6 Dec 2006

PNG send more police to try and end a tribal war which has claimed dozens of lives

2:23 pm on 6 December 2006

Papua New Guinea's Acting Chief of Police Operations, Tony Wagambie, has ordered extra police to be sent for three months to an area of Western Highlands Province embroiled in tribal fighting.

Fierce fighting between the Ulga and Kulga tribes in the Nebilyer district has seen the destruction of houses and crops amid a cycle of retaliatory killings in an escalation of a decades-long feud.

Mr Wagambie says an estimated 30,000 people are now engaged in the Nebilyer fight which has claimed around 70 lives within the last 12 months alone.

He has warned the warring tribesmen more police or Defence Force soldiers could be sent if they continue blocking the highlands highway into Southern Highlands and Enga provinces.

Mr Wagambie says as a way to protect the travelling public and initiate peace talks police are to be permanently stationed in two key locations of the fighting zone for a three-month period.

Their role will be to patrol the highway on a regular basis, conduct awareness exercises and initiate peace talks with the warring parties.