17 Aug 2006

Deaths attributed to dispute between PNG settler groups in Port Moresby

7:56 pm on 17 August 2006

A dispute between two highland settler groups in the Papua New Guinea capital, Port Moresby, has sparked apparent revenge killings and shut down the city's bus services, forcing schools to send children home today.

The trouble started earlier this month following the death of a Mt Hagen man from the Western Highlands when a bus was allegedly held up in the city by a gang of men originally from Tari in the Southern Highlands.

More than 1,000 Mt Hagen people resident in the capital met today to discuss the escalating feud, many seeking revenge as leaders and senior police officers appealed for calm.

The death of a Mt Hagen taxi driver in Waigani on Wednesday has been tied to the dispute but reports differed on how many people had been killed in total.

One Mt Hagen man at today's meeting said two Tari men, including a businessman, and five Mt Hagen men had been killed.

But police say four of those deaths appeared unrelated to the dispute.