PNG LEADERS TRY TO BROKER TRIBAL PEACE

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By Zachery Per

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 30) - Eastern Highlands Provincial leaders will travel to Mt Hagen this week to mediate between the Kimis and Moge tribes, which clashed last week.

EHP police chief Philip Solala said senior Goroka police officials will accompany the leaders.

EHP leaders were piqued last Friday by the no-show of Western Highland leaders at a proposed peace meeting. Instead, the delegation from Mt Hagen that came to Goroka comprised Eastern Highlanders residing Mt Hagen.

EHP deputy governor Joksy Nakime said they want to negotiate peace with leaders from the Moge tribe.

"Eastern Highlanders residing in Mt Hagen are victims. They are trying to negotiate peace for themselves which may not reflect the interests of members of the Moge tribe," Nakime said.

The delegation from Mt Hagen was shown the damages causes to businesses and properties in the riot last Tuesday.

Nakime said Reverend John Yaiigi, who hails from Okapa district, led the delegation to Goroka on Friday.

The leaders would also like the police to furnish a report of casualties their Eastern Highlands colleagues suffered in Mt. Hagen, for them to rely upon in the peace talk.

"The lack of a communication between Mt. Hagen and Goroka has aggravated matters. The two provincial governments need to establish an effective communication network," Nakime said.

Meanwhile, a concerned community leader from Bena District, EHP, Tebani Onopika called on leaders to be more diplomatic in their approach towards addressing the problem.

"When leaders are addressing crowds, they had to be very careful as the issue is very sensitive. An irresponsible comment can spark of trouble again.

"We need good leaders with diplomatic skills to help us find a solution," Onopika said.

December 1, 2004

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

 

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