Sydney. Police in remote Papua New Guinea have
arrested members of an alleged cannibal cult accused of killing at least
seven people, eating their brains raw and making soup from their
penises, a report said on Friday.
The 29 people were part of a
1,000-strong group formed to combat errant sorcerers who The National
newspaper said had begun charging exorbitant fees.
The cost of a
witch doctor revealing a cause of death or casting out an evil spirit
was usually 1000 kina ($472) cash, plus a pig and a bag of rice, but
some were also demanding sex as payment.
“It’s against our
traditional ethics and morals for a sorcerer to have intercourse with a
man’s wife or teenage daughter,” said one local cult leader in the Tangi
area, inland from Madang province on PNG’s northeast coast. “That was the main cause of frustration that led to the forming of a group to hunt down sorcerers.
“Over time, as suspects were released to carry on as sorcerers, we got tired and fed up.”
is a widespread belief in sorcery in PNG where many people do not
accept natural causes as an explanation for misfortune, illness,
accidents or death.
Locals determined to get revenge on the
profiteering witch doctors sought their own supernatural training from
village chiefs, using their “possessed” bush knives to hunt down and
kill seven people since April, the report said.
“We ate their
brains raw and took body parts such as livers, hearts, penis and others
back to the hausman (traditional men’s houses) for our chief trainers to
create other powers for the members to use,” one of those arrested
The killings saw police raid Biamb village last week and arrest 29 people, eight of them women.
local expert in the supernatural cited by the newspaper said the way
the group operated was different from traditional PNG hausman practice,
which would normally see specific people trained to hunt a sanguma
“But these people never kill sorcerers in broad
daylight, mutilate and eat sorcerers’ flesh, livers, and hearts or make
soup from the penis of sorcerers,” he said. “This is insane and the cannibalism (of this group) goes beyond the local culture.”
provincial police commander Anthony Wagambie urged other followers of
the group, believed to number more than 1,000, to surrender.
“It is the tip of the iceberg and more needs to be done to educate locals to eradicate the movement,” he told The National. “Police
cannot do it alone. It requires collective effort from government,
responsible agencies, non-governmental organisations and the churches to