- Caritas PNG Advocacy Desk
Alleged SARV Perpetrators surrender Arms and Drugs.
Wabag, Enga Province: A week-long male advocacy awareness on Sorcery Accusation Related Violence was held at the Monokam Outstation in the Kompiam-Ambum District of Enga Province from 10th-14th April 2023.
This follows the torture of nine women in Lakolam village in September 2022 after the untimely death of the owner of Mapai trucking company, late Jacob Luke.
The awareness was initiated by the Monokam community leaders and was facilitated by church leaders from different denominations present in the community, Caritas Office of Wabag and Bishops Arnold Orowae and Justin Ain Soongie of the Catholic Diocese of Wabag.
Over 300 people, including youths, mothers, children, and elders from surrounding communities in the Ambum Valley attended the event.
Apart from sorcery-related issues as the main highlight of the week-long awareness, other social issues tribal fights, alcohol and drug addiction, rape, and stealing, that are affecting the community were also addressed during the awareness.
Concluding the 5-day community awareness was a renunciation program for the men involved in the alleged SARV torture and fights and drugs held on Friday which followed a Mass animated by Bp. Arnold of Wabag Diocese.
The renunciation program saw about 77 marijuana plants uprooted, one homemade gun and crowbar used in SARV torture surrender to Enga Rural Police Commander Senior Inspector Richard Koki before the gathered public.
The community of Monokam invited Representatives from Enga Provincial Government and other NGOs working on SARV program, however, none turned up.
During the renunciation, about 70 young men, from a group known as the “Disciples”, a name given to them by the community, mimicking the 12 disciples but for them, members of the group hail from 12 tribes in the area.
They were the first to renounce their intentions and apologies publicly. This was the group whose story of change had influenced positively on the entire Ambum valley for saying no to violence and converting their energy into supporting their group members in livelihood projects like poultry, roadside market and are on the verge of completing a trade store with initial help from Caritas.
Bishop Justin praised these men for taking the bold step to come forward and encouraged them to continue to keep up the commitment of living a life better than their past. He also commended the village leaders for organizing the program, giving the young men the opportunity to take the first step in changing their lives.
“Change your lives and take care of your people and your community. We will all continue to support you in whatever little way we can and journey with you in your decision,” he said.
Bishop Arnold also stressed how it was never easy to receive phone calls of women being burned and discouraged the practice urging the people to see that every individual was unique and should never endure this sort of pain and suffering and even death at the hands of another human being.
Mr. Koki shared his experience as a law enforcer in the province and said during his time as rural police commander travelling to places within the province to stop tribal fights and other social issues, it has always been young people, especially the men that always come forward to either stop the issue or further instigate it.
“As elders in the community, we are only here to guide you with words. It is up to you the young men and women of the community to make decisions. So, I challenge you young men to make the right choices to help yourself and your families and community.”
Caritas Wabag SARV program lead Dickson Tanda said male SARV advocacy program targeting perpetrators is really driving the message home for youths and men who are now taking lead in advocating against false beliefs and illicit substance abuse within their network of influence.
Caritas WABAG is planning Similar awareness for Kandep after Kopiam-Ambum this month.