Goroka University suspends classes

10:22 am on 17 June 2016

The University of Goroka in Papua New Guinea has suspended classes for two weeks after a violent clash between students on Tuesday.

Goroka Hospital treats people injured in fighting in the capital of Papua New Guinea's Eastern highlands province, 14 June 2016.

Goroka Hospital treats people injured in fighting in the capital of Papua New Guinea's Eastern highlands province, 14 June 2016. Photo: Supplied

The newspaper PNG Today reports that provincial governments in the Momase region have evacuated their students to their respective provinces due to the suspension.

The Governor of Morobe province, Kelly Naru, hired six buses, while the University provided three buses back to Lae for East Sepik students who now live in the Garden City.

The Morobe provincial government sent a police mobile squad from Bulolo to escort students home, while the Madang provincial government organized four buses which were also boarded by East Sepik students based in Madang.

PNG Today said East Sepik residential students were yet to confirm their travel plans after students started departing the campus at five o'clock in the morning on Thursday.

Goroka police said two groups of students were engaged in the skirmish at about 6am on Tuesday at the North Goroka campus.

Goroka witnessed scenes of chaos as student skirmishes spread through town.

Goroka witnessed scenes of chaos as student skirmishes spread through town. Photo: Supplied

They said the clash was due to a disagreement between students from Western Highlands and Enga provinces, who wanted to continue their boycott, and Eastern Highlands and Chimbu students, who wanted to return to class.

Students across PNG have been boycotting classes since May in an effort to pressure the PNG Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, into stepping down to face fraud allegations.

A student leader at the University of Papua New Guinea, Henry Norrie-Maim, said there are rumours that one group of battling students in Goroka believed the other had taken bribes from outside sources.

Several buildings and vehicles at the campus were damaged in the skirmish.

The Eastern Highlands provincial health authority chairman, Joshua Soso, is reported to have estimated the number of injured students at between 20 and 30, who were undergoing medical treatment at Goroka General Hospital.

The violence spread to the Goroka market forcing vendors to flee.

-PNG Today / RNZ

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