Thursday, October 27, 2011

Villagers in Mariant (Kandep) Make Peace

Source: Highlands Post, Post Courier, Wednesday October 26, 2011
By FRANK RAI

AFTER years of living in exile, the much populated Tinjipak, Yuripak, Mumund and Las Wert villages in the Upper Mariant Local Level Government (LLG) area of Kandep District in Enga province finally made peace early this month.
It was through a peace mediation program ran by the Catholic Church known as the Divine Mercy spearheaded by a local priest Fr Aaron Sakan of Mariant Catholic parish in the Kandep area.
In these vast remote villages of more than 3000 inhabitants, men, women and children have been living in exile when a tribal fight broke out between the Siki and Sambe tribes, claiming 29 lives in 2009.
Only accessible by four wheeled drive vehicles, the villages have missed out on tangible Government services for the last 15 years which had also in one way contributed to the tribal fight.
According to locals, the only Government services at Yuripak Primary School and Tinjipak Health Centre were now at deplorable stage, needing urgent maintenance to serve the population.
However, the peace ceremony was organised by the church between the Siki and Sambe tribes at Mumund village which is located at the Southern end of Kandep District bordering Southern Highlands Province.
The fight between the two tribes started in 2009 which resulted in 29 deaths and people from both warring tribes took refuge in other neighboring villages for almost three years.
On October 8, Fr Sakan, organised a peace ceremony for the warring tribes, after months of intense awareness between both warring tribes.
Both tribes humbled themselves through the reconciliation ceremony and vowed to rebuild their communities by way of bring ing back peace and normalcy.
Fr Sakan took the chance to organise the peace ceremony when the Divine Mercy program went into all the communities within the Mariant Station.
He said many problems of similar nature had been resolved in other communities and many more were yet to be solved as the program penetrates into other war torn areas

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