The National- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By ANGELINE KARIUS
TWO people are dead, another two hospitalised and a number of properties and houses have been destroyed in the latest of a number of ethnic clashes that have plagued the country recently.
The latest incident in Port Moresby involved settlers from Goilala in Central and Tari from Southern Highlands residing at the Badili, Vanagi and 2-Mile Hill settlements.
The fight started on Sunday afternoon and spilled into the early hours of yesterday morning.
Tension was high yesterday and traffic into downtown Port Moresby was diverted via the Poreporena Freeway. There was no access into 2-Mile and Badili areas.
There was no police presence within the fighting zone on Sunday.
In Bulolo, Morobe, several attempts at negotiations finally resolved ethnic clashes involving the people of the two Sepik provinces and the locals.
Early last month, Engans and Eastern Highlanders living at the Horse Camp settlement at Sabama came to blows which resulted in a number of injuries and damage to properties.
In the latest incident, NCD metropolitan superintendent Joseph Tondop said the fight started following the killing of a man from Goilala late on Sunday afternoon.
Blaming the people of Tari in Southern Highlands, the Goilala people residing at Koki mobilised and attacked the Taris, resulting in the death of a man early yesterday morning.
Two bystanders also had their limbs chopped off. The woman victim, said to be from one of the highlands provinces, had her left arm chopped off while a man lost his foot during the confrontation.
Although police could not confirm how the fight initially started, it was believed that a group of youths from Tari, residing at the Vanagi settlement, had allegedly consumed alcohol and assaulted a family from Goilala at the Koki market.
A fight broke out resulting in the death of the man from Goilala.
NCD police superintendent operations Jim Namora yesterday confirmed that properties and houses were also destroyed in the fight.
Among the homes destroyed was that of former politician and Kiriwina MP William Ebenosi.
Namora said Ela Motors also had one of its cars’ windscreens smashed by a flying missile.
Tondop said police yesterday took control of the situation.
“I appeal to community leaders from Badili, Vanagi and the 2-Mile Hill settlements, including Koki, to come to the police station and have the matter sorted out.
“Please, respect the rule of law and do not take the law into your own hands,” Tondop said in his appeal to the warring factions.
Police had apprehended five suspects – two from Goilala and three from Tari.
Reports claimed that firearms, apart from knives, axes and other weapons, were also used in the clashes.
Meanwhile, acting Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie yesterday denied reports of an alleged blockage mounted by members of the police special services division (SSD) at McGregor outside the city.
He said the incident only involved four drunken policemen.
Media reports alleged that SSD members had erected the barricade into the McGregor barracks last Saturday after refusing to hand over a number of weapons to a task force set up by police headquarters for a police contingent to fly over to Vanimo for a joint border patrol operation.
They claimed that the border operation was for the SSD and that the hand-picked men, by the acting commissioner and his acting deputy, were not fully trained men for such sensitive operations.
However, Wagambie yesterday assured the public and investors that the special services division was intact and orders had been served to deploy a contingent to Vanimo for border duties.
“Normal police investigations will be carried out into the matter and those responsible will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.