SYDNEY — A series of killings by a cannibal cult, whose members believe they have supernatural powers to identify sorcerers, has delayed elections in the Commonwealth nation of Papua New Guinea.
The cult is accused of killing and eating seven people — five men and two women — accused of practising black magic in remote jungle territory around the coastal town of Madang. Police say they have arrested 29 members, including a 13-year-old boy, but the leader, a local councillor, remains at large.
The cult began as an attempt to curb extortion by self-proclaimed sorcerers who were demanding money from sick people. But its members began to believe that they had special powers to detect sorcerers.
“It used to be a good thing, but now it’s turned into a kind of cult. They killed (the first victim) on the roadside. They cut out his heart, they cut out his brains, they drank his blood,” a political activist told the Sydney Morning Herald.
A police commander, Anthony Wagambie Jr, said several members had confessed to eating body parts and making soup from the victims.
Belief in sorcery and witchcraft is widespread in the Pacific nation, which has a Sorcery Act aimed at preventing attacks on people accused of practising black magic. Police say villagers near the headquarters of the 500-member cult have been unable to vote because of fears for their safety. The election may now continue until next week.
The Daily Telegraph