By JAMES APA GUMUNO
A tribal fight between the Bokasi and Repurupike tribesmen in Semberigi, Erave district, Southern Highlands province, has claimed four lives.
Three people, including a father and son, from Repurupike tribe, were killed while Bokasi lost one of theirs.
Many houses were burnt down and properties destroyed, as thousands from the two tribes fled to seek refuge in neighbouring villagers.
The tribal fight started on Nov 11 at Semberigi station after a Repurupike tribesman shot dead one Bokasi man after they refused to accept K8,000 cash and two pigs as compensation for the three young men from Bokasi who received bush knife wounds during a fight on the soccer field on Sept 16 this year.
The Bokasi tribesmen had demanded K10,000 as compensation for their three tribesmen.
Markus Kamali, a primary school teacher in Erave district, said yesterday public servants living in Semberigi station fled in fear for their lives.
Mr Kamali said the two warring tribes were going out to buy more guns and ammunition and the fight was likely to escalate.
He appealed to the police and authorities in the province to intervene and stop the fight.
Mr Kamali said that if nothing was done, the fight was likely to involve other tribesmen and this would affect multi-million kina projects like the Southern Highlands – Gulf Highway and Gobe oil and gas fields.
Provincial Police Commander Supt Jimmy Onopia yesterday confirmed the fighting and killings.
Mr Onopia said there was no road link into Semberigi from Erave and it was hard to send policemen in and stop the fight.