PNG student killed in police crossfire during student clash
Student accidentally shot by police trying to quell fighting between students from rival schools in Papua New Guinea.
A high school student in Papua New Guinea's second city, Lae, has been killed by what is believed to be a stray bullet from a gun fired by police.
The police were trying to break up a fight with students from another school.
Another student was wounded and is fighting for his life.
Both students are from Bugandi Secondary School, whose students have frequently clashed with students from Lae Secondary.
Our correspondent in PNG, Todagia Kelola, told Don Wiseman what had sparked the student violence.
TODAGIA KELOLA: The fight actually, according to sources, started from a cult movement. There was some Bugandi boys who were over in the cult and Lae Secondary School students also have their own groupings. They met and they had a fight and some Bugandi students were injured. So the Bugandi students went back to their school and mobilised other students who are not within the cult, but they mobilised them and they marched to Lae Secondary School with placards, saying that school violence must stop. But they went right to the gates of Lae Secondary School where the Lae Secondary students were having a parade before going into classes. When they went outside they were shouting, and then the Lae Secondary students rushed to the tool-sheds and armed themselves with bush knives, axes and any weapon that they can find inside the tool room, and then started chasing the Bugandi students. So police were called in. And police tried to cool the situation, but they were in the middle. The students were maybe 20 metres apart and the police were in the middle, and students were still throwing stones and sticks at each other and shouting names. And then the police fired some warning shots.
DON WISEMAN: It's a strange way of firing warning shots, though, isn't it, when they fire into the crowd.
TK: According to reports that came to us, police tried to fire warning shots to disperse the students, and two students from Bugandi were shot. And one was rushed to the hospital and he was pronounced dead on arrival, while the other is in a critical condition at the intensive care unit in Lae.
DW: There was a death at this same school - Bugandi School - late last year.
TK: Yes. It is also a result of school violence. There are a number of schools in Lae, but there are some schools that are friends with others and there are some schools that brand them as enemies.
DW: One of the remarkable things from the story you've told is that the students could go to a shed within the school grounds and arm themselves. Are any questions being asked about that?
TK: Yes. Well, after classes they do work periods. The tool-shed keeps all their tools - bush knives, grass knives. The students themselves, they know where to get their weapons from, so they just rushed to the tool-shed and armed themselves, and came out running towards the Bugandi students.
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