New information verified by EMTV now puts the total death toll from recent killings in the Hela Province at 23.
The murders happened in the Tagali Local Level Government (LLG) area between Sunday and Monday. On Monday morning, 16 women and children in Karida village were hacked to death. They included two unborn babies. On Sunday, seven people – four men and three women – were killed in Munima village.
The attacks are reported to be part of tribal clashes, ongoing for over 20 years involving multiple clans.
Hela Provincial Administrator, William Bando, called a law and order committee meeting yesterday in Tari to work plan out a course of action. He has also called for the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary command to recall the Tari based Police mobile squad currently based at the Exxon-Mobil site at Hides.
“We are also asking for support from the PNGDF command. We have a platoon based at based at Hides. I am calling on them to assist us here in Tari. If possible, we would like one more platoon to be sent here to Tari at the Provincial Government expense. We are willing to do that.
“We currently have only 40 police for the whole province. Our Tari based MS 9 were taken by Exxon-Mobil to provide security, while our people are dying,” Mr. Bando said.
Prime Minister and Tari-Pori MP, James Marape is expected to issue a statement today. Along with other members of the Hela Law and order committee, he is expected to declare the Tagali LLG a fighting zone.
“This kind of killing of women and children is unprecedented. It has never happened here in Tari and we are very concerned,” Mr. Bando said.
The Provincial Administrator has also issued a warning against traveling along the Tari-Koroba due to spillover violence from the tribal fighting in Tagali LLG area.