Four people were put through a public session of beatings and torture as they were alleged to have caused the deaths of other people through sorcery.
The US Embassy in Port Moresby last night issued a denunciation of the event.
The statement “deplores the brutal violence inflicted on three women and one man over the last week in Mendi. The public humiliation, beating, and burning of these individuals with hot rods following accusations of sorcery in the villages of Kave and Kumin in the Southern Highlands Province is reprehensible’’.
The statement issued by the embassy said: “We call on the provincial police authorities to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these senseless acts and for the appropriate resources and attention to be dedicated to addressing these crimes.
“Too often this sort of violence goes unreported and occurs without the perpetrators being held accountable. Adequate and timely response by the police and judicial system is needed to deter future crimes and hold perpetrators responsible for their actions.
“The United States calls for the strengthening of Papua New Guinea’s criminal justice system to allow for enhanced prevention and response efforts and proper enforcement of existing criminal laws. Furthermore, we ask the Papua New Guinean government, public, and civil society to say no to violence in their communities and put an end to the stigmas that lead to it.
“Our thoughts are with the victims’ families and children during this difficult time.’’