National Geographic : 1972 Mar
answered tersely. "I'll explain why later." We shoved off into the shallow, swift Undir River. I started the outboard motor. Quickly it pushed us around a bend and out of sight of the village. "It sounds unbelievable," said Bert, "but Andreas and Ndep here"-he indicated our nervous guides-"say we walked right into a headhunting raid. "Everyone we saw was from another vil lage, not Sagopo. The Sagopo people heard THE A8MAT OF NEW GUINEA Head hunters inToday's World ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY MALCOLM S. KIRK Uneasy stares greet the author at Sagopo. Headhunters! Only after he left the village did Mr. Kirk learn that Sagopo's people had fled into the forest. These grim, heavily armed warriors are members of a raiding party intent on taking heads. Two wear wrist guards of cane to temper their bowstrings' lash. Government edict has long outlawed headhunting in New Guinea's West Irian administered by Indonesia since 1963-but the bloody ritual survives in the Asmat's remotest reaches, still one of earth's least-known regions.