Tribal Warfare Kills Nine in Papua

JAKARTA ~ Nine people were killed and more than 150 hurt in remote Papua province after a murder accusation triggered clashes between tribesmen armed with spears and arrows, police said.

A woman accused of poisoning her husband to death encouraged members of her clan to attack members of a rival group which her accuser – and her dead husband – belonged to, according to police spokesman Kartono Wangsadisastra.

Nine people were killed in the ensuing clashes between the Kobagau and Sani tribes and 154 others were injured, including a policeman hit by an arrow, the spokesman said on Monday.

“We have managed to curb the violence, but as long as no customary peacemaking ceremony has been held, it may well erupt again,” he said.

According to tradition, a death should be avenged by another death or the killer’s tribe must pay a hefty fine of prized pigs and hold a feast to seal peace.

Papua, in eastern Indonesia, is home to tribes that engage in elaborate war rituals to resolve disputes, with each camp taking turns to shoot arrows and throw spears. Around 15 people were killed in weeks of clashes last year.

More than 300 tribes are believed to make their homes in the province’s jungles, some yet to have any contact with the outside world.

Filed under: The Nation

Comments are closed.