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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 16) – Police in Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands stopped warring tribes from exchanging young girls as part of a compensation payment last week.

They also issued strong warnings to local leaders and members of peace committees found negotiating for girls as part of any compensation payment.

Obura-Wonenara police flew in a chartered aircraft into Marawaka government station and stopped Wonenara tribesmen from sending two young girls to the Marawaka people as part of a compensation payment for the death of a community health worker.

The health worker, from Marawaka, was allegedly murdered by his Wonenara wife and another man who the woman was having an affair with.

The Marawaka people retaliated and killed the woman’s father, burnt down several houses and destroyed properties.

Obura-Wonenara police station commander Chief Sergeant Bonny Araul said police had arrested and charged people over the two killings.

Sgt Araul said the Marawaka people demanded K8,000 (US$2,500) in cash and several live pigs for the death of the health worker. The Wonenaras in return demanded K6,000 (US$1,900) in cash and some pigs for the death of the old man and damages to their properties.

But Sgt Araul said the Wonenaras returned with two young girls and K2,000 (US$636) cash to compensate the death of the health worker.

"We moved in on time to stop the girls from being handed over to the other tribe. We warned both tribes such practices were illegal and they would be punished for it," said Sgt Araul. "I told the people that ladies were not a piece of material or curse that could be used for a change in compensation payments."

December 17, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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