PNG SCHOOL CLOSES AS STUDENTS, SETTLERS SKIRMISH

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Tensions high after three days of fighting

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 26, 2009) – Kikori Secondary School (KSS) in the Gulf Province is closed indefinitely and the students are scattered as a result of a fight between students and settlers.

According to a Grade 12 student Namara Koiri, three of their male students had sustained serious injuries from the fights and were now not in the school.

He told the Post-Courier yesterday from Kikori through the public phone that it had been three days since the fight started.

Mr. Koiri claimed that one of the school board members of KSS from the settlement accused one of the male students for allegedly having a love affair with his daughter which resulted in the fight between the students and the settlers.

"The school board of management suspended the classes for three weeks as the fight got worse for the last three days," he said.

The student said the fight was getting worse and the lives of the students were threatened and there was no freedom for them to move around. Mr Koiri said three of their boys, who sustained injuries, were hiding in the bush and the tension between the students and settlers was high.

He said with their national examinations coming up in October, the fight could jeopardise their performance.

"Mi wari long ol esam bilong mi yah em bai kamap long Oktoba (I am worried about my exams that are coming up in October)," he said.

He said the school board had stepped in and suspended the classes and this would be effective for three weeks until the situation was resolved.

Koiri said they were trying to go home but they could not because their lives were threatened by the settlers.

Several attempts made by this paper to get confirmation and details yesterday from the Gulf Provincial Education office and the provincial police commander failed. But it is believed the police and the education authorities from the province and Kikori are in the area to curtail the situation.

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