25 Jul 2003

PNG Police declare 'fighting zone' in Port Moresby settlement

5:15 pm on 25 July 2003

Police in Paua New Guinea have declared the six-mile settlement area in Port Moresby a 'fighting zone' following a killing on Wednesday that provoked violent clashes.

The National reports that the fight erupted after a man from Gumine in Chimbu province fatally shot another Gumine man at point-blank range at the six-mile market.

Central police commander Jeffrey Vaki says that two men were intoxicated and were harrassing people at the market by kicking their produce on sale.

When one of the men was assaulted in subsequent friction, he went home before returning with a home-made gun and shot another man, before fleeing the scene with his friend.

Mr Vaki said the relatives of the deceased then retaliated by pursuing and attacking the gunman with axes and knives.

The gunman is now in critical condition in Port Moresby General Hospital.

Mr Vaki also says clansmen of the deceased are alleged to have burnt down several houses belonging to the gunman's people and this resulted in a full-scale tribal clash.

The clash continued until yesterday when police rounded up the warring clansmen and directed them to surrender all arms.