By Michelle Amba – EM TV News, Tari
More than 500 people from Kitiga Two in Tari, Hela province, have deserted their village after a tribal fight earlier this year.
The three-week battle between of two sub-clans has affected many lives. Those from both sides want peace negotiations and normalcy to return.
The whole village of Kitiga Two in the Tari Urban LLG was destroyed three months ago during fierce clashes between the Kopage and Homaria sub-clans.
The whole village has been deserted, with villagers now seeking refuge in other villages. The fight was based on an old dispute over ownership of land.
It is reported that 12 people were killed and many more injured during this fight. There has been a ceasefire however, but no formal peace in form of compensation has been made yet.
Serah Hamaja is married to a Kopage; this faction was displaced and is now being hosted by a neighboring village in Tagali LLG a few kilometres away from Kitiga.
“Everything we owned, beddings, clothes all was destroyed in the fire, we are left with nothing,” said Hamaja.
“We wish to return home, however, we are still scared because women are also attacked during fights,” she added.
Like many others, she says they lost everything in the fight, and are now in someone else’s village. Three months of living in fear is enough and they want the peace process to commence.
Rose Benson, a grandmother says she and her family do not have shelter.
“We have been sleeping on the streets, in Tari town, our house was burnt down. We do not want this fighting, innocent lives are affected we want peace,” Benson said.
While many are still reluctant to return to Kitiga Two, Pastor David Haive has been visiting his now burnt down home. He says his return to the village is a signal to others that peace is on the way and the fighting will not continue.
Following peace negotiations, both sides will be giving their demands for the lives lost and as way of peace and normalcy, compensations demands have to be met in the form of money and pigs.