A 6-year-old girl narrowly escaped death after being rescued from an angry mob in Papua New Guinea. The group had been torturing the small child for five days on accusations of witchcraft. The girl, who remains anonymous for her own protection, was rescued by members of a Chilean missionary and local residents. She sustained first-degree burns all over her body and is in recovery. The group used heated machetes to burn and peel away her skin.

The daughter of a witch

This is not the first time this girl's family has come under attack from local witch hunters. In 2014, the girl's mother was tortured and murdered by the same group of people in Enga Province.

Leniata Kepari was only 20 years old when she was attacked. The sadistic mob stripped her naked, cut, and sexually penetrated her with machetes. When they were finished maiming her, they threw her onto a pile of tires and set her on fire.

Kepari was accused of witchcraft after a neighbor's child unexpectedly passed away. Being the daughter of a so-called witch, this small girl was believed to have been possessed by the sanguma spirit. The group targeted and kidnapped her from her father to be tortured and killed.

An epidemic of killings

In the last two months, six women have been murdered on accusations of witchcraft in Enga Province in Papua New Guinea. The victims have been stoned to death, pushed off of cliffs, burnt alive, shot, or beheaded. According to Australian anthropologist Richard Eves, Papua New Guinea is home to over 800 different cultures -- many of which believe in sorcery.

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After Kepari's heinous murder in 2013, Parliament repealed the 1971 Sorcery Act. This law made witchcraft illegal and gave lenient sentences to murderers who claimed that their victims were witches.

In 2014, a witch hunting mob raided a local village and burned down several houses, resulting in the deaths of seven people. Two of the victims were infant girls who had been ripped from their mothers' arms and hacked to death with machetes. Earlier this year, 122 males were prosecuted by the Madang National Court for this heinous act. Some of the murderers were as young as 10 years old.

Breaking the cycle

When a witch hunt is incited, it is difficult to stop it. However, police and missionaries are hopeful that proper education can help prevent future murders. Volunteers are attempting to teach local residents about basic medical issues, which are commonly the cause of these unexplained deaths the locals have labeled as witchcraft. Steep financial penalties are also being put into place to discourage people from acting out regarding witchcraft accusations.