PNG TRIBAL FIGHT LEAVES 16 DEAD

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Unfaithful wife triggers retaliation

By Samson Kendeman

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 22, 2008) - A tribal fight in Kompiam, Enga province, has left 16 people dead, 12 houses razed and properties worth thousands of kina, including food gardens, destroyed.

Several people were injured while an unaccounted number of pigs were slaughtered in the fight between the Kerapin and Mamagagin tribes.

Provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Michael Chare told The National from Wabag yesterday that the fight started on September 12. He said it all started after a woman, who was married to a Kerapin tribesman, left him and married another man from Mamagagin.

Later, she deserted her second husband and returned to her former husband at Kerapin.

"Angered by the woman’s action, the Mamagagin tribesmen retaliated and murdered a relative of the first husband," Chief Superintendent Chare said.

The Kerapin people confronted their tribal enemies and a fight ensued.

Police reports said seven men from Mamagagin and five Kerapin villagers were killed in the confrontation. A bridge before Kompiam High School had also been destroyed.

School and Government properties in the district were protected by police dispatched at the war zone.

Community leaders and councilors had assured police of their full cooperation in bringing the perpetrators to face justice. Last Friday, another four Mamagagin tribesmen were killed. A peace meeting was being planned for Wednesday.

Police said the warring tribes were using high-powered guns.

Chief Supt Chare has appealed to the two warring tribes, community leaders, councilors and surrounding villages to stop fighting as the province is gearing up for the National Executive Council meeting in Wabag early next month (Oct 5-8).

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