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Hand grenade attack in PNG

POLICE are investigating a reported mass killing in a remote highlands area in which 34 people died and 28 others seriously injured.
Reports from Sugu Valley, in Kagua-Erave district, Southern Highlands, indicated that an explosion, similar to what an hand grenade would cause, happened in the early hours of yesterday morning in a haus man, a meeting house for men.    
Assistant Police Commissioner Mar­tin Lakari, the acting highlands divisional police commander, said he was informed yesterday of the mass killing by some leaders from Erave.
Lakari has directed acting Southern Highlands provincial police commander Inspector Sibron Papato to send officers from the Mobile squad and task force in Mendi to the area.
But because of the remoteness of the area, he is not expecting a report from them until today. 
He said the leaders told him that many people were killed and others seriously injuredin the early morning attack. 
But he will await a report from the police team sent to the area yesterday to confirm the number of casualties.
Police believe the incident could have been part of the on-going rivalry between the Kambia and Wambea clans.
The first account of the incident yesterday came from a leader of the Kambia clan Jacob Walega, who said in Mt Hagen a grenade had been used in the surprise attack. 
He said the Kambia clansmen were sleeping in the haus-man at around 2am when the grenade was thrown into the house. 
He blamed the Wambea clan for the attack.
“We really don’t know how such a deadly weapon landed in the hands of our enemy,” he said.
Walega said they could not take the injured to the hospital because the Wambea tribesmen lived near the road at Kagua station and blocked it.
He called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is the Ialibu/Pangia MP, local MP James Lagea, Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and police to investigate the incident and find out where the hand grenade came from.
Walega said the first clash with the Wambea clan was on Oct 7 where homes belonging to the Kambia people were burnt. The families had to use the community hall to live in.
He said six people died before peace mediators and police moved in.  They marked a boundary and ordered the two clans not to step over it.
But last week, he said the Wambea clansmen started a fight in which two of their people were killed.

ONE PNG News/ The National

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