FIVE DEAD IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA TRIBAL FRAY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 4) - Five people were killed and four others seriously wounded in the Enga province last week in what police believe was a pay-back killing for what happened 20-years ago.

Enga police reported yesterday that in the conflict, eight people, including a Pastor, the Patron of Kompiam Baptist Church, a father and son and another family of three were taken hostage by an enemy tribe but were released following a quick response by police a day later.

Provincial Police Commander Teddy Tei said a man from Wapenamanda was killed by a tribe in the Kompiam area during a bride price ceremony on Wednesday in what has been described as revenge for a murder which occurred 20 years ago. The next day, some people traveling on a vehicle from Kompiam were caught in an ambush set up by relatives of the deceased along the lower Lai road. One man was killed and two others were seriously wounded in the attack, Superintendent Tei said.

In the tribal fight which saw the use of firearms between several tribes from Kompiam and Wapenamanda, three other men were alleged to have been killed.

A tribe from Kompiam, realizing they were losing the fight decided to kidnap the Pastor and take his vehicle together with seven people from the Lower Lai area of Wapenamanda district who spent the day in the custody of the enemy tribesmen. Wabag Police went into the trouble zone and immediately released the hostages the next day. Superintendent Tei expressed concerns that the people of Enga were killing each other for crimes committed decades ago. "Enga otherwise would be a very peaceful place if the culture of revenge in retaliation to crimes committed many years ago was changed." Mr. Tei said.

While condemning the killing he said it was the job of both educated people and the police to make the people aware that they needed to forget their past and move on. "The world around us is changing. Enga needs to change for the better rather than sticking on to our backward cultures," he said.

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