Tribal fighting leaves 14 dead in PNG's Western Highlands

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-11 14:37:55|Editor: Li Xia
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SYDNEY, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Guerrilla tribal fighting has left 14 people dead in the Mul-Baiyer district of Papua New Guinea's Western Highlands Province, local Post Courier reported on Thursday.

The clash was reportedly between two groups of Kewuti tribesmen, one of which ambushed the other, in relation to an ongoing dispute which has carried on for over a month.

Western Highlands police commander, senior inspector Jacob Kamiak, told the Post Courier that the ambush is not related to violent incidents in the Hela Province earlier this week which reportedly left 23 people dead, including women and children.

"It is a guerilla-type tribal fight," Kamiak said. "The Kewuti men are fighting inside the bush and not out at open places, and it is difficult for police to intervene."

As tensions between the groups persist, schools and government services and projects in the area have been halted.

According to the district's police commander Sergeant Punta Las, an attempted peace discussion between the two sides in June was unsuccessful and violence erupted again.

"I am calling on the people of Kewuti to stop this fighting because lives are at stake, children are not going to school and tangible government services and projects have been put on hold," Las said.