7 Jun 2004

Dozens hurt in tribal fighting in Papua

5:45 pm on 7 June 2004

At least 49 people have been wounded in a battle between tribesmen in the highlands of Indonesia's easternmost province, Papua.

Radio Australia reports that most of the injured had been hit by arrows and spears

The Timika district police chief Paulus Waterpauw, says the battle between the Nduga and Damal tribes follows a clash on Saturday in which two people were killed.

Mr Waterpauw says police have been able to separate the two camps but have yet to bring the rival representatives together because tension remains high.

The weekend battle follows a dispute about two months ago in which one Nduga tribesman was killed.

The AFP news agency says local tradition dictates that a death should be avenged by a death in the rival camp, unless compensation, usually involving livestock and the hosting of a feast, can be negotiated.