A young Papua New Guinea woman was burned to death in what authorities fear is the latest witchcraft killing in the remote and lawless interior of the country.
The woman, believed to be between 16 and 20 years old, was stripped naked, gagged and tied to a truck loaded with firewood — which was driven to a town dump and doused with gasoline — before being set aflame, according to witnesses who saw the act near Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands.
"The girl was stripped naked and could not shout for assistance or resist as she was tightly strapped and her mouth gagged," Jessie James, a man who saw the girl's death, told the local Post Courier Mail.
"I don't know the right words to describe it but it's barbaric. Can you find the best words to describe such acts that are rampant here?" said Highlands police chief Simon Kauba.
PNG police believe the girl was either accused of being a witch or that she had been blamed for infecting one of her killers with HIV/Aids, both of which are punished by the death penalty by the jungle justice practiced by the indigenous communities of the Highlands.