Thursday, March 7, 2013

Top cop vows to end Kandep tribal fights

Source: The National, Wednesday 06th March, 2013
By PHILIP KEPSON
NEW Enga police commander acting Supt Philip Welia has made a firm undertaking to put an end to the continuing tribal fighting in the Kandep district.
He told a police management meeting last Friday that urgent action was needed to bring peace and harmony to Kandep and other trouble-torn areas of the province.
Welia was instrumental in resolving a number of tribal and ethnic conflicts in Lae city and Wau-Bulolo recently in his capacity as a senior police officer in the two electorates.
He was recently appointed to the police command in Enga to replace Chief Supt Martin Lakari who had been transferred to Western Highlands.
Welia said it would require a wide consultation among parties involved in the conflict to ensure normalcy
in the district.
“My priority is to return peace to Kandep. To achieve this, it will require serious consultation among relevant parties including the provincial administration which will be represented by its law and order section, two local level governments in the district (Kandep and Wage LLGs), Kandep district administration, district education and health divisions, churches, women, the political leaders (of the district), educated elites from the district and the leaders of the warring tribes,”
he said.
Welia said a peace negotiating team comprising the various factions had been formed and he was ready to divide them into two groups and send them to the tribal zones to start negotiating for peace.
“However, before sending the two groups, I will send a police scout to the two main tribes to inform them about the work of the peace negotiating team,” he said.
The widespread conflict started when two tribes known as Kuporop and Kambirip of two political rivals, prominent lawyer Alfred Manase and Kandep MP Don Polye, started accusing each other of foulplay during a by-election in 2010.
The by-election was conducted after a successful petition by Manase against Polye in the Court of Disputed Return in Mt Hagen.
When Polye was re-elected in light of fierce fighting and killing of at least five people, the tension between the two tribes continued into the 2012 general election.
Kandep district administrator Ben Besawe said more than 80% of the people had fled to nearby Southern Highlands and other parts of Enga

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