'Cannibal cult members' arrested for murder, eating raw brains and making penis soup

The cult members believed that by eating alleged witch doctors' body parts they would attain their spiritual powers, and become bullet-proof

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have arrested 29 members of a suspected cannibal cult accused of killing seven people before eating their brains and making soup from their penises.

The accused are alleged to have been part of a 1000-strong group which was formed to take on suspected witch doctors.

They believed their victims had all been involved in 'sanguma', or sorcery, and that they had been demanding sex and money from villagers in return for exercising their spiritual powers.

A Madang Police Commander, Anthony Wagambie, confirmed reports that the cult members had eaten the victims' brains raw and had made soup from their penises.

“They don't think they've done anything wrong; they admit what they've done openly,” Wagambie said.

The group claimed witch doctors had begun charging large fees of 1,000 kina or $475 for casting out evil spirits and providing other services.

The accused also claimed the alleged witch doctors had begun demanding sex as payment.

The cult members believed that by eating the witch doctors' body parts they would attain their spiritual powers, and become bullet-proof.

Reports claim that there could be between 700 and 1000 cult members in several remote PNG villages in the northeast interior.

The killings prompted police raids in the village of Biamb last week resulting in the 29 arrests.

The case has now been adjourned until the 17th of August so that the authorities can gather further evidence.

Whilst under the colonial rule of Australia the traditional culture of PNG retained isolated pockets of cannibalism into the latter part of the 20th century - human flesh was known as "long pig".

In recent years there have been a number of cases of alleged witchcraft and cannibalism.

Last year a man was reportedly found eating his newborn son during a sorcery initiation ceremony.

In 2009 reports claim a woman was burnt alive at the stake in the Highlands town of Mount Hagen - the crime was also thought to be related to sorcery.

According to reports in The National newspaper 28 women and men appeared in court on Tuesday charged with murder - it was not clear what had happened to the 29th cult member.

Police have said they are gathering more evidence regarding the cannibalism before any charges are made relating to those crimes.

Murder is punishable by death penalty in Papua New Guinea.

Police Commander Anthony Wagambie said there could potentially be more arrests this weekend, maybe of another 100 people.

He also said that four of the victims had been murdered very recently, possibly even last week.

He added that none of the victims' remains had been found,

“They're probably all eaten up,” he said.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?