23 Jun 2018

PNG's Tari calm for now

10:30 am on 23 June 2018

Tribal hostilities in the capital of Papua New Guinea's Hela province have quietened down in the past week or two, police say.

Young men brandishing bushknives are a common sight in Tari.

Young men brandishing bushknives are a common sight in Tari. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Tari has been the focal point for deadly tribal fighting with about 20 people reported killed since March, in and around the town.

Last month, Hela police organised peace talks between tribes involved in fighting, commencing an ongoing mediation process which has largely quelled violence between the groups.

But the station commander in Tari, Thomas Levongo, said there was no guarantee fighting would not break out again.

"Now at this time, the four corners of Tari have quietened down," Mr Levongo said.

"But you know Tari, expect the unexpected. So now at the moment it's quiet, but I don't know, anything could happen any time."

Meanwhile, tensions have risen around LNG gas project operations in Hela this week after vandalism of project equipment in Angore.

This was carried out by landowners who are frustrated about non-payment of promised project royalties.

They also blockaded a main access road and airstrip.

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