Accused Witch Burned Alive in Papua New Guinea

Despite scores of witnesses, no arrests have been made
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2013 1:15 PM CST
Accused Witch Burned Alive in Papua New Guinea
A rural road in Papua New Guinea.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The AP has a horrific story from Papua New Guinea, where a 20-year-old woman was tortured by a mob and then burned alive after being accused of witchcraft. Hundreds of bystanders watched, and some even photographed her death, but local police have yet to make a single arrest. Kepari Leniata, who has an infant son, was accused of sorcery by relatives of a young boy who had recently died in the hospital. Leniata's husband is suspected of playing a role in the accusations, and he is now missing.

While belief in sorcery is relatively common in rural PNG and this isn't the first sorcery-related killing there, Leniata's death has become a national sensation—similar to the gang rape and murder of a young woman in India, reports the Australian. Wonders editor Rowan Callick: "Is it possible that Lanieta's brutal killing could trigger a similar popular campaign in PNG, which could lead to appropriate legislative and educational reform, and to a tough response from the police and courts?" (Read more Papua New Guinea stories.)

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