Papua New Guinea cult leader 'Black Jesus' killed

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A notorious cult leader known as "Black Jesus" has been killed by villagers in Papua New Guinea, police say.

Steven Tari had been on the run since escaping from prison in the northern town of Madang earlier this year.

He was killed at a remote village outside the town on Thursday, a senior police official told local media.

Tari had been serving a lengthy prison term after being convicted in 2010 of raping girls and young women who belonged to his Christian-based sect.

A former bible student, he was also accused of cannibalism although he was only tried for rape, AFP news agency reports.

Provincial police chief Sylvester Kalaut said Tari and one of his followers were attacking a woman, tricked into joining the cult, when villagers from Gal surrounded and killed them.

The National newspaper says he was "chopped to death".

The cult leader is also suspected of killing a schoolgirl earlier this month.

Initial reports showed that Tari "was attacked and killed by locals" after he killed one woman and tried to kill another, the Post-Courier newspaper reports.

Tari was one of 48 people who managed to break out of Madang jail in March.

He had studied to become a Lutheran pastor but disappeared from his theological college after disputing the Bible's teachings.

He previously said he was the "true Christ" and promised his followers great wealth and redemption. Among his disciples were allegedly dozens of sex slaves he called his "flower girls". Before his arrest his sect had thousands of followers in the villages.

In 2007 he was captured by villagers who beat him before handing over to the police.

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