Melbourne: Papua New Guinea authorities have arrested 29 people, who were accused of being part of a cannibal cult in their jungle interior, and have charged them with the murders of seven suspected witch doctors.
Madang Police Commander Anthony Wagambie confirmed a report in The National newspaper, which claimed that the cult members allegedly ate their victims’ brains raw and made soup from their penises.
“They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong; they admit what they’ve done openly,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Wagambie as saying.
He said that the killers believed that their victims practised “sanguma,” or sorcery, and that they had been extorting money as well as demanding sex from poor villagers for their supernatural services.
He also revealed that by eating witch doctors’ organs, the cult members believed that they would attain supernatural powers and literally become bullet-proof.
“It’s prevalent cult activity,” Wagambie said.
He claimed that there could be between 700 and 1,000 cult members in several villages in PNG’s remote northeast interior. All of them might have eaten human flesh.
According to newspaper, which is published in PNG, 28 men and women appeared in a Madang court on Tuesday.
Wagambie revealed that they had been charged with willful murder.
However, it was not clear what had happened to the 29th suspect.
Wagambie said that the suspects were not required to plea to the murder charges and were currently being held in custody.
The cops will be gathering more witness statements before pressing charges related to the cannibalism allegations, he said.
Although, Cannibalism was known to exist in isolated pockets of the country when it was under Australian colonial rule, 36-year-old Wagambie claimed that he had never heard of a previous case of cannibalism in his lifetime.
But he expected that police would make about 100 arrests over the weekend for cult-related crimes.
According to Wagambie, out of seven victims remains of just four have been recovered, adding that nothing else could be found.
“They’re probably all eaten up,” he added.
First Published: Sunday, July 22, 2012, 18:43