More than 20 killed in PNG tribal violence

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At least 24 people, including two pregnant women and their unborn children, were killed in a three-day spasm of tribal violence in Papua New Guinea's lawless highlands, prompting the prime minister on Wednesday to promise swift justice.

Hela provincial administrator William Bando told AFP on Wednesday that the death toll could rise.

The killings happened on early Monday morning during a raid on Karida, a village of about 800 people in the interior of the country.

Health workers told local media EMTV 16 people died in a 30 minute revenge attack on Monday and "it was hard to identify the bodies because they were all chopped to pieces". "So I just ran away and hide in the bush, then later on, about 9 or 10, I came back and saw bodies chopped into pieces and houses were burnt".

Local media report at least two incidents in small villages in the Tari-Pori district.

An attack Sunday in the village of Munima left an estimated 7 people dead.

The Post-Courier newspaper, based in the South Pacific island nation's capital, Port Moresby, reported that as many as 24 people had been killed in the villages of Karida and Peta since Saturday.

Mr Marape, who became leader in May, blamed a lack of police on the ground as a major problem in a region that has struggled with violence for years.

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In the Karida attack, fighters are said to have hacked and shot six women and eight children - as well as two pregnant women - in a 30-minute rampage.

"This is not a tribal fight where the opposing villagers face each other on field", Augwi told the newspaper.

Teens and pregnant women are among those murdered in a tribal bloodbath in Papua Recent Guinea's Highlands home.

Prime Minister Marape, who's from the house, said the killings had been led by gunmen from the Hagui, Okiru and Liwi tribes and said he would look out punishment for the people to blame.

Hela official Rex Humbi said the latest violence was part of a tribal war that had been waged for more than 15 years.

"In memory of the innocent who continue to die at the hands of gun-toting criminals, your time is up".

"How can a province of 400,000 people function with policing law and order with under 60 policeman, and occasionally operational military and police that does no more than band aid maintenance", he said in a post to his Facebook page.

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