Papua New Guinea
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Wantoat abductees yet to be found

The four girls who were allegedly abducted by what was believed to be a cult group from Wantoat, in Markham district, are yet to be found.

Morobe rural police commander, Superintendent David Warap, said when a Mobile Squad 13 section went to Gumia village to contain the situation, there was no one present as people had fled their homes following the July 12th confrontation between the gang and a resistant group.

During that time, a member of the suspected cult group was beheaded while another man from the resistant group was killed.

“A number of men were rounded up for questioning and perhaps, assist in providing more information on the related incidents, including murder, arson and abduction of the girls,” said Supt Warap.

“What police gathered so far on the gang was, their manpower strength is about 20, made up of physically strong, young and energetic male youths.

“They are armed with homemade guns and bush knives, operating in Wantoat and within villages in Wain-Erap LLG of Nawaeb District.

“They move in numbers to a village and use arms to take valued properties by force, including young women and girls.

“Villagers hit by the gang liken their existence to a cult but this cannot be confirmed.

“Police believe as it is common to all similar gangs, membership tends to be held by strong principles of brotherhood and perhaps, to an extent, devil worship or satanism to draw their strength, protection and guidance.”

(A recent gathering at Gumia village)