TENTH GRADE STUDENT HACKED TO DEATH IN PNG

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Grisly killing was part of longstanding feud

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 16, 2008) - A Grade 10 student was chopped to pieces and four others gunned down in a tribal fight in the Gadsup area of Eastern Highlands province. The student was only weeks away from sitting for his final examination.

Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Superintendant Teddy Tei yesterday confirmed the brutal killing of Jepthro Apume of the Bioka clan, who was a Grade 10 student at Kainantu High School, by rival Pundibasa clansmen.

Tei said that in retaliation, Bioka clansmen raided the Pundibasa clan’s area and shot a 21-year-old man identified as Joel Ayuti.

Angry relatives of the Grade 10 student cut off one of the legs of the deceased man and carried it to the grave of the student and left it there.

Tei said that in return, Pundibasa clansmen raided the Bioka clan’s territory and brought the deceased’s leg back. But they did not destroy any properties or gardens. He said the fight was continuing, with two more shootings, one of them fatal.

Tei personally led a team of policemen comprising members of the Goroka Mobile Squad 14 and Kainantu and Yonki policemen to Gadsup area around the Yonki lakes on Tuesday.

He appealed to the warring factions to lay down their arms and allow students to return to school as the national examinations were round the corner.

Tei gave them time until today to enter a first peace deal and lay down their arms.

"We will consider deploying policemen and the Gadsup Tairora Peace and Good Order Committee at the site to arrive at a peace negotiation," Tei said.

Several coffee and food gardens were destroyed and many permanent and semi-permanent houses were burned in the fight.

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