17 Nov 2014

PNG police say leaders can stop tribal warfare

6:56 am on 17 November 2014

Police in the Papua New Guinea province of Hela say local and national leaders must step in to put a stop to ongoing tribal warfare in the area.

Hela provincial police commander, Mark Yangen, says the fighting first started in 2012 over an argument over a piece of land.

More than 20 people have since been killed.

Mr Yangen says he does not have enough manpower to control the fighting and he has appealed to headquarters for more reinforcements.

But he says leaders must also hold peace talks if the fighting is to stop.

"Once the leaders get to their people, on both sides, and start talking to them, I think the people will listen. This includes both leaders at a national and provincial level - to come down and they have to work with the police to stop this fighting and bring peace to the area."

Mark Yangen says the current situation is quiet but very tense and fighting could break out again at any time.

Hela province, Papua New Guinea.

Hela province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades