Oddly Enough

Pregnant woman hanged for sorcery and gives birth

PORT MORESBY (Reuters) - A Papua New Guinea woman gave birth prematurely as she struggled to free herself from a hangman’s noose after villagers lynched her and her husband believing they were involved in sorcery, local media reported.

Nolan Yekum and her husband Paul were lynched in Kilip village in the jungle-clad western highlands two weeks ago after villagers believed they used black magic to kill a neighbour.

The villagers dragged the couple from their home and hung them from a tree and left them to die, Paul Yekum told The National newspaper on Wednesday.

“We managed to loosen the noose to get our feet on the ground ... we were able to free ourselves,” he said. “My wife, who was about seven months pregnant, delivered the baby while struggling to free herself. It was a painful experience for me and her.”

For the next two weeks the couple hid with friends in other villages, but eventually decided to seek medical help at the Mount Hagen Hospital.

The couple, speaking from the hospital, said they did not practice sorcery and did not know why their neighbour died.

Hospital staff said the couple’s baby girl and her mother were doing fine after they were admitted last Saturday.

Black magic is widespread in the South Pacific nation where most of the 5.1 million population live subsistence lives. Women suspected of being witches are often hanged or burnt to death.