19 Mar 2003

Police powerless to end tribal war in PNG's Eastern Highlands

4:10 pm on 19 March 2003

Police in Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands say they are unable to attend an ongoing tribal fight in the province because of indequate fuel supplies.

The Acting Provincial Commander, Chief Inspector Theodore Muriki told the National that the lack of fuel is preventing police from travelling to the battle zone to stop the fight and assess the damage it has caused.

He says unconfirmed reports are that four people have been shot dead and a number of properties destroyed after a tribal fight between the Savi and Awani tribes re-ignited.

The fight is the third to erupt this year between the two tribes over a long standing land dispute.

Mr Muriki says the warring tribes are using high powered guns and he is warning people to stay away from the conflict zone.