Tribal Fighting – Papua New Guinea


July 2007
Steve Marshall reports on the changing face of tribal warfare in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. 

Highland tribes have traditionally used violence to solve disputes – over everything from land control to wives and livestock.

Now, the disputes continue, but the weaponry has changed.

These days many illegal guns have made their way into the hands of tribal fighters.

From bows and arrows to illegal semi-automatic weapons — the fallout is devastating.

“When he was killed I was left with three kids to look after and it’s hard for me”, a widow in the Western Highlands tells Marshall.

Tribal fighters confirmed that the drugs for guns trade between PNG and the top end of Australia is also alive and well. 

“Some of our businessman who are out there in Australia they buy the guns and send it up to us here”, said tribal fighter Moses Kauga. 

At a time when PNG voters are going to the polls for the 2007 national elections, Steve Marshall also reveals claims that PNG politicians themselves might be involved in the trade.


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