Ethnic groups turn Bumbu into battlefield

Lae News, Normal

SPORADIC fighting is flaring up between several groups in Lae.
The fighting is between different groups over different issues but is centred at Bumbu settlement.
Fighting was heavy yesterday between Morobeans and Sepiks against Highlanders in which sticks, rocks and dart shooting shanghais were used on the main road at Bumbu bridge.
In the settlement, settlers said that gunshots were exchanged.
Last week, the fighting was amongst Sepiks of two tribes from the Sepik River.
Then, on Saturday evening and yesterday morning, Sepiks and Morobeans fought against highlanders.
The fighting was believed to have been started when three youths believed from Sepik and Morobe stole a vehicle from the shop front of a highlander at Chinatown on Saturday.
The highlanders attacked the thieves leaving one dead.
The Sepiks and Morobeans then rallied and attacked the highlanders yesterday morning leaving five people, including a women, severely injured and hospitalised.
Bumbu settlers said police and ward councillors tried to stop the fight but could not.
The fighting was so heavy that it spilled onto the Bumbu bridge halting traffic for the whole morning, as rival groups hurled stones at each other.
When the fighting stopped after mid-day, police task force moved in and urged the settlers to settle their differences through a peace negotiation.
Several settlers said that the chances of having a reconciliation were “next to nil”.
 Meanwhile, at Hunter, the rate of armed hold-up of motorists have increased in the past week.
Settlers said the youths were not listening to councillors and law and order committee members.