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Enga fighting intensifies


SYDNEY – At least 10 people were killed in the last two weeks of the old year in Enga Province as tribal fighting in the Highlands region intensified.

Plagued by warring factions, Lagaip-Porgera MP Tomait Kapili said the violence and killings must stop.

"The fighting has been going on for some time,” he told The National newspaper, saying there had been gun battles in and around the Porgera gold mine.

"All the fighting must stop immediately and the warring tribesmen must return to their lands. Porgera is not the place for you to resolve your problems."

Mr Kapili told the fighters to “stop behaving like criminals and destroying peace and safety”.

“I have heard the voices of Porgera communities loud and clear and I fully support their call for an end to this lawlessness and violence."

Enga governor, Sir Peter Ipatas, said he would raise the matter with prime minister James Marape and his cabinet as soon as possible.

"I am fully supporting his call for urgent intervention to stop this senseless fighting, and to end the criminal conduct of a few people impacting public law and order in Porgera," Sir Peter said.

"Let me warn everyone that justice will be served on anyone who breaks the law or harms people.

"We do have customs and traditional connection with the Tari people, specifically the Hulis of Hela, but that does not entitle you to come and flex your strength and muscle," the governor added.

"Fix your problem in your own land, Hela."


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Justin Kundalin

It's more than being a fool to go to somebody else's place to fight and disturb innocent people. As a result, the innocent landowners are suffering and living with fear for they know that everyone has only one life. Indeed few weeks ago, I went to Porgera and heard about the complain of some of the local landowners and it was a tragic experience. These two or more tribes from Tari are coming to Porgera to look for their enemies to fight and this really brought a huge mess to their place. I wonder how the Prime Minister is feeling. He really needs to do something to stop this because it seems that these two tribes who are fighting will never go back to their place. I'm afraid otherwise these fighters might become like nomads to make a living.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Jim Moore offered this comment on the Exkiap website in response to the video uploaded by Iain Millar. I thought it worth sharing on PNG Attitude.

View this video and weep, for what we knew then, what is the reality now, and for where it will all go to from here.

In the midst of that, let's not pretend we live in a pristine community. Read the prize-winning "No Friend but the Mountains" by Behrouz Boochani, written from Manus Prison on WhatsApp, one message at a time.

It made me ashamed to be Australian.

If we truly believe that the Manus/Nauru solution was the right answer to what we thought was a problem, then we are no better than Engans who kill others because they are not "us".

If we thought that the Manus Solution actually fixed the problem, we are delusional. We now find that an average of 77 "refugees", a lot from Malaysia, arrive every single day BY AIR and then claim refugee status (ABC news report). They disappear into the community, probably into modern-day slavery, forced into agricultural/horticultural work, etc by the people smugglers who were such a "threat" to Australia previously that we had to cause the savage misery of Manus Prison and Nauru.

That continues because a lot of powerful people have a vested interest in ensuring cheap labour in Australia.

Australia and PNG's pasts and futures continue to entwine in ways we could not have foretold in our day.

Philip Kai Morre

Enga and Huli people are known for their aggressiveness and confrontation that leads into bloodshed and destruction of property.

Their problems does not need other people, including government and churches, to solve for them. They know their own problems and know their own solutions too. Let them decide for themselves and assist them from within and go with them to find workable solution.

One way is to tame their aggressive drive through a lot of intervention and conflict resolution and self management training.

Human beings are created for change in mentality and spiritually and we got to help them realise their potential for change from within.

John W Gordon-Kirkby

I’m so saddened by these reports of continued fighting (I don't think it is tribal) amongst the Hulli and Enga people with whom I once worked.

From a distance, I suspect that it’s most probably hooliganism by an element of society struggling with rapid social change and limited opportunities to meet aspirations.

The challenge is to find ways of distributing opportunities and wealth equitably.

Mining policy tends distribute the income so generated to foreign interests and a limited few on home ground.

Peter Salmon


Iain Millar recently drew our attention to this link on the site that I manage which complements this Guardian doco:


Philip Fitzpatrick

So what's going on here?

Are Hulis attracted by the gold at Porgera there in such numbers that they've started fighting among themselves on other people's land?

Sounds a bit like the wars between the Chimbus in Mosbi in the 1970s.

I wonder whether they can be legally kicked out of Enga. Then again, how could that be enforced?

What a mess!

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