Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Southern Highlanders end 6 years of fighting

Source: The National,Wednesday18 January 2012

AFTER years of violence, six warring tribes have agreed to lay down their arms and live in peace.
Wake-Lakira and Laisi, Kome, Rairira, Bela-Yamola and Wasuma tribes from the Aiya local level government in Kagua, Southern Highlands, confirmed the peace agreement by signing a memorandum of understanding last Dec 24.
The tribal conflicts have affected more than 40,000 people in the LLG with more than 50 lives lost during the fights.
The first tribal war began in 2002 between Sumi and Uma where properties belonging to the Sumi Catholic mission and the government were destroyed.
The next was in Aug 2008 between the Wake-Lakira, Onepena and Laisi, Kome, Rairira, Bela-Yamola and Wasuma.
It started after the death of a Taisi and Wake in Port Moresby.
Aiya peace committee chairman Peter Tulapi said despite the lack of government involvement, the peace ceremony was successful with no weapons seen or displayed by landowners.
The Sumi Catholic mission assisted with peace negotiations by organising a week-long crusade.
The crusade was held to prepare youths and other members of the communities spiritually to accept peace in their hearts.
In a traditional peace recognition among the people, the warring tribes shared the fresh heart of a pig to demonstrate their desire for peace among themselves.
The people were urged to put their differences aside and work towards rebuilding their lives.
Businessman Timothy Irinaya gave K10,000 to the peace committee and urged the provincial and national government, donor communities, non-governmental organisations, those in the private sector and churches to restore basic health and education services in the area.

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