As many as 100 people have been arrested in connection with
the horrific burning murder of a young mother in Papua New
Police in the Western Highlands city of Mt Hagen made the
arrests following an early morning raid on Thursday.
Kepari Leneiata, 20, who was also known as Angelin, was last
week stripped, tortured with a hot iron poker and burned
alive before a crowd of onlookers after she was accused of
using sorcery to kill a 6-year-old boy.
"Police are now in the process of interviewing them. We will
know by today or during the weekend how many are formally
charged with murder and how many are released," provincial
police commander Martin Lakari told the National newspaper.
The murder triggered international outrage, with PNG Prime
Minister Peter O'Neill joining the United Nations, the US and
Australia in describing the crime as barbaric.
Police have been under pressure to make arrests after photos
in both of PNG's daily national newspapers appeared to show
hundreds of witnesses watching Ms Leneiata burn.
Some of those photographed were taking pictures on their
Police in Mt Hagen also say they have also saved two elderly
women from being tortured after they were accused of using
sorcery to kill an eight year-old girl.
A post-mortem later revealed the girl had been raped and
Police say the suspects are still at large.
Chairman of PNG's constitutional law reform commission
(CLRC), Benjamin Poponawa, said a paper had been prepared for
tabling in parliament to repeal PNG's colonial era sorcery
"To remove the mentality of sorcery, the CLRC is proposing to
have the act repealed in its entirety so that such cases of
murder can only be dealt with under the criminal justice
system," Mr Poponawa said.
"This will classify anyone who kills another person in
retaliation for sorcery-related deaths as a murder suspect."