Witchcraft

The belief in witchcraft is deeply rooted not only in Vanuatu but other Pacific countries as well. Last year a woman was killed in PNG following accusations of sorcery. In this photo people look on as fire burns on a pile of rubbish where the woman was reportedly killed in Mount Hagen, PNG.

AFP/Post-Courier

Informal public execution of two Akam fathers has been linked to the Presbyterian Church and chiefs from Akam, an island off South West Malekula.

Songi Samuel and Simion Bahvaus were brutally tortured by piercing their finger tips with sharp objects and breaking their bones before they were hanged in their community hall by a mob.

A prayer group linked with Vanuatu's biggest church, accused the two men of "killing 35 people" on the island with sorcery. 

And the chiefs on the island put their seal of approval on the "vision of the prayer group" that the 65-year-old man and another 54-year-old used witchcraft to murder the islanders.

Both men men were publicly lynched witnessed by women and children last Friday afternoon.

The horrific murder of the two men has shocked Akham, because they said the last person to be be shot there was in 1960.

An elder of the Presbyterian church, former Malekula MP Jacklyn Titek, has has described the prayer group as "heretics".

"You can not work outside the beliefs and doctrines of the church which is based primarily on love and then kill people," the Elder said.

Elder Titek says in Vanuatu there are no laws about sorcery.

And there is no death penalty for people convicted of a major serious crime in Court but the former MP said yet outside court people accused of practicing witchcraft can be hanged based on hearsay or "vision".

The Presbyterian Elder urges the Police to get to the bottom of the issue because he claimed the killing was incited by a payer group in Port Vila.

Police from Santo and Malekula are investigating.

Men on Maewo that took the law into their hands in 2009 by knifing and drowning people accused of performing sorcery are now behind bars.

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