Thursday, February 03, 2011

Five die in Southern Highlands gunfight



FIVE people are dead, a man is under medical treatment and properties worth thousands of kina were destroyed in a fierce gun battle between two tribes in the Nipa-Kutubu electorate in Southern Highlands, The National reports.

The fight, between the Hulsoan and Tegipo 1 and 2 tribes, started over a prolonged delay in compensation payment over the death of businessman Hulson Song from the Tegipo tribes believed to have been killed by someone from the Hulson tribe through sorcery in 2009.

However, in the delay, the Hulson tribe shot dead two other young men from the Tegipo tribes during New Year’s Eve last year.

The Tegipo tribes then retaliated and shot dead two Hulson men and wounded another young man who is nursing pellet wounds on his legs.

Tegipo councillor Jack Elal said this was one of the most fearsome fights they had been involved in.

He said the fight had destroyed the lives of many people and properties worth thousands of kina.

Elal said a bishop’s house and a primary school at Injua were also burnt down and the fight was getting out of control.

He said his tribe was willing to make peace because they did not want the fight to continue.

Elal said if leaders like local MP Philemon Embel and administrator William Powi who is from the same area, together with the police and peace mediators went to the scene and initiate peace talks then people would surrender.

He said Embel had not made any effort to iuntervene in the situation.

Elal said Embel was focusing on sports and forgot to help his people.

He said the situation could turn worse because high-powered weapons were being used.

Elal added that people wanted the tribal fights to end and urged Embel and Powi to intervene to restore peace between the two tribes.

The National called SHP police commander Teddy Tei yesterday but he said he was in a meeting and could not comment.

Also attempts to contact the Mendi General Hospital were not successful.



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