Authorities in Papua New Guinea have arrested 29 members of a ‘cannibal cult,’ who’ve been accused of murdering seven witch doctors in the country’s jungle interior. The cult members reportedly ate their victims brains raw and concocted soup from their penises, the Associated Press reports.
Despite the criminal charges they face, “they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong; they admit what they’ve done openly,” Police Commander Anthony Wagambie, of the Madang province, told the Associated Press. The killers said they were seeking revenge against the witch doctors, whom they claim were evil sorcerers who extorted money and demanded sex from poor villagers in exchange for their services.
By eating their organs, the cult members believed they would personally benefit by absorbing their supernatural powers and becoming bullet-proof, Wagambie said. These types of beliefs are common, he said, estimating that between 700 and 1,000 cult members live scattered throughout Papua New Guinea’s northeast interior. The majority have likely consumed human flesh.
One local expert, however, said this recent bout of cannibalism “goes beyond the local culture.” He told the National newspaper, published in Papua New Guinea, that specific people are trained to hunt sorcerers — people who would never kill in broad daylight, mutilate and eat flesh and organs, or prepare soup from the victims’ penises.
All but one (whose whereabouts remain unclear) of the 29 suspects appeared in a Madang court Tuesday, where they were charged with willful murder. The outcome of the trial has yet to be determined, with the suspects currently held in custody. Wagambie said he expected police to make around 100 more arrests for cult-related crimes over the weekend.