were among more than 40 people who were detained last week in connection with Leniata's slaying. The others were eventually released due to lack of evidence, but police said more arrests are expected.

In rural Papua New Guinea witchcraft is often blamed for unexplained misfortunes, but the brutal killing was met with outrage across the South Pacific island nation, drawing condemnation from the prime minister, police and diplomats.

Police said the hundreds of onlookers, many of whom were children and teenagers, were powerless to stop the mob who participated in Leniata's killing in the Western Highlands provincial capital of Mount Hagen.

Police officers were also among the spectators, but were outnumbered and couldn't save the woman, national police spokesman Dominic Kakas said. An internal investigation is under way into the police's actions at the scene.

Murder in punishable by death in Papua New Guinea, although no one has been hanged since the country became independent in 1975. 

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content