CANBERRA, Australia — On a tropical island in Papua New Guinea where most people live in huts, a mob armed with guns, machetes and axes stormed a wooden house by night. They seized Helen Rumbali and three female relatives, set the building on fire and took the women away to be tortured. Their alleged crime: Witchcraft.
After being repeatedly slashed with knives, Rumbali's older sister and two teenage nieces were released following negotiations with police. Rumbali, a 40-something former schoolteacher, was beheaded.