Over the last few years murder of accused witches has increased in Papua New Guinea and the reports of brutal murders and torcher continue to come in on an almost daily basis. From here in the United States it is hard for many to comprehend that this is still happening around the world and yet another brutal killing was reported only a few hours ago. Today, Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Philly The Inquirer reported that a woman in Papua New Guinea was axed to death after being accused of practicing witchcraft. According to The Telegraph the murder was committed by a group of 10 men who entered the small village in search of their victim. The authorities in the remote jungle highland state that they are searching for those responsible for the murder and are trying to ease the tensions of the villagers.
In all, there were four people who had been accused of using witchcraft to infect 13 of their family members with measles last fall. Since that time there has been tension in the village of Fiyawena and now that Mifila has been murdered, the tension has risen even higher. According to the Lutheran missionaries in the area, the villagers are terrified that the 10 men who axed Mifila to death will return to the village. The jungle in the area of the village is dense and, just like with other similar instances, it is not likely that the men will be caught.
Deep in the jungle areas of small countries like New Guinea there is much confusion among the people who live there when it comes to witchcraft. This has been an ongoing issue since missions and Abrahamic missionaries began entering the area. Prior to their arrival the native people of these areas had their own religions and understanding of death, illness and other such workings of the world around them. Once the missionaries began trying to teach or force the Abrahamic religions on these people it caused issues like Mifila’s death to occur.
It has been a common practice over many centuries for missionaries to enter a country or area and press their religion into the area, making their current gods out to be evil in one way or another. Slowly, destroying the old ways and beliefs of the region and leaving the people without an understanding of the world. Unfortunately Mifila is a prime example of this. She was accused of witchcraft because the villagers no long had the understanding of illness that they once had and due to their new, Abrahamic religion they believe that any misfortune is the work of the Devil and there for witchcraft.
The destruction of the old ways and the knowledge of the old gods of any people only leads to death and destruction. What we see happening in places like New Guinea and India has happened before, all over the world and continues to happen today. It is only with proper education that we can stop this from happening and that starts with educating those who follow the Abrahamic religions about what they are actually doing to the people they intend to help.