The police commander in Papua New Guinea's Enga province has asked the government to declare a tribal fighting zone after a spate of deaths.
Superintendent George Kakas says 15 people have been killed near the Porgera mine in the past two weeks.
He says he believes illegal gold mining in the area is funding the purchase of alcohol and weapons which are fuelling the violence.
Mr Kakas says if a tribal fighting zone is declared it will give police the power to search, confiscate and arrest without the need for warrants.
"The situation is a bit tense because of this spate of killings in the last two weeks. People are fearful of walking around because those killings were random attacks. These are necessary powers."
George Kakas says the declaration just needs the provincial governor's signature, which should happen in the next few days.