14 Oct 2008

PNG police intervene in mass brawl at market

5:16 pm on 14 October 2008

Police in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, have used tear gas to break up pitched battles between rival tribesman sparked by a stolen cigarette.

About 200 Goilala tribesmen stormed the city's Koki Market on Monday after Tari tribesmen retaliated to an early morning confrontation with two Goilalas.

The Post Courier newspaper reports police as saying a Goilala had stolen a cigarette from a Tari cigarette seller who was attacked with a bottle when he protested and demanded payment.

Police says the fighting, which lasted all day Monday, was the result of an accumulation of incidents in recent days, including the Taris trying to stop Goilalas selling at Koki market.

Police closed several roads around the market and dispersed the crowds with tear gas.