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March 3, 2021

Former Police Officer: Tribal Boundaries Need To Be Understood

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A former senior police officer whose relatives were attacked alongthe Beack Cat Track on Tuesday says foreign owned tour companies need to  be sensitive to traditional land boundaries  and cultural rivalries.

Passingan Taru from  Salamaua said several  tribes  ownthe track andthe tourism revenue has to be seen to be equally distributed by hiring porters and  guides fromthe various villages.


Taru maintainsthere will continue to be attacks if this is ignored.


Seven survivors ofthe brutal attack were airlifted to Lae on Wednesday morning. Most ofthem are from Salamaua onthe coast wherethe Beack Cat trail begins. 


It isthe first such attack along a track that only recently gained popularity because of its wartime significance. While its importance to Australia is understood by trekkers,&nbspthe tribal land boundaries and rivalries remain largely ignored.


Passingan Taru says tour companies have to be sensitive to traditional land boundaries that could affect tours.


Taru’s relatives were among those badly injured. Dick Reuben, an experienced guide, is one of&nbspthe six who may not be able to walk again.  


Taru saysthey were deliberately slashed onthe back ofthe legs sothey would never makethe journey again.  Taru has also drawn attention tothe manner in which benefits are being distributed sayingthe guides and porters have to be employed fromthe clans who ownthe land alongthe track.


Whilethe Prime Minister has announced intentions to create special police units to guard tourists  and guides, Taru says,the whole industry needs a review and national interests have to be protected.

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