By ELIAS LARI
THE raging tribal fighting in Porgera has claimed eight lives over the weekend, Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Nickson Pakea says.
Pakea said the killings were related to ongoing fight between two tribal groups with each group losing four lives.
Enga police commander Supt Epenes Nili, when contacted by The National yesterday, said he was aware of the tribal fighting but had not received any report on the killings in Porgera.
PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) chief of staff Capt Philip Polewara told The National last night that PNGDF was aware of the tribal fighting in Porgera.
But Capt Polewara said he was not aware of the eight deaths and would get more information from PNGDF soldiers on call-out in Porgera.
However, Pakea said police and soldiers were on the ground but needed logistics support to put the situation to a rest.
He said fighting was raging fiercely in Laiagam, Mulitaka, and almost the entire electorate of Lagaip-Porgera, resulting in many deaths since last year.
“The bodies were located by the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church youths when they crossed the fighting zones with their brass bands as a sign to call off the fight,” Pakea added.
“The tribal clash is like a genocide with at least one death a day.
“The authorities must take quick and serious counter-actions to stop the tribal war.
“The district law and order committee had suggested for a curfew last month (April 28) and also the provincial executive council declared the electorate as a fighting zone but there is no logistic support on the ground to mobilise support and counter measures.
“When Barrick PJV was operating the gold mine, we never required logistics support from the provincial government or the administration.
“However, we are now handicapped,” he added.
Pakea called on the Government, through the Mineral Resources Authority, to intervene and provide logistics support to address lawlessness.
“Since the provincial government and its administration are not quick to support Porgera Mine, we have no choice but to call on the Government to intervene and address lawlessness immediately,” he said.
Pakea said Prime Minister James Marape should look at issues relating to the mine because that could solve the current problems.
“We are fed up with tribal fights which have claimed so many lives, including women and children, and affecting basic services like health and education,” he added.
Pakea claimed that killing was becoming a norm in Porgera and “it is a very serious threat to peaceful and law-aiding communities”.
By ELIAS LARI