Fighting subsides in PNG's Goroka amid tensions

9:04 am on 16 June 2016
Injured students in Goroka Hospital, Papua New Guinea, 14 June 2016

Injured students in Goroka Hospital, Papua New Guinea, 14 June 2016. Photo: Supplied

Fighting between university students in the capital of Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province, Goroka, has eased off after police retained control of the town.

Over 50 students from the University of Goroka were reportedly injured on Tuesday in clashes linked to divisions among students about whether to return to classes or continue their boycott of classes since last month.

Injured students in Goroka Hospital, Papua New Guinea, 14 June 2016.

Injured students in Goroka Hospital, Papua New Guinea, 14 June 2016. Photo: Supplied

A local resident, Geologust Ivano Ericho, said fighting started out on campus, then spilled over into town and down to the main market.

"Not much damage to infrastructure, public property, businesses and that sort of thing," he said.

"But a lot of people were injured. There was about between fifty and seventy people at the hospital on Tuesday, receiving treatment for various injuries and wounds - knife wounds, getting hit by stones and what not."

The provincial administration said calm and normal business have been restored in Goroka town today, while the tensions are currently "contained to the campus".

Meanwhile, a student leader in Port Moresby said the conflict between students in Goroka was fueled by rumours that some had accepted bribes.

Henry Norrie-Maim says the rumours may have been spread to undermine student unity.

"It's just rumours that the student leaders in those two other campuses in Goroka and Lae [are] taking money from outsiders and politicians," he explained.

"That's causing disharmony and people are fighting. It can be anybody spreading rumours. It can be even outsiders to destablise this unity that we have to fight corruption."

Henry Norrie-Maim says students at the University of Papua New Guinea choose not to go to class on Wednesday out of respect for those injured by police during last week's unrest.

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