23 Jun 2009

Girl beheaded amid PNG land dispute

3:16 pm on 23 June 2009

A three-year-old girl has been beheaded in Papua New Guinea in an attack thought to be over a land dispute.

Police made the discovery on Sunday in Madang province, after residents reported that up to seven men had abducted the girl from the coastal village of Bogia.

Four men have been arrested over her killing.

The Madang police commander, Chief Inspector Anthony Wagambie, has told the newspaper, The National, that he is disgusted by the killing, which he says is linked to tensions over land.

He says police are hunting another three suspects.

The murder is believed to be connected to conflict between resettled Manam islanders and Bogia locals.

In 2004, Manam Island suffered a series of volcanic eruptions, forcing about 15,000 islanders to flee to the mainland and settle in Bogia.

Earlier this year, four islanders were reportedly killed during land disputes between the groups.