Gunmen massacre 18 in Papua New Guinea

A road in Papua New Guinea

The death toll and dates of the violence in the remote highland province of Hela varied in reports by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Post-Courier newspaper.

Tribal violence is not uncommon in the PNG highlands.

In a comment to the Reuters news agency, Philip Undialu, the governor of Hela Province, said the latest attack was in response to earlier violence. A growing population and a proliferation of firearms have exacerbated violence in the region.

Media captionPort Moresby: Basically the most lethal metropolis on this planet to be a lady?How did the killings unfold?

How did the killings unfold?

On Sunday, seven of us - four men and three women - were killed in Munima village. Two of the women were pregnant.

Six people had been ambushed and killed near Peta on Saturday, Hela Police Chief Inspector Teddy Augwi told the newspaper.

The cause of the killings is not yet known but is part of a long-running conflict that has been active for years. "So I just ran away and hide in the bush, then later on, about 9 or 10, I came back and saw bodies chopped into pieces and houses were burnt".

How did the authorities respond?

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said those responsible for the fatal attacks could face the death penalty, ABC reported.

He said he had repeatedly requested "more permanent police" to monitor the area - which houses liquefied natural gas and the power transmission line for the Porgera Gold Mine - over the last five years.

"How can a province of 400,000 people function in policing law and order with under 60 policemen, and the occasional operational military and police that do no more than bandaid maintenance?"

Bando has called for at least 100 police to be deployed to reinforce the 40 local officers in the province.

How common is tribal violence in PNG?

Communities are still based on tribal traditions and most small villages have no road connections.

In 2018, an quake devastated one of the most most a ways flung regions.

Tribal clashes are now now not irregular with rivalries commonly attributable to rape or theft, or disputes over tribal boundaries.

Over the previous years, the influx of computerized weapons has made clashes extra deadly and escalated the cycle of violence.

United States oil and gasoline firm ExxonMobil operates a pure gasoline processing plant within the space where the bloodbath took residing however halted construction on a pipeline final year thanks to unrest.

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