Dozens of members of a remote tribe of New Guinea have been infected by the coronavirus after they presumably killed, butchered and ate a Chinese mining prospector infected with the disease.
A total of 14 members of the Korowai tribe have died and 87 others have tested positive to the Covid-19 virus over the last two weeks, over a population of 118.
After several days of thorough investigation, the governmental authorities believe they may finally have found the reason for the mysterious contamination of this extremely isolated tribe.
Several members of the tribe said they became sick after eating the “yellow evil spirit”.
According to Lt. James Manning of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, the country’s national police, this could explain the disappearance of 57-year old Chinese engineer Wu Jing in the region at the end of February.
“Several tribesmen related encountering, hunting and eating a yellow devil a few weeks ago. This corresponds with the time Mr. Wu was reported missing.”
The prospector for the Zijin Mining Group was reported missing on February 28, only four days after arriving from China.
“It seems the tribal elders feared he would bring harm to them and declared him to be a demon. They ordered him killed and eaten by the entire tribe, contaminating all of them.”
Only the children under age twelve were spared as they were not allowed by tradition to participate in cannibalistic rituals.
The Korowai tribe is one of the last known tribes in the world to still practice cannibalism.
They believe it is necessary to kill and eat a person whom they believe has been taken over by a khakua, a kind of evil spirit or demon.
This violent and gruesome custom may have caused their loss in the end, as the tribe’s witch doctor was powerless against the coronavirus and was one of the first victims to succumb to the disease.
Several members of the tribe are severely ill, but their isolation makes it impossible for them to be transported to the hospital,
The Papuan government has promised to send doctors and pharmaceuticals to help them cope with the pandemic but fears the Korowai could be totally wiped out by the disease.