At least 26 men massacred in Papua New Guinea tribal violence, police tell Australian media

Melbourne (TIP): At least 26 men were massacred in tribal violence in Papua New Guinea, Australian media reported on February 18. A tribe, their allies and mercenaries were on their way to attack a neighbouring tribe when they were ambushed on Sunday in the remote highlands of South Pacific’s Enga, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Acting Superintendent George Kakas told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Kakas initially said 53 had died. But 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.
Bodies were collected from the battlefield, roads and the riverside, then loaded onto police trucks and taken to the hospital. Kakas said they were still counting “those who were shot, injured and ran off into the bushes.”
Papua New Guinea is a diverse, developing nation of 10 million mostly subsistence farmers with 800 languages in a strategically important part of the South Pacific.
Internal security has become an increasing challenge for its government as China, the United States and Australia seek closer security ties.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government was ready to assist Papua New Guinea, which is Australia’s nearest neighbour 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. (AP)

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