7 Feb 2003

PNG Morobe governor calls for peace after fatal clashes in Lae

4:14 pm on 7 February 2003

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Morobe province, Luther Wenge, has called on the warring ethnic groups in the city of Lae to lay down their arms and talk peace.

Mr Wenge has gone on local radio to appeal for peace after fighting erupted in West Taraka between Menyamya and Western Highlands people.

Since the violence erupted last Sunday, three men have been confirmed dead and more than 15 others have been injured.

Police say the death toll could be higher as there were people still unaccounted for following heavy gun fighting.

More than 40 homes, stores and vehicles have been torched in the 3-day fight, which started after drunks assaulted a woman at the West Taraka market.

Meanwhile, Mr Wenge has promised that he will seek to re-introduce the Anti-Vagrancy Act in parliament.