Local Student’s Safe Despite Clashes in Madang

Papua New Guinean police at the scene of the violence near Madang. Image: Scott Waide/EMTV

LOCAL students studying in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea are all safe despite of the ethnic clashes between Madang locals, Highlanders and police over the weekend.

The two institutions where Solomon Islands students are currently studying at are PNG Maritime College and Divine Word University.

Currently more than ten locals are studying in Madang Province.

The Maritime College had called off its classes for this week whilst Divine Word University is still operating normally.

Solomon Islands Students Association President Georgina Maka’a yesterday made a formal announcement to parents and relatives that all students are safe despite current situation.

“Parents and relatives, be assured that we are all safe here at the moment; Both students at Maritime College and Divine Word University.”

“The situation here is in fact still tense, and we are not yet allowed to go out even to town, the only safe place for us now is within our campus area,” she said.

She urged locals in these two institutions to take extra precautions and to remain in campuses until the situation is settled.

Meanwhile, DWU registrar Cecilia N’Drower has urged students in an urgent meeting yesterday to remain calm and keep within the campus premises.

“Water crises will be also our big issue here. So use your water wisely.”

The fighting was inflicted by the beheading of a school teacher from the Highlands region teaching in Madang Province last week.

His head was still missing and relatives are demanding its safe return for proper burial.

In retaliation, on Saturday, series of roadblocks and holdups were carried out around the township, by Madang locals and Highlanders.

When police intervene to disperse the crowd, at a market called, “4 Mile market,” youths and police exchanged gunfire resulting in 3 youths killed.

A police sustained severe knife wounds and was hospitalised with 5 other youths with gun wounds.

A police vehicle was burnt, High way connecting Madang and the Highlands was blocked, and essential services like shops and water supply were shut down over the week end.

Member of Parliament for Madang Honourable Bryan Kramer is currently on the ground mediating between the warring parties to ensure peace and normalcy.

The situation remains tense as of yesterday. Reports from Mr Kramer said a stand-off between locals and police yesterday afternoon resulted on another youth’s life taken by police.