Accused witch hanged from tree gives birth

A pregnant mother who was hanged to die alongside her husband after being blamed for sorcery delivered her baby prematurely while struggling to free herself.

This inhuman experience was reported two weeks ago at Kilip village near Banz in Western Highlands province.

The woman and her husband related the experience to The National yesterday at the Mt Hagen General Hospital where mother and baby were keeping fine.

Husband Paul Yekum said he and his wife Nolan were accused by his tribesmen over the death of his neighbour.


Witchcraft, or Wicca, is a form of neo-Paganism. It is officially recognized as a religion by the U.S. government.

This is a diverse movement that knows no central authority. Practitioners do not all have the same views, beliefs and practices.

While all witches are pagans, not all pagans are witches. Likewise, while all Wiccans are witches, not all witches are Wiccans.

Note: The Witchcraft news tracker includes news items about a wide variety of diverse movements reported in the media as ‘witchcraft.’ It also includes news articles on the plight of alleged witches.

Speaking in pidgin, Yekum said after a man known as Peter Buno died, villagers came to his house in the night with a strong rope and tied it around their necks.

They dragged them outside and hanged them from the branch of a tree with their feet barely touching the ground.

He said the villagers wanted them to die slowly under the cover of darkness.

Yekum said when the men escaped into the darkness, they struggled to free themselves. “We managed to loosen the noose to get our feet on the ground … we were able to free ourselves,” he said.

“My wife, who was about seven months pregnant, delivered the baby while struggling to free herself. It was a painful experience for me and her,” he said.

They had to take the baby and flee the area for fear of being attacked, he said.

“For two weeks, we sought refuge with friends, but had to come to the hospital for the sake of the baby,” Yekum said.

Both showed evidence of bruises on the body.

He said that during the birth, his wife sustained some injuries to her body and was admitted to Mt Hagen General Hospital together with their daughter.

Yekum said he did not practice sorcery and did not know the cause of Buno’s death.

He said he told the villagers to wait for the hospital’s postmortem report to know the exact cause of the death.

He said he could not understand why they wanted to kill him and his wife over the death of an elderly man.

Yekum said Banz police had been informed of the matter but were not doing anything about the complaint.

He said they could not continue to live outside and they still had to go back to their home village, but now their safety is not guranteed.

Mt Hagen hospital staff said the baby girl and her mother were doing fine after they were admitted last Saturday.

Provincial police commander Kaiglo Ambane said Banz police had not reported this incident to him in their daily report, and he would investigate it.

The baby is the third girl for the couple, whose elder daughters are about four and two years old.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Sent Timbi, The National, Feb. 25, 2008,

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday February 28, 2008.
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