This article originally appeared on Gawker.
by Neetzan Zimmerman – 29 members of a militant group seeking revenge against rogue witch doctors were arrested by police in Papua New Guinea and charged with killing at least seven people.
In addition to murdering the “evil sorcerers,” it is believed the cannibal cult also consumed portions of their victims’ brains and other organs, and prepared soup from their penises in an effort to become bulletproof.
The anti-sorcerer group, which is believed to have as many as 1,000 active participants, was organized after witch doctors, who traditionally charge 1000 kina ($472), a pig, and a bag of rice to determine a cause of death or ward off evil spirits, began demanding sex as well.
Many residents of Papua New Guinea believe natural causes are not sufficient to explain misfortune, illness, accidents, or death, but it conflicts with traditional ethics “for a sorcerer to have intercourse with a man’s wife or teenage daughter,” a local cult leader is quoted as saying.
In response to the extortion, villagers turned to their chiefs for “supernatural training,” and subsequently went after the sorcerers to seek recompense.
But the 29 people from Biamb village accused of slaying alleged witch doctors and mutilating their bodies went too far, according to one local expert.
“[T]hese people never kill sorcerers in broad daylight, mutilate and eat sorcerers’ flesh, livers, and hearts or make soup from the penis of sorcerers,” he told The National newspaper. “This is insane and the cannibalism [of this group] goes beyond the local culture.”
Madang Police Commander Anthony Wagambie said he expected dozens more will be arrested over the weekend for similar crimes.
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