PNG to boost se­cu­rity amid tribal war

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Au­thor­i­ties in Pa­pua New Guinea have boosted se­cu­rity to pre­vent a fur­ther es­ca­la­tion of tribal vi­o­lence, of­fi­cials said Mon­day, af­ter at least 24 peo­ple were killed in a trou­bled up­land re­gion ear­lier this month.

The coun­try’s high­land clans have fought each other for cen­turies, but last week’s dis­cov­ery of bod­ies, mostly be­long­ing to women and chil­dren, marked a deadly de­par­ture from a cy­cle of killing in which the vul­ner­a­ble are usu­ally off lim­its.

PNG’S new po­lice min­is­ter Bryan Kramer said im­me­di­ate in­ter­ven­tion was needed in Hela prov­ince – a rugged re­gion in the west of the coun­try – to pre­vent the lat­est bout of vi­o­lence be­com­ing the new norm.

“Last week’s mer­ci­less killings has changed ev­ery­thing,” Kram­mer said in a Face­book post on his re­turn from the af­fected re­gion.

Kramer said the decades-old con­flict be­tween two tribes had spi­ralled fol­low­ing the mur­der of a tribesman in June, and lead to the mas­sacre of women and chil­dren which he de­scribed as “the worst pay back killing in our coun­try’s his­tory.”

A de­fence force pla­toon and a mo­bile po­lice squad had been sta­tioned at a lo­cal pri­mary school “to pro­vide around the clock se­cu­rity, to pre­vent any fur­ther es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence,” he added.

Au­thor­i­ties would en­gage “drone tech­nol­ogy and satel­lite sur­veil­lance” to track down per­pe­tra­tors who are be­lieved to have fled the area, Kramer said.

The in­ci­dent has shocked both the na­tion and the re­cently ap­pointed Prime Min­is­ter, James Marape, whose con­stituency in­cludes the district where the killings oc­curred.

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