A woman accused of being a sorceress has been hacked to death by a mob in Papua New Guinea.
Known only as Mifila, she was killed with an axe by a group of men in a remote part of the country’s Enga province last week, The Australian Daily Telegraph reports.
Two other women were targeted in the attack but they were rescued by other villages who heard their screams for help.
Deputy police commander of Enga province Epenes Nili told Guardian Australia he had learned of Mifila’s death on Wednesday.
He said: “The lady, she was accused of performing magic resulting in the death of several people in the village.
“With this total lie, just because of the strong belief in [sorcery] there, she was murdered.”
Nili has vowed to apprehend Mifila’s attackers and promised to assemble a team to exhume her body and arrest the suspects.
“The vicious killing of Misila highlights the Papua New Guinean government’s persistent failure to address the wave of attacks against those, mainly women, accused of ‘sorcery’. The government must act immediately to ensure that the perpetrators of such attacks are brought to justice,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.
“The fact that two other women who only narrowly escaped death last week are at imminent risk means that the government must act now.
"These two women must be given protection immediately and police must be given the resources to travel to remote communities so as to ensure the protection of others who are at risk, and to ensure that such attacks are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.”
Violent crime and allegations of witchcraft are rife in Papua New Guinea, where the government recently voted to revive the death penalty.
An Amnesty report for 2014/15 carried reports of violence against women and children, including as a result of sorcery accusations. It also details “unnecessary and excessive use of force by police.”