PNG police investigate torture of 4 women cleaners by teachers in school

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Today's PNG Post-Courier front page . . . teachers alleged to have tortured the women on a Porgera school campus 070323
Today's PNG Post-Courier front page . . . the teachers are alleged to have tortured the women for 11 hours on a Porgera school campus. Image: PNG Post-Courier screenshot APR

PNG Post-Courier

Several teachers from a Papua New Guinean school in Porgera, Enga province, are now being investigated by police after they allegedly instigated the torture, burning and interrogation of four women over sorcery accusations on the campus.

The four women who worked as cleaners at the school were attacked after one of the teachers died suddenly last week.

According to Enga police commander acting Superintendent George Kakas, the women had been seen chatting with the teacher last week before he collapsed an hour after being seen with the women.

PPC Kakas said the women were then forced into the home of the deceased teacher and interrogated for 11 hours by the colleagues of the deceased and his relatives.

“Last week the teacher collapsed. He was believed to have conversed in a casual meeting with women earlier on in the day and collapsed in the afternoon,” Superintendent Kakas said.

“Relatives and some teachers and public servants accused the four women of practising sorcery and taking out the deceased’s heart.

“They were taken into the teacher’s house and brutally tortured with bush knives, axes and iron rods from about 5pm that evening until 4am the next day when they were rescued by security force members consisting of Porgera police and PNG Defence Force soldiers.

Relatives barred police
“When police tried to have a look at the body of the deceased, his relatives refused to let police near the body, saying that ‘the glasman was seeing the body and that the teacher was still alive’.

Glasmen are men who claim to be able to identify and accuse women of sorcery.

“I commend the work of the police station commander Porgera, Inspector Martin Kelei, who led the team to the teacher’s house after a tip-off and rescued [the tortured women].

“They were all driven safely to Wabag hospital where they are now undergoing treatment. I immediately instructed my OIC CID Wabag to do a postmortem on the body.

“The next day they confirmed the teacher died of a massive heart attack.”

Superintendent Kakas said: “There you have it. It’s a confirmed heart attack, and the ladies were falsely accused, tortured and nearly killed.

“We know the identities of the key instigators of the torture of the four women and are working to apprehend them.

“I will make it my personal business to ensure these perpetrators are arrested and charged.

I have an investigation team working on that through my OIC [officer in charge] sorcery accusation-related violence unit here in Wabag.”

Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.

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