By PISAI GUMAR
AN ongoing ethnic war involving six tribes has left at least 11 people dead and 14 injured, turning Kagua’s Sugu Valley in Southern Highlands, into a killing field yesterday.
Katiloma tribesmen, armed with rifles and bows and arrows, were seen on the move as scores of villagers fled their burning homes, seeking refuge.
The villagers are seeking Government intervention to stop the bloody tribal war that had been brewing for five weeks.
The six tribes on the battleground are the Kambiya, Rearepa, Koyari, Ya’ala, Hurupa and Yatupa group versus the Perepe, Wambe and Lauwereba combo.
Businessman Maita Yawi, from Lae’s Yalu village, travelled to Kagua last weekend to try to calm down the warring factions.
“I talked to the locals at Kagua station then travelled to the fighting zones in Haka and Katiloma respectively, telling them to lay down their arms,” Yawi said.
“I appealed to them to resolve their disputes peacefully and allow the road construction to Erave to proceed.”
The National had since last Wednesday tried to reach SHP police commander Martin Lakari and deputy administrator Simon Pidik for comments.
All the attempts failed. However, Yawi told The National that police and Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force soldiers were protecting government properties at Kagua station.
“That is why they are unable to move into the fighting zones. The situation is chaotic with rival warrior fighters armed with guns and bows and arrows,” he added.
Yawi said the reasons for the fighting were unknown. At least 11 people were killed, including a woman, and 14 injured from both sides.
“I heard the story in Lae, about the fighting and killing back home and it continued for a month and week,” Yawi said.
“I expected government officers on the ground from the office of our MP Wesley Raminai to intervene and mediate to restore normalcy and peace.
“However, nothing occurred and the number of deaths and injuries continue to rise, leaving women and children homeless. So, I had to intervene.
“If I didn’t intervene, then who else will, when locals who are my people in Kagua local level government comprising 30 wards, continue to kill themselves and the conflict goes unheard.”
Yawi said he gave a cow and two pigs for rival parties three weeks ago, to slaughter, sit down and discuss reconciliation and peace.
By PISAI GUMAR