25 May 2005

PNG official seeks peace talks over tribal clash

4:09 pm on 25 May 2005

The administrator of Papua New Guinea's Western Highlands province says mediation is needed so production can resume at a large coffee plantation at the centre of a fierce clash.

Nine people are thought to be dead following a fight involving members of the Karangkalpa tribe and managers and workers of a plantation near Kimil.

Michael Wandil, the administrator, hasn't yet received a report from local police but says he understands that a grievance flared up after compensation changed hands.

Mr Wandil says a mobile police squad's gone in, and he'd like to see mediation occur soon.

"Well we'd definitely like peace mediation to take place as soon as possible, and those that would have committed that murder crime to be brought before the justice and law and order restored in that area, because it is directly affecting the communities out there as well as the plantation."

Mr Wandil says the plantation produces 3,000 tonnes of green bean coffee, supporting hundreds of workers.