'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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent