06 August 2006

Campion and King in New Guinea

The Papuans do not as a rule torture their prisoners for the mere idea of torture, though they have often been known to roast a man alive – for the reason that his meat is supposed to taste better thus. I have heard of cases of white men having been roasted alive, one case being that of two miners, Campion and King. But we had learned that this Dobodura tribe had a system of torture that was brutal beyond words.

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Only a short time ago the two miners, Campion and King (whom I have elsewhere mentioned), while working in the bed of a creek, had just traded with some apparently friendly natives for a pig and some yams, and sat down for a smoke and a rest, thinking that the natives had left, but these cunning cannibals were awaiting just such an opportunity, and were lying hid amidst the thick foliage clothing the steep banks of the creek. Suddenly, making a rush, they got between the miners and their rifles, and speared both in the legs, taking care not to kill them, as the cannibals in this part of New Guinea consider that meat tastes better, be it pig or man, when cooked alive. They then tied them with ropes of rattan to long poles and carried them off to their village, where they were both roasted alive over a slow fire. These facts were gathered from some prisoners afterwards captured by a government force. A strong band of miners also attacked their villages, and gave no quarter

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