26 Jan 2010

ExxonMobil says clash in PNG had no link to LNG project

10:57 am on 26 January 2010

ExxonMobil says a clash that reportedly killed 11 Papua New Guinea villagers had no link to its 16 billion US dollar liquefied natural gas project.

PNG police were unable to confirm newspaper reports 11 villagers were fatally shot near ExxonMobil's LNG site in the Southern Highlands Province at the weekend.

A gang of villagers from Erave district in the Southern Highlands Province attacked a neighbouring clan with high-powered guns in an early morning raid.

PNG's Post Courier newspaper reported women and children fled as homes were torched and property destroyed in the attack.

An ExxonMobil spokesman told AAP the company expected police to carry out an investigation.

He said this is a serious and tragic event that they understand is related to a long-standing tribal dispute and does not involve project-related matters.