By MALINDA KALE
THE ongoing fighting between the Rogolka and Kimka tribes in Dei, Western Highlands, has claimed 30 lives to date.
Police commander Chief Insp Jacob Kamiak said 28 bodies had been recovered while villagers were still looking for the two other missing people.
He said the tribal fights had been waged for the past seven months with both sides losing 15 tribesmen each.
“The peace and good order committee must meet and discuss with the respective authorities to declare Dei as a fighting zone,” he added.
Kamiak said police had tried every way possible, with limited resources, to contain the situation but “the warring tribal fighters are reluctant to submit and embrace peace”.
“The situation here is still tensed with continuous clashes and fighting.
“We have deployed policemen and even the mobile squad.
“We are doing our best on the ground to monitor the situation and to ensure law and order. Regardless of our efforts, they continue to fight.
He also said Mt Hagen police were down with mobility and logistics, all vehicles were not road worthy, needing repairs and service.
“This is affecting the effectiveness of our mobile security patrols to maintain public law and order in Dei.
“We cannot send out our policemen if the logistics and mobility are inadequate and failing.
“All the vehicles had not been serviced since 2017. It is too risky for policemen and women to use such vehicles,” he added.
Dei MP Westly Nukundj appealed to all concerned to end the ongoing tribal conflict that is claiming many innocent lives.
“The tribal fights are making it difficult for people to access basic services, affecting schools and public servants,” he said.
Nukundj also called on the Western Highlands executive council to convene a meeting to pass a resolution declaring Dei as a fighting zone.
The fighting received media attention after a picture, showing a group of armed men and children posing with the head of a man who was decapitated, was posted on Facebook.
By MALINDA KALE