Security officials announced on Monday, July 15, that additional soldiers and police officers have been deployed into Hela province following recent intercommunal clashes that left at least 24 people dead. According to police officials, a Defense Force platoon and a mobile police squad are stationed at a school provide security and to prevent any further escalation of violence. Drone and satellite surveillance will also reportedly be used to assist security forces. Heightened security measures are expected in Hela province in the coming weeks. Further intercommunal clashes are also possible despite the new security deployment.
A series of clashes between rival tribes broke out in Hela province from July 6-8. At least 24 people, including women and children, died in attacks on the villages of Munima and Karida. Violence between rival tribes is not uncommon in Papua New Guinea’s highlands. According to Prime Minister Marape, the attacks on July 6-8 involved the Haguai, Liwi, and Okiru communities.
Individuals in Hela province, and Papua New Guinea more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence, remain vigilant for criminal activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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