Take, eat, this is my flesh, take, drink, this is my blood.
'Black Jesus' cannibal captured
by RICHARD SHEARS - More by this author »
The murderous cannibal calling himself Black Jesus who raped and murdered at least three girls has been captured.
Steven Tari, 35, was caught and beaten by a group of angry villagers who handed him over to police in Papua New Guinea.
Bloodied cannibal Steven Tari after he was beaten by villagers and tied up
Thousands gathered to shout abuse at Tari, a failed Bible student who claims to be the True Christ, when he was brought to the police station in the town of Madang.
Wearing only a loincloth instead of his usual flowing robes, he stood meekly before the crowd.
"It was as if he thought he was being humiliated like Christ before he was crucified," said an onlooker.
Papua New Guinea has the death penalty, by hanging, although no one has been sent to the gallows since the 1950s.
Tari had gathered more than six thousand disciples as he travelled through mountain villages promising followers that they would receive gifts from heaven if they followed him.
But jungle communities were horrified to learn that Tari sacrificed three young women, drinking their blood and eating their flesh, as part of his bizarre ceremonies.
In one case a mother who had fallen under his influence drank her daughter’s blood, according to relatives.
Tari was eventually captured in a small village called Matepi, a seven-hour walk from the nearest road.
A church pastor, Paul Makura, said it had been difficult for the police to catch Tari as he never stayed for long in one place and was always warned when police were in the area.
Mr Makura said: "He came to Matepi village about two weeks ago and the community, alarmed at reports he had killed young women, convinced him to stay on. When he went to a hut to rest, a group of eight villagers, assured he was unarmed, broke in, pounced on him and tied him up."
Messages were passed down through the villages until one man with a mobile phone was able to get a call in to police in Madang.
Heavily-armed officers made their way to Matepi and found Tari tied to a tree.
There was no sign of his bow-and-arrow- carrying bodyguards who, on a previous occasion, had engaged in a fight to the death with police.
Tari was still in possession of what he called his "magic rod", a knife and a tattered Bible, many of whose teachings he had denied in his own sermons.
Last night Madang police commander Anthony Wagambie commended the people of Matepi for their courage.
"Tari has brought a lot of shame to not only the people of Madang but Papua New Guinea as a whole," said the commander.
"We are a Christian country and his deeds have not been reflective of this."