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Simbu politicians refuse to act to extinguish tribal war

FRANCIS NII | Supported by the South Pacific Strategic Solutions Writing Fellowship

FrancisTHE EDUCATION AND FUTURE of the children in the Salt and Nomane area of the Karimui Nomane electorate of the Simbu Province are being overlooked and deprived.

Last week the provincial education authorities suspended classes for each school in the area due to continuing election-related tribal fighting.

The warfare is between the supporters of Mogerema Sigo Wei MP and runner-up in the 2012 general elections, businessman Michael Korry.

This ongoing conflict has caused much hardship and anguish for the people of Salt and Nomane. The fight started in August last year and now into its seventh month.

Three people had been killed. Others have sustained serious gunshot injuries inflicted by high powered weapons. Property worth thousands of kina has been destroyed.

The Kundiawa police have made several attempts to bring the warring groups together but have failed because the two warlords Korry and Wei have not consented.

The fighting has brought government services to a standstill. Worse, the provincial education authorities suspended classes for schools in the fighting zone and for more than 10 primary,15 elementary and one secondary school in the entire Salt and Nomane Local Level Government area for an indefinite period because teachers have refused to take up their postings in fear of their lives.

Parents are very concerned about the education and future of their children and are calling on the two leaders to end the fight immediately.

This is a deprivation of the children’s right to gain an education, especially at a time when the parents have just been relieved of the burden of tuition fee. It is totally wrong.

The parents, police, provincial authorities and general public of Salt and Nomane are calling on the two leaders to return to Simbu and end the war as soon as practical so schools can start classes and other government services can be restored.

The lives of the innocent majority and the education and future of the children cannot continue to be jeopardised by the political greed and craving of two individuals and their barbaric supporters.

As leaders they must consider the welfare of the innocent majority which includes pregnant mothers and sick people to have access to medical services.

It is hoped that the fight ends. The sooner the better for the people of Salt and Nomane and the entire district.


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Jerome Aiake

Thanks Francis Nii for raising the issue.

I think the people of Salt and Nomane are generally good people who share and care like everyone around the word.

The only problem is they lack ethical and moral principles. I suggest that the politicains come out and educate their people and encourage them to stop the warring.

Leaders should serve the people or represent the people. But now it is the people who are suffering. The two politicains are not doing anything.

Probably it must be the wealth of being an MP they are after and not the people.

I suggest they help resolve the matter and let the court of disputed returns handle their problem.

If the runner up thinks the winner used some illegal practises to win, then collect your facts and figures well so you can win through the court.

The future leaders are not attending school, so please, it will be you the two leaders who will solve the problem by reconcilation so that your people would reconcile because the law enforcers had tried and have failed.

Joe Wasia

Thanks Francis. Sad to read that my fellow Papua New Guineans are suffering out there.

When an issue starts at initial stage, why can't we seek ligation? Why do we take revenge? Does that solve us any puzzle? I think not.

We need to do something right now for better PNG. Well, I would suggest education. I know education is a greatest tool that would solve such issues in our country because we are really lacking in education.

We can deploy armed security and police force or even defense force to tribal areas to contain fights and social unrest but it will never solve a problem. It will still erupt after months and years because people are uneducated.

As the great Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Yes, we can change Papua New Guinea through education.

But how can it start? Who can help start it? where can it be started? These are questions I ask myself.

Bob Cleland

Francis, I dare say that someone with the reconciliation skills of a kiap might do the trick.

Mrs Barbara Short

I remember when I was a teacher at Keravat NHS I got to know many from the Chimbu (Simbu) Province. I danced with them at the monthly dances in the Mess. There were not many Chimbu girls for them to have as dancing partners.

I remember young men who were great academics, who went on to become university professors and doctors and leaders in a variety of fields in PNG.

Also, there was young Endemongo John, who had great leadership gifts but seemed to end up using them in the wrong way. I hope he has learnt his lesson by now.

In this battle between Sigo Wei and Michael Korry, and their supporters, I imagine they are two men with leadership gifts, who may be a little like some I have known.

If the elections were not run fairly, the battle may continue.

I hope some form of arbitration can be developed that can see an outcome which both men will see as being fair.

Then the area will be safe for the schools to reopen and for the sick people to have access to medical services.

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