Children and pregnant women were the victims of a violent massacre in Papua New Guinea that left bodies unrecognizable.
According to CNN, a representative from the Hela Province Department of Health said in a Facebook post that 16 women and children were slaughtered in the remote town of Tari early Monday morning. Two of the women were reportedly pregnant, and the victims’ bodies were reportedly cut into pieces.
Acting Police Commissioner Francis Tokura said in a statement to CNN that the massacre was an “unbelievable, unthinkable and atrocious criminal act that must be dealt with swiftly and severely.” According to ABC’s The World, Hela Province’s Governor Philip Undialu said the brutal attack appears to be part of an outbreak of tribal violence in the region, and Monday’s massacre was possibly in retaliation for a previous, unspecified incident.
“We’ve never heard of tribal fights happening in this area, it was a spillover of fighting happening in another area, that no-one expected,” Undialu reportedly said.
Philip Pimua from the Department of Health told ABC’s The World that half of the victims were under the age of 15, and as young as a year old.
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape told CNN that he has long been advocating for more of a police presence in the province, which reportedly has a population of up to 400,000 people. He said that the 60-person police department and occasional military patrol in the province is not adequate. Marape vowed to bring the killers to justice.
“In memory of the innocent who continue to die at the hands of gun toting criminals, your time is up,” he told CNN.
“To all who have guns and kill and hide behind the mask of community, learn from what I will do to criminals who killed innocent people…I am coming for you.”
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