Deadly Tribal Clashes in Papua New Guinea Leave Dozens Killed

Tribal Violence in Papua New Guinea

Police have retrieved 64 bodies after fighting broke out between rival tribes in Papua New Guinea’s northern highlands. Media reports indicate that at least 64 people have been killed in tribal violence in the northern highlands of Papua New Guinea, with one police officer describing the killings as the “largest” in the Pacific nation’s recent history.

The Post-Courier newspaper, citing local police, said the killings began at dawn on Sunday in the Wapenamanda District of the Enga Province. The violence involved the Ambulin and Sikin tribes as well as their allies, with police retrieving some 64 bodies from the roadside, grasslands, and hills of Wapenamanda by Monday morning.

Rival factions used “high-powered guns”, such as AK47 and M4 rifles in the battles, with the death toll expected to rise. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that the violence involved the same tribes responsible for clashes that killed 60 in Enga Province last year.

George Kakas, a senior officer in the country’s police force, described the violence as the largest he has seen in Enga and possibly all of Highlands as well, in Papua New Guinea. The AFP news agency reported that police received graphic videos and photos from the scene, showing stripped and bloodied bodies lying by the side of the road and piled up on the back of a flatbed truck.

The military has deployed about 100 troops to the area, but their impact has been limited, with the security services remaining outnumbered and outgunned. In the capital Port Moresby, opponents of Prime Minister James Mara’s government called for quick action, including the deployment of additional troops to the area. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also expressed concern, stating that they are providing considerable support for training police officers and for security in Papua New Guinea.

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