All-out tribal war over high lights

National, Normal


A CONFLICT over the beaming of vehicle high lights between two drivers has resulted in the burning down of about 25 houses at Nipa district in Southern Highlands province over the weekend.
However, quick intervention by 22 Nipa-Kutubu district peace mediation officers brought the warring Hulol and Tegibo clans of Upper Nipa together and stopped  fighting and signed a peace agreement.
Nipa-Kutubu district administrator Robin Pip told The National yesterday from Nipa that the incident happened last Friday when the two drivers argued over high lights and got into a fist fight.
The next morning the incident flared up into a fiery tribal war when the two tribes got involved.
Mr Pip upon receiving reports of the fight, led a team of 22 peace mediators to the battle field the same afternoon to stop the fight.
He said the Hutol clan lost 21 houses while the Tegibos had four homes burnt down.
He said 13 men from Tegibo clan received spear wounds while it was not clear if any men from the Hulol clan were hurt during the clash.
Mr Pip said, currently, the 22 peace mediators were risking their lives camping at the battlefield while negotiations were continuing for peace, reconciliation and compensation.
He said he could not comprehend how an argument over the beaming of high lights had turned into a full-scale tribal warfare in which houses were devastated, properties destroyed and people injured.
Meanwhile, also in Nipa, a drinking binge turned sour on the weekend when a vehicle went off the road and injured four men.
The four critically injured men are fighting for their lives at the Mendi General Hospital.
Mr Pip, in confirming the incident yesterday, said that among the injured was an expatriate manager of Nationwide PNG Constructions Ltd, his security guard, an auxiliary policeman and a local beer distributor.
Mr Pip said the incident happened on the early hours of Saturday morning when the vehicle the men were in went off the road and rolled down the cliff for about 40m at Ekanda village.
Mr Pip said the beer trader sustained minor injuries as he managed to jump off the rolling vehicle but the other three could not do much and sustained serious injuries to their hips, heads and other parts of their body.
Mr Pip assisted in taking the four injured men to Mendi GH while the wrecked vehicle is still at the crash sight.
The vehicle, belonging to the company, was believed to have been driven by the expatriate.
The company is currently building the new two storey Nipa-Kutubu district office complex which was funded by the provincial government at  the  cost of K1.5 million at Nipa.
Provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia, when contacted yesterday, said he had yet to get reports of the two incidents.