5 May 2014

Sorcery beliefs still plague grassroots PNG

4:24 pm on 5 May 2014

A Papua New Guinea community health worker says countering traditional beliefs about sorcery remains a struggle.

The comment from Logae Ray from Roku village in Central Province comes five months after a conference in Goroka presented PNG's government with recommendations for addressing sorcery-related crime.

Mr Ray says widespread belief in witchcraft or sanguma has not been dulled by advances in medicine.

He says recently villagers turned on one of their own after convincing themselves he was to blame for a local woman becoming suddenly unwell.

"They attacked this poor guy and they really hurt him. Later, I myself as a health worker, found that actually this lady was not sick because of anything (sorcery-related). She was sick because of pneumonia. The next day she was okay. But this poor guy was traumatized already. And even the character of this guy has already been spoilt in the village by people saying this fella might be practicing sorcery and all this."

Logae Ray