Fight leaves 5 dead, homes destroyed

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POLICE in East Sepik have confirmed that five people died and several injured during a clash between people from Maprik and Wosera-Gawi districts recently.
Provincial police commander Supt Albert Beli said the violence was triggered by a fight between the Mui villagers of Maprik and Bapandu villagers in North Wosera.
Five people died while two were taken hostage.
Mui Ward 10 councillor Tobias Lailen said the fight started two weeks ago when men from Bapandu, under the influence of alcohol, went to Mui and chopped the leg of a man who was sleeping.
Mui villagers retaliated by burning down Bapandu village last Saturday.
Lailen blamed the absence of police for the damage, deaths and injuries on both sides.
“Because of no police presence, local leaders cannot do anything which resulted in the deaths, injuries and houses burnt down,” he said.
“No police attended to the scene since the fight started.”
Supt Beli said police were late to respond because of logistic issues.
He said police teams would be sent to the area to help in restoring peace.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird said both sides had a “strong desire for peace, so we will help them work towards that outcome”.
“Despite the massive losses on both sides, I am relieved that both communities desire peace.
“I will continue to interact with both leaders and to support them as we move forward,” Bird said.

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