Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Four killed in tribal conflict in Mimika Regency

Police were on guard Monday in tense Kwamki Lama village in Mimika regency after a three-day clash between two tribes left four people dead and 16 injured. Fighting erupted Friday when Yohanes Kogoya from the Nduga tribe was fatally wounded by arrows when he was attending the funeral of the Bhintuka village chief's son, Nugi, a member of the Dani tribe. Nugi reportedly drowned in a local river, but the Dani blame the Nduga tribespeople for the death. The conflict broke out in the Kwamki Lama area, not far from a huge gold and copper mine operated by PT Freeport Indonesia.

A community figure in Mimika, Rev. Addiel Tinal, said Monday that leaders of both tribes had attempted to calm their members, but to no avail. "We've tried to talk some sense into them, but it seems difficult for them to accept peace because they are still emotional about the incident," said Tinal, who was accompanied by Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Jantje Jimmy Tuilan in Kios Panjang, Kwamki Lama. "Community leaders and I will wait until the situation calms down and we won't force ourselves to appease both sides. We have posted police troops in the conflict area since Sunday to quell the situation," he said.

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