|Subject: Tribal feuds wreck Enga
|[ Next Thread |
Previous Thread |
Next Message |
Date Posted: Wed, Sep 12 2007, 08:36:13pm
Focus Wednesday 12th September , 2007
,Killing of innocent people as well as wanton destruction of property in the Enga Province has come to a stage where calls have been made for a state of emergency to be put in place to quell hostilities between the tribes and to restore peace. Now ...!
Tribal feuds wreck Enga
WHEN will killings and destruction to property stop in Enga?
It continues to sadden me when I see hundreds of men slaughtered as if they were diseased animals and when public and private property worth billions of kina are reduced to rubble every year during tribal feuds in Enga Province.
The latest craze is the cold blooded murder recently of a community school teacher from Mulitaka, killed at a road block at Aipanda in Laiagam.
Two weeks before this wanton killing, Ambuline and Wapukin tribesmen, wiped out Pina Catholic Mission, one of the oldest mission establishments in the province.
And this ongoing tribal feud has forced the Highlands Lutheran International School, one of the most prestigious schools in the country, to shut down on many occasions over the years.
The Pina Catholic Mission destruction costing over K2 million included a landmark church building designed in European architectural style.
A primary school and the convent were levelled out on Monday, August 20.
This fight between the Ambuline and Wapukin has seen more than 100 men killed, not to mention property including whole villages.
The area from Lenki village near Wabag town to Akom on the border of Wabag and Wapenamanda resembles a lunar landscape – no houses, no trees, no people, only elephant grass with colourful graveyards dotted along the way.
Tribes living up and down this stretch of highway have formed alliances calling themselves the Paipap Team and the Nakau Team, which are fiercely locked in a battle of attrition, destroying each other and resulting in the deaths of hundreds of men.
It is said in Enga that warfare is confined to tribal groups involved in a conflict and does not affect other people but what can we say now when innocent travellers are murdered and when churches and schools are burnt down.
As an Engan journalist working and living here for nearly three decades, I have documented many horrific killings, rapes and destruction to property costing billions of kina all over the province. Nobody can deny this!
Innocent health workers, policemen, businessmen, church workers, students and even a council president were mercilessly gunned down.
And my heart aches to see innocent children and women suffering.
I sometimes wonder if God Almighty made a mistake to create some people who just want to die over anything — like the pig, marbles, snooker games and other trivial matters.
Just last year, the Lutheran Church-run Tinjipaka Primary School, one of the oldest in Kandep, was burnt down over a lost pig.
A permanent church building and a sub-health centre were also torched. On top of that 11 able-bodied people were gunned down on suspicion that the pig in question was stolen by youths from the Wasani tribe, the people belonging to a Lyarop tribesman who was later found alive in the bush.
But the men and property were lost forever.
A while back, Rakamanda, the headquarters of the SDA Church in Enga, was reduced to ashes after an argument over a single K50 note.
A new high school, the DPI experimental station and the NBC transmitter station also went up in smoke. Another SDA-run health facility, the Sopas Hospital, one of the best in the province, was forced to closed due to continued tribal warfare in the area. It had started after an argument among youths over who should play first at a snooker table.
Recently, Highland Lutheran International School which has nothing to do with the tribal fight between the Wapukin and Ambuline, was forced to close and students from many parts of the country were evacuated to their homes.
This happened after one student received pellet wounds while in the bathroom as the two tribes went to war again on the day the last of the PNG Defence Force soldiers left the province after election duties were over. Now, with Pina mission gone, it looks like the Wapukin tribesmen will aim directly for Highland Lutheran International School because they saw it as an obstacle preventing them from wiping out Yaibos — home of the Ambuline.
They also see the school as beneficial to the Ambuline in terms of employment.
But Enga and the nation cannot afford to continue to lose churches and schools like Highlands Lutheran International School at the hands of warring clansmen. And the nation cannot allow innocent teachers, church workers and others to be gunned down frequently.
As is custom in Enga the conclusion of all fighting and revenge killings is compensation.
People killed can be compensated with pigs and cash.
But what about Pina Catholic Mission and all the other public property lost in all fights in Enga? Who will rebuild them? And what will happen to the school children?
And the innocent teachers who was gunned down this month, will any amount of compensation bring back his life?
Last week, Head Bishop of the Gutnius Lutheran Church, Rev David Piso called on students from HLIS to return to classes.
And while some have returned, others have transferred to other schools.
Temporary security arrangements have been made for the school to resume classes but it is only a band-aid treatment to a serious problem.
Police presence will provoke the Wapukin tribesmen into planning now to gradually destroy HLIS one day.
This will happen when students and staff least expect it.
The destruction of Pina Catholic Mission was the subject of discussion on a PMV bush and a man said HLIS must be destroyed because that will satisfy the Wapukin and Sikins in revenge for Pina Catholic Mission. Most other passengers agreed.
But is this how to stop the long lasting fight between the Wapukins and the Ambulines? Is this view shared by our leaders?
All five Enga elected representatives, the Lutheran Church, the Catholic Church, law enforcement agencies, the provincial government and other stakeholders must try to solve this problem and lawless activities on public highways immediately.
If any more time is delayed, I doubt if we will see Enga’s future at all because authorities have stubbornly allowed senseless warriors to continue to destroy billions of kina worth of property, thousands of men killed as innocent children and women suffer.
A state of emergency-type operation needs to be put in place now to neutralise hostilities and allow people to at least feel safe once more to travel on public roads.
Next Thread |
Previous Thread |
Next Message |