17 Aug 2005

Police in PNG's East Sepik blame liquor trade for deadly unrest

1:17 pm on 17 August 2005

Police in East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea are blaming the illegal liquor trade for recent deadly unrest.

The National newspaper reports that youths stoned a 30-year-old man to death in a drunken brawl in the town of Maprik on Friday.

The fight is said to have involved two groups of rival villagers.

Attackers then went to the village of Bainik, burnt down 15 houses and damaged a telecommunications tower.

Police have since detained 14 people and recovered a homemade pistol and rifle.

The police commander for the province of East Sepik, Leo Kabilo, blames the incident on the illegal sale of alcohol.

He has given a list of names to the provincial liquor licensing board for action.

But Mr Kabilo says the board itself doesn't monitor illegal activity, it hasn't met for three years and public servants are selling alcohol to the public.