Tribal fight affects research divisions

National, Normal

The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013


AGRICULTURAL research work in the Aiyura Valley, Eastern Highlands, was shut off for almost two weeks following a tribal fight in the area.

Work by the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) and Coffee Industry Corporation’s (CIC) research and growers services division, formerly Coffee Research Institute, were severely affected by the fight.

At least 115 researchers and employees had feared for their safety until police arrived.

CIC Chief executive Anton Benjamin and NARI director Dr Raghunath Ghodake expressed regret that fighting between Onamuna and Aseranka tribes in the valley had broken out and made it optional for staff to leave for their safety.

Ghodake said that if fighting continued, the two organisations’ research targets would be disrupted.

Obura-Wonenara MP Mehrra Minne Kipefa was disappointed that the tribes would not heed appeals to stop the fighting.

A police mobile unit was to be based in Aiyura, Kipefa said.

“Anyone found carrying weapons around the State premises must be arrested and charged,” Kipefa said.

Fighting first broke out over a security supervisor’s position at CIC’s establishment then escalated when rival factions aired personal differences, resulting in a death and many injuries from bow and arrows.