The National, Thursday September 26th, 2013
By CLEMNT KAUPA
ETHNIC and criminal violence have reared their ugly heads once again in Morobe province in the space of a month, leaving deaths, destruction and widespread fear in their wake.
It is the umpteenth time for this province to wake up to the horrors of these evils that have been allowed free rein for so long.
An elderly man is confirmed dead and two others are reported to have sustained grievous bodily injuries from a wave of deadly retaliatory attacks in the township of Bulolo over the weekend.
The Watuts of Wau are on the war path against the Bubus of Garaina over an attack, allegedly by drunken Bubu men, on two Watuts at BuloloTown Market on Friday.
Yesterday The National reported that the ethnic clash had spilled into neighbouring Wau Town leaving a trail of destruction to homes and properties in its path.
The situation remains volatile and it is expected that the provincial police command in Lae would have dispatched additional units to contain the situation since yesterday’s developments.
Otherwise, more lives and properties are at risk if the situation declines any further, given the multiple ethnic constitutions of the Wau and Bulolo communities, a result of the rich alluvial mining there.
A fortnight earlier at a remote location a few kilometres north of Wau, two local porters were violently killed by criminals while a third succumbed to injuries days later in Lae while awaiting surgery.
Others, including eight expatriate trekkers who have returned to their countries since, are nursing physical injuries, not to mention the psychological trauma that will take longer to heal, if ever.
Accounts of the wanton violence perpetrated by the machete-wielding criminals can only be described as psychopathic and utterly despicable.
The ordeal rightly deserved the scathing criticism here and abroad, which, apart from condemning the insanity, shouldprompt the government to arrest the unacceptable crime situation in Morobe.
Its ethnic diversity, especially within its provincial port and industrial capital of Lae, is always the obvious culprit in countless tirades.
Ofcourse, it goes without saying that violence begets violence and in a cosmopolitan landscape such as Lae, the environment simmers with tensions between cultures as raw and broad as the land.
But there are other profound socio-economic issues that continue to underlie the high prevalence of violence in Lae and Morobe that needs closer inspection and appropriate remedial actions.