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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 24) - Eight men were shot dead and several others received bullet wounds in separate incidents in the Baiyer and Lumusa districts of Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province.

[PIR editor’s note: Western Highlands province is located in the central part of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula.]

This was after warlords from rival tribes in the two districts used guerilla tactics and high-powered weapons in ambushes.

Western Highlands provincial police commander Chief Inspector Kaiglo Ambane, who confirmed the killings, said, however, that the situation was cooling down with the presence of the policemen.

"Due to communication problems, I have not received any reports from my policemen but word is that the situation has calmed down," Ambane said.

The Baptist Union of Papua New Guinea has provided funds to post six policemen from Mt Hagen who flew into Lumusa and are monitoring the situation.

This move is an attempt by the church to restore peace at all costs in the area. This assistance is timely due to the financial constraints, which in most cases prevent police from carrying out their duties.

The provincial police commander said the policemen are conducting foot patrols in the affected areas; mediating with those involved to allow the law, take its course.

"The policemen will be in the area for two weeks before they travel back to Mt Hagen with reports of the situation," said the Inspector.

Ambane expects that the current situation will not flare up again and affect election preparations in the area.

He added that he is confident elections in the area will be trouble free.

Meanwhile, community leaders have condemned the killings saying many innocent lives have been lost through these meaningless attacks.

Councillor Patrick Paul Lepa from Kolo clan has pleaded to leaders of the warring tribes to lay down their guns and put a stop to further killings.

"This is very dangerous as many innocent lives have been lost and many people are living in constant fear," Lepa said.

He said they did not want any more deaths and he was pushing for the tribes to stop the killing and make peace.

The Mulipisa tribes from the Alona area and other tribes are also calling for peace to prevail in the area.

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