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Papua New Guinea: 26 people massacred in tribal violence, say police

The massacre was a major escalation in ongoing tribal violence in the region. Images had emerged of bodies being loaded onto a police truck, ABC reported.

Raju Kumar Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 Melbourne Updated on: February 19, 2024 11:28 IST
Violence in Papua New Guinea
Image Source : AP Violence in Papua New Guinea

At least 26 men were massacred in tribal violence in Papua New Guinea, Australian state media reported on Monday.

Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Acting Superintendent George Kakas told Australian Broadcasting Corp initially said 53 had died. However, security forces later revised the death toll down to 26, ABC reported. It was not immediately clear whether any of the ambushers might be among the dead.

A tribe, their allies and mercenaries were on their way to attack a neighboring tribe when they were ambushed Sunday in Enga province in the South Pacific nation's remote highlands, Kakas said. Bodies were collected from the battlefield, roads and the riverside, then loaded onto police trucks and taken to the hospital.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corp, people were shot dead in an ambush in Enga province in the remote highlands region of the South Pacific island nation.

Police in the capital of Port Moresby did not immediately respond to the request for confirmation.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government was ready to assist Papua New Guinea, which is Australia's nearest neighbor and the largest single recipient of Australian foreign aid. “That is very disturbing the news that has come out of Papua New Guinea,” Albanese said before the death toll was revised down.

Albanese said Australia was already providing “considerable support” for Papua New Guinea and was helping train the country's police officers.

Tribal violence in the Enga region has intensified since elections in 2022 that maintained Prime Minister James Marape's administration. Elections and accompanying allegations of cheating and process anomalies have always triggered violence throughout the country.

(With AP inputs)

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