Let’s end tribal fighting in city

Editorial

THE recent spate of violent crimes and clashes, some of which resulted in deaths, has left many in urban centres and throughout the country in a state of fear, anxiety, and nervousness.
The malicious destruction of property and the injuring and disfigurement of, in many instances, innocent individuals is reaching a stage where the shock of such incidents quickly dispels from public consciousness after a very short period of time.
Dare we say it, we live in a state of fear but of indifference and apathy as well.
We now live in a suffocating and restrictive situation where no one is truly free to coexist and conduct their business without the need to constantly look over their shoulders at every turn.
Port Moresby became a centre for ethnic violence on the weekend in the Moresby South, disrupting services in Koki, Badili and 2-Mile.
A 29-year-old man from Goilala was slashed to death at Koki on Friday morning.
Two men were captured on CCTV chasing and murdering the man along the road.
The killing sparked a fight between two different groups, blocking the 2-Mile Hill road down to Koki.
The killing raised community tensions and police had to be stationed until Saturday to maintain law and order as about 400 settlers abandoned their homes in fear of being attacked by the tribesmen of the victim.
Police Commissioner David Manning has called upon the leaders of Goilala and Hela people to take ownership of and end the ethnic clash in the nation’s capital.
While police are out on the streets of Port Moresby to prevent further bloodshed and keep the peace, real and lasting peace and normalcy can be restored with the assistance of the leadership of both groups at the family, clan, tribal, ward, district, provincial and national levels.
We agree with Manning that these ethnic clashes have been going on for some time between various ethnic groups within the National Capital District and in other parts of the country.
We agree that it is time to seriously look into these clashes and identify the underlying causes.
“These ongoing ethnic clashes are symptoms of serious underlying problems within our country and we all need to address them instead of expecting them to go away,” Manning said.
“Police are currently playing a fireman’s role and we are under resourced and do not have the numbers to keep up this role.
“Society at large needs to step up and accept that they have a shared responsibility to law and order as well.”
How much longer will law-abiding residents tolerate such killings, brutalities and destruction of property?
Is payback killing a feature of our Melanesian culture that should be condoned and allowed to prevail in this day and age?
The criminal code is quite explicit about such lawless behaviour and clearly stipulates that an act of revenge that leads to the death of an innocent person or persons is an offence that carries severe penalties, including the death penalty.
Despite the legal ramifications, ethnic and tribal groups continue to take the law into their own hands through payback killings and destruction of property.
We will continue to face this problem until the payback mentality is eradicated from these irrational and lawless minds.
Port Moresby is the capital of Papua New Guinea and it should be a place in which residents and visitors can move about without the fear of crime and violence.
In fact, it should be the same elsewhere in the country.

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