Thirty people have been killed and several more have been injured in a wave of intercommunal violence on Papua New Guinea’s remote Trobriand Islands, police said Tuesday.
The long-simmering dispute between two local football teams on sparsely policed Kiriwina Island first flared earlier this year in the wake of the country’s general election, Provincial Police Commander Peter Barkie.
When residents of three villages stormed a government office Monday, police and “even church elders could not contain the fight and we recorded 30 deaths and several many injured”, he said.
Barkie said things “got out of hand” after the recent “destruction of food gardens”.
Additional forces are now being sent from the mainland.
The Trobriand Islands are a group of low-lying atolls in the South Pacific, known for their ornate coral gardens that produce bananas, yams and taro.
In recent years, they have struggled with a growing population and changing climate, which has made harvests more difficult.