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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 7) - Five men have been killed in a tribal fight at Mul Baiyer Lumusa district in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands.

Provincial police commander Winnie Henao confirmed the number of deaths, adding that the situation was tense.

"The fight is still going on and there is nothing much the police can do because of a fuel shortage," Superintendent Henao said. "There is no fuel and logistics to attend to the situation in Baiyer."

Henao said businessman Koi Tape and the Baptist Church assisted in deploying a police unit to the fighting zone to protect the Baptist Church run Tinsley Health Centre.

He said the fight between the two tribes began last week.

General secretary for the Baptist union of Papua New Guinea John Kaiwa said the church-operated health center could be destroyed and urgent measures have been taken to protect the health center.

"The health workers are also at risk. A police unit is on the ground in Tinsley because fuel rations were made possible by the church and a businessman," Kaiwa said.

He said some of those injured in the fight were being treated at Tinsley while others have been taken to the Mount Hagen General Hospital.

"A volunteer doctor from the Volunteer services overseas (VSO) Dr Ian Garbett was asked to leave the health center and return to Mount Hagen for security reasons and I am not sure if he will go back to help the people in Baiyer," Kaiwa said.

District Administrator for Mul Baiyer Lumusa Ogla Makindi said powerful guns were used in the fight.

"Both warring clans are using powerful guns. One man was killed without using a gun. The other were shot dead and it is very difficult to control the situation," Makindi said.

He said he needed funds to ensure that the police were on the ground.

"I need some money to get enough fuel and rations for the police to be on the ground. Police are human beings and their lives are also in danger because of the powerful guns that are being used in the fight," he said.

July 8, 2005

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