Papua New Guinea, tribal violence explodes: 24 dead, including pregnant women

The causes of recent violence is unknown.  The premier says that those responsible for the killings are men from the Hagui, Okiru and Liwi tribes.  Local media report at least two incidents in small villages in the Tari-Pori district.  The provincial administrator of Hala calls for reinforcements.

 


Port Moresby (AsiaNews / Agencies) - There are also children and pregnant women among at least 24 people who lost their lives in violent tribal clashes on the highlands of Papua New Guinea.  James Marape, who took office as prime minister last May 30, promises to avenge the deaths and warns the authors of the massacre that "their time is up."

The massacre took place in the province of Hela, a wild region in the west of the country, in a spasm of violence between rival tribes that lasted three days.  The causes of the disorders are not yet known.  However, clashes involving different clans have been going on in the region for over 20 years.

Local media report at least two incidents in small villages in the Tari-Pori district.  Three days ago, seven people - four men and three women - were killed in the village of Munima.  The following day, women and children were shot dead in the village of Karida.  Two women were pregnant.

 Prime Minister Marape, a native of the region, says the perpetrators of the killings are armed men from the Hagui, Okiru and Liwi tribes.  ""How can a province of 400,000 people function with policing law and order with under 60 policemen, and occasional operational military and police that does no more than band aid maintenance," he added.  William Bando, provincial administrator, requires at least another 100 members of the security forces in support of the current 40 officers.

The provinces of the highlands of Papua New Guinea are very remote.  Communities are still based on tribal traditions and most small villages have no road connections.  Tribal clashes are not unusual: rivalries are often caused by rape, theft or clan boundary disputes.  Independent state since 1975, Papua New Guinea is among the poorest countries in the world.  According to the United Nations (UN), around 40% of the population lives on less than $ 1 a day.

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