By JACOB POK
A SCHOOL fight between two students of the Busip Primary School in Bogia, Madang province, has developed into an ethnic clash that has left three people dead and many others injured.
A lot of properties have also been destroyed.
Two men from Bogia and one from Manam were reportedly killed in the fight that lasted three days.
Tension in the area is still high.
An eyewitness, John Seidan, told The National from Madang last night that the fight started last Wednesday when a local student from Busip wounded his schoolmate from Manam with a fishing spear after an argument at the primary school grounds.
The Manam student resides at the Tobenam care centre with his fellow islanders who have relocated to the mainland several years ago in fear of the Manam volcano.
Mr Seidan said the fight went out of control and local villagers attacked the Manam people at the care centre.
He said Manam children attending the primary school, fearing more attacks, fled to their relatives at the Ausuramba care centre, several kilometres away.
He said angry locals of more than 20 communities teamed up and started to fight against the Manam settlers.
The fight continued last Thursday where angry locals, allegedly armed with bush knives, axes and bows and arrows, set up roadblocks and checked all vehicles travelling between the Madang-Bogia Highway.
Mr Seidan claimed there was no police presence to contain the situation when it erupted.
Police arrived last Thursday afternoon but did not try to stop the fight.
He said the fight turned nasty last Friday when angry villagers surrounded the Tobenam care centre and burnt down all the houses and chased away the Manam settlers including the elderly, women and children.
An elderly Manam man was allegedly stabbed to death during the attack.
The islanders retaliated and killed a local villager while another, who was injured in the fight, died while in hospital.
Police returned on Saturday and brought the situation under control.
However, tension in the area is still high.