PNG: TWO Defense Force Soldiers Killed By Tribesman

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

While attending funeral in ongoing tribal dispute

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, December 28, 2015) – Two Defence Force soldiers have been killed by armed tribesmen in Komo, Hela Province. The killings, last week, have been confirmed by provincial police commander acting Superintendent Michael Welly. He said the two were among a group of soldiers who were attacked as they attended a funeral of two locals killed in an on-going dispute between the Tobe and Tomburuma-Hura-Maya clans of Ende village, near the Komo airport.

SUPT Welly said one soldier, from Milne Bay-New Ireland, died instantly on Tuesday following the attack while the other, from Eastern Highlands, died from injuries at Tari hospital on Saturday.

Their bodies have been flown to Port Moresby.

Their stolen rifles were returned by the warriors on Saturday after Supt Welly went to Komo and appealed for their return.

A senior officer at Murray Barracks headquarters said a PNGDF team is in Komo to investigate the deaths.

Police also reported another tribal clash in the Hides PDL 4 area of the PNG LNG Project following the killing of a former policeman there.

The Hides fight has affected the movement of workers, vehicles and supplies to the Hides LNG conditioning plant site. Warring factions are using the access road as battle fields.

Supt Welly has appealed for an end to the fighting.

LNG Project developer PNG ExxonMobil has called for more security personnel to quell the two fights because they posed serious security concerns to the project.

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