11 Sep 2013

New Zealander hurt in PNG trek attack

9:45 pm on 11 September 2013

The New Zealand manager of a tourism company in Papua New Guinea says he believes a violent incident there was a one off attack.

In the assault on Tuesday, two Papuan porters were hacked to death, and a New Zealander and several Australian trekkers were injured during a trek in the Papua New Guinea highlands.

The group, which included about nine Australians and six locals, was attacked while trekking along the Black Cat Track in Morobe Province on Tuesday.

Mark Hitchcock runs PNG Trekking Adventures and says the attack happened at the end of first day of a six day trek.

Mr Hitchcock says inquiries are underway into what happened and the trekkers are on their way back to Port Moresby.

A source close to the local police says the attack could be related to a disagreement between porters from PNG's lowlands and highlands regions, the ABC reports.

The Black Cat Track, where fighting took place between Australian and American troops and Japanese forces in 1943, is regarded as one of the most arduous walks in Papua New Guinea.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says the New Zealander injured in the attack is understood to be in a stable condition.

A Ministry spokesperson says the New Zealander's next of kin have been informed of the attack.

It is advising people to use caution if travelling in Papua New Guinea, saying there is some risk due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest.

The Police Commissioner of Papua New Guinea has strongly condemned the attack.

Toami Kulunga says the police will use all available resources to track down the attackers.

He is describing the attack as shocking and unthinkable, and has pledged to find the people responsible.