4 Oct 2011

Tension in PNG's Eastern Highlands after tribal clash claims 15 lives

11:50 am on 4 October 2011

Papua New Guinea police says it's tense but peaceful in Kainantu in Eastern Highlands Province following inter tribal fighting last Friday which resulted in 15 deaths.

The assistant commissioner in charge of the Highlands region, Simon Kauba, says the deadly clash occurred because the Agarabi tribe was responding to what it perceived to be the lawlessness displayed by the Kamano tribe.

High powered firearms were used in the fighting.

Fourteen of the 15 deaths were suffered by the Kamano clan and Mr Kauba says another clash may be possible if a heavy police presence isn't maintained

He says peace initiatives, involving the local community, have been initiated by police.

"And then go about conducting search with a view to recovering some of those high powered firearms which were used.We think we might be able to recover some of those but the firearms may be taken miles away to be hidden."

Simon Kauba says reinforcements sent into the area may have to remain for up to three months to offset any further fighting.