By Vasinatta Yama – EMTV News, Mt Hagen
There is a heavy joint security presence in Tari town to restore peace and normalcy in Hela Province.
Hela Provincial Police Commander, Martin Lakari, said the fight had stopped since Sunday, but the situation remains tense.
Seven people were killed in a series of payback attacks. PPC Lakari said the fight started last Wednesday after the Kupari tribesmen killed a Linapin man who was reputedly claimed to be a ‘warlord’.
The Linapins retaliated and killed seven Kupari men, and set alight more than 50 houses and properties.
PPC Lakari described the fighting and killing as a guerrilla war, where there was no battlefield.
The fighting stopped since Sunday morning, because of the joint security force operation.
The current manpower of the joint forces is 56 PNG Defence Force soldiers, 16 men from the Correctional Service, and 102 Mobile Squad members. The Mobile Squad members are from MS 1 McGregor, MS 7 Mt Hagen, MS 19 Tomaringa in Rabaul, MS 11 Wabag, and MS 9 Hela.
The joint security forces are monitoring all locations and conducting several roadblocks day and night to ensure that no armed civilians are entering the town.
The town returned to normal today with banks and hospitals opened for business.
PPC Lakari urged village leaders to make use of the justice system, and report such criminal matters to police, instead of taking the law into their own hands.