“LET’S be clear, sanguma beliefs are absolute rubbish,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said.
Mr O’Neill was expressing his outrage after the serious abuse of a six-year-old girl in Enga Province by adult males claiming sanguma as their excuse.
He said police had been dispatched to investigate the abuse, and any individual who tries to impede the lawful investigation will be arrested.
He said the attacks cannot be tolerated and the abusers must be exposed, and this requires leadership from community elders.
“In the modern day sanguma is not a real cultural practice, it is false belief and involves the violent abuse and torture of women and girls by pathetic and perverted individuals,” he said.
“The men behind these murders are cowards who are looking for someone to blame because of their own failure in life.
“These violent acts are against our values as a nation and are completely unacceptable.”
Mr O’Neill said local communities hold the key to ending sanguma activities, but leaders must step up and be strong.
“In the case of the young girl who was recently attacked in Enga, we are grateful for the brave people who gave her first aid and took her to a safe location.
“The nation needs more of these unsung heroes who do the right thing, even when it means standing up against people in their own communities.
“At the same time, any community leaders who allow this abuse to continue are just as bad as the men who carry out the crimes.
“As a Christian nation these abuses are also an attack on our religion that goes against all the teachings of the church.
“The Christian faith that we share teaches us to love one another and uphold the rights of the young and the weak.
“In churches around our country, I call on leaders to discuss this issued and how you would deal with this violence if it was tried in your communities.
“Our government will keep working with churches and communities, as well as the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, to end these false beliefs and to protect the lives of all Papua New Guineans.”