July 14, 2012
Papua New Guinea charges 29 alleged cannibals
Authorities have arrested 29 people accused of being part of a cannibal cult in Papua New Guinea's jungle interior and charged them with the murders of seven suspected witch doctors, police said on Friday.
Madang Police Commander Anthony Wagambie confirmed a report in The National newspaper that said the cult members allegedly ate their victims' brains raw and made soup from their penises.
"They don't think they've done anything wrong; they admit what they've done openly," Wagambie told The Associated Press by telephone.
He said the killers believed that their victims practised "sanguma," or sorcery, and that they had been extorting money as well as demanding sex from poor villagers for their supernatural services.
By eating witch doctors' organs, the cult members believed they would attain supernatural powers and literally become bullet-proof, he said.
"It's prevalent cult activity," Wagambie said. He said he believes there could be between 700 and 1,000 cult members in several villages in Papua New Guinea's remote northeast interior. All of them might have eaten human flesh, he said.