PNG'S HELA Province is under siege following an upsurge in fresh inter-tribal group fighting last week.
According to a report by PNG Loop, Tari Pori District Authority executive David Takitako said there were continuous spat of tribal fights all over the province including in the provincial capital, Tari.
He called on the national government to immediately declare a state of emergency in Hela Province.
In a meeting at the weekend, Hela leaders resolved unanimously for immediate state intervention in the face of total anarchy in this resource-rich province.
“Lawbreakers continue to show disrespect to the rest of the law-abiding citizens of Hela and enough is enough,” Takitako stated. “It is now time for strong police and military intervention on any persons who think their firearm can be used to threaten our society.
“Our current police strength is not adequate to meet the demands of maintaining law and order, hence additional help is required now.”
Finance Minister James Marape said he supported declaring a state of emergency and wants to include full powers for police to shoot wilful murderers, tribal fighters, tribal fight initiators and those who are in possession of any weapons and ammunition.
Hela provincial police commander Superintendent Michael Welly said police were "frustrated and fed up" with ongoing rivalry between two warring clans of Kikita 2 village.
Welly said these warriors had no respect for the town and they publicly wielded their bush knives, guns and weapons without any regard for the rule of law.
He said in neighbouring Koroba town, a policeman had been wounded by an arrow fired by warring tribes who were running amok.
He had despatched two sections of the Tari-based police mobile squad to protect Koroba and quell the fight, only to have one of his policemen wounded.
Welly urged the Koroba people to embrace essential services and developments brought into their area and stop fighting.
The Koroba fight claimed three deaths and was stopped through the joint efforts of provincial administrator William Bando and police. However, it brewed up again last week.
Former Tari mayor George Tagobe said there is a “total leadership vacuum" in Tari and throughout Hela.
He called on the Hela MPs to leave aside their differences and work together to restore peace and harmony in the province.
Superintendent Welly said the two clans in Tari were about to start "chopping each other" in public when police intervened by firing gunshots to disperse the groups.
He said the incident forced business houses, shops, government offices, Bank South Pacific and the Tari airport to close. The public dashed for cover in fear of their lives while the normally busy township was deserted by midday. All flights to Tari were suspended.