The girl, thought to be six years old, had accompanied her father to Tukusanda village when rumours of sanguma started going around. And because her mother was the late Leniata Kepari, who was burnt alive in 2013 in Mt Hagen due to sorcery accusations, all eyes fell on the little girl.
“When the villagers learnt that she was Leniata’s daughter, they presumed that she may have possessed the sanguma spirit,” Enga’s acting provincial police commander, Epenes Nili, tells Loop PNG.
“They believed she would kill many of them in the village so they thought it would be proper to terminate her life.”
Nili says the girl was then taken captive sometime between Sunday and Monday, and slowly tortured.
When queried on her father’s whereabouts, Loop PNG was told the perpetrators made sure he was unable to seek help.
“They made sure he had no mobile phone; made sure he could not walk out. They were guarding him as well.”
Thankfully, some locals saw what was going on and alerted authorities.
The child was finally rescued on Thursday in a joint operation carried out by the Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation and Lutheran missionary Anton Lutz.
She suffered burns and wounds all over her body from bush knives that were heated by fire.
She is now receiving treatment in a hospital.