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PNG: Plea to MPs to help end killings in Highlands tribal feud


Tribal warriors with an array of automatic weapons including M16s, AK-47s in a separate Highlands fight. Image: Demotix file photo

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Item: 9356

PORT MORESBY (The National/ Radio New Zealand International/ Pacific Media Watch): Eleven people have been killed and many others, including a teenage girl, suffered serious injuries during a fight between tribes living on the border of Enga and the Western Highlands in Papua New Guinea, according to media reports.

Western Highlands provincial police commander chief superintendent Martin Lakari said police were unable to stop the fighting because high-powered guns were being used.


The old rivalry between the Kukutin tribe of Kombiam in Enga and the Yapetalin tribe of Baiyer district in Western Highlands resurfaced last month at the remote villages of Kokowa and Sepemanda on the border.

The Kukutin tribe reportedly retaliated after five of their members were killed. They killed six from the Yapetalin tribe.

Lakari said the 14-year-old Yapetalin girl was shot in the abdomen and was admitted at the Mt Hagen Hospital.
 


Calling for help
Radio New Zealand reported the police
had called for government help, saying the deaths were a result of tribal clashes which had been going on for 30 years.

Lakari urged Kombiam-Ambum MP John Pundari and Mul-Baiyer MP Koi Trappe plus leaders from the two provinces to stop the fight.

The villages are in a remote area only accessible by helicopter.
 


Lakari said police could not afford to hire a helicopter to travel to the villages.
 


“Some weeks ago, I wrote to Baiyer District Administration seeking financial and logistic support to send policemen into the area but received no response,” he said.
 


Lakari added the longer they waited, the more people were likely to be killed.
 

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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