26 Oct 2022

PNG official confirms 30 dead in tribal clash

7:33 pm on 26 October 2022
People at Alotau town street, hills view, Papua New Guinea, 2011.

Alotau Milne Bay Province Photo: Danemo

Warning: This story contains some graphic descriptions

More than 30 people have been confirmed dead by Papua New Guinea government official Nelson Tauyuwada following fighting on Kiriwina Island in the Trobriand archipelago of PNG.

Tauyuwada suspects the number of deaths will probably increase.

Tauyuwada, who is the Kiriwina Island area manager, believes a football game that took place in September sparked the fatal incident that happened on Tuesday October 25.

"There are many layers to the rivalry between the two tribes involved, including political lines," he said.

Kabwaku United Church Committee member David Mudagada said the fighting broke out from general election related issues.

"The fighting broke out from general election related problems. That triggered some other small issues, social issues that's why they started the fight and it's quite a mess right now," Mudagada said.

"What I heard from those people around the scene is that they started fighting from the government station and then they moved the people towards their villages and they were slashing them with knives and then they retaliated," he said.

He said the situation was chaotic.

"The government authorities also at the scene right now they are trying to stabilise the situation ... then get the police from the Alotau, capital of Milne Bay province and then they go to the small island of Trobriand Islands.

"We are not sure when they are going to arrive, there were a couple of police officers there but they were outnumbered," he said.

PNG's constabulary is still trying to get officers to the scene and expect to update the media as more details come to hand.